day, I wined
with myself, bedded
with some beautiful thoughts, and lucked
into writing about my view that toyed
with nouns, verbing
them into newer embodiments, and flooding
them into the never seen before channels. I wondered about the number of times I use nouns as verbs, in English, in Hindi, and in our very own Hinglish. Don’t I google
a blog or facebook
an old classmate.
I remembered the rant of a young boy who texts
his father about the mother-she mothers
my bread, buttons
my shirt, laces
my shoes, foots
my bills, bullies
my bullies, shoulders
all responsibilities, sometimes even ubers
me to school; this mommying
must stop, this supermaning
must stop, I am a big boy, don’t sweetheart
me, don’t chocolate
me, and don’t top it
with a hug; for if I word
it correctly, I would like to right
all the wrongs myself.
Little boys have already languaged
their thoughts, as I see, so father
them carefully. And girls, little girls don’t barbie
any more, they may eye
your ipad and not your make-up kit, and proud
you with medals you never imagined. The youth is changing, changing in the way they think, in their clothing, eating, reading, and travelling. And changing is their language, sometimes short-forming
words or even sentences, or simply using one part of speech as another such as nouns as verbs, verbs as adjectives or vice versa.
‘Antimeria’ derived from the Greek: ‘anti’ meaning against or opposite and ‘meros’ meaning part, is the usage of a word in a new grammatical form, one part for another, commonly a noun being used as a verb. Verbing
is not very new. It is using nouns or other parts of speech as verbs, new words carved out of old ones, simply a simple play of words. A slang, an ease for everyday use, the lingo of a common man or more technically, a grammar conversion, a functional shift or a cultural innovation, whichever way it is defined, a simple addition of -ed, -ate, -ing etc. can turn a noun into a verb.
And most of the times, the noun, the unchanged original noun, is itself used as a doing word… no permission solicited from the higher echelons of the literary world. Such is today’s language… totally condescending, nonchalant or just an enviable fast evolving phenomenon. It may be hard to accept that literature is so fluid, and it flows with the trend. And yet some pieces of grammatical transition may be a work of beauty and worthy of recognition.
Bob Dylan, the popular singer and a songwriter, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. It raised many eyebrows in the literary world but it did signal a change, and announced an evolutionary milestone. “The Times They Are a’Changing”, yes, they are. Evolution is all about changing, about creativity, the creativity of need. Language reflects the way our culture is evolving, the way we are changing our lifestyle, the way we communicate with others, and sometimes with ourselves.
The everyday communication has to be simple, easy and flexible, something that is easily exchanged, understood and correctly interpreted. Words that are born out of necessity and ease, eventually home
in the lexicon of contemporary literature. Is it not true that someone made up each word at some point, and over a period of time and usage, all such words together were called ‘dictionary’? When fashion changes so rapidly, cuisines are modified routinely, music is remixed all the time, why would literature not change with time? From local to metropolitan to cosmopolitan, the digital power has shrunk the world and brought fashion, food, music, and languages together, giving them a universal platform and acceptance.
Everyday new words are made up, each one of us reinventing our lingo. Most of the times the intent is to make the communication convenient, and sometimes this connect is just jazzed
up, for no real good reason. We pride
ourselves in remodeling words, gadgeting
some and tampering with the others. We play around with the different parts of speech, the nouns, the verbs, and the adjectives, using one for the other. We tinker with the delicateness of punctuation, often moving our commas, colons, and hyphens to completely change the essence and meaning of the sentence, to-ing
between parts of speech.
Dabbling in language refashioning is fun. It is a move forward. It would transform the way we think, and the way we relish our changing art. Verbing
is one such move. Verbing
is in. The nouns are flirtatiously verbed
and repeatedly emailed, texted, typed, blogged, whatsapped,
If you are not entranced by the mystique of it yet, just ‘Google
- The author is Lead Consultant Anesthesia, Madhukar Rainbow Children's Hospital, New Delhi