A woman walks into a cupcakery, thinking about the party she’s giving for her nine-year-old daughter, and looks at all the tiny cakes in the case. The chocolate ones look good, of course (you know…chocolate), but then she sees some in the shape of hearts, with red frosting and a fresh strawberry in the middle of each cupcake.
Did you stop for a second and pay attention to the new word in that paragraph? Or did you just assume that naturally there is such a thing as a “cupcakery”? Maybe you’ve heard the word before, but I don’t think I had before I did some research for this blog.
Since this is my Official New Year’s Blog Post, I decided to write about a few new words from the past year. I did this, naturally, in a strictly scientific way (randomly found some lists of new words on line and picked a few that I liked). Don’t tell me that’s not scientific. When you like things, you use your brain, which means neurons are firing, and neurons are sciency and stuff. I think that speaks for itself.
For people who pay close attention to language, new words must flow like water, appearing, disappearing, staying afloat for a while, forming their own streams, then drifting away. This is the case in English, at least, a language with a culture that has always freely adopted words from every language it comes in contact with. My guess is that such a culture creates more linguistic ferment for the creation of new words.
Then let’s consider “cupcakery”, a lovely word on several counts. First, the name implies a place full of cupcakes, which is a nice notion. In addition, the word rhymes with “bakery” (from which it was probably created) and it happens to be a type of bakery, so there’s a catchy echo of meaning. Whether the word sticks around for a hundred years or not, it’s a sweet word with swirls.
The most interesting word I found, and perhaps the most promising for long use, is spelled Mx, which doesn’t even look like a word. It has a capital M because it’s a title of address, like Mr. or Ms., and is intended to be a gender-neutral address, to be used with either men or women. Depending on where you live, you may never have heard of it (I had not), but it’s apparently already in use in quite a few places in Great Britain. As for pronunciation, I saw that it might be either “mix” or “mux”, but umm…mux? No, I don’t think so. You want that higher front vowel, which is more cheerful and inviting.
The word Mx has a possibility of becoming widespread if we change the way we interact socially, and we’ve been moving that way for at least a hundred years. Many words used to indicate whether they were male or female (such as author and authoress), but when we decided that we didn’t need to make the distinction by sex, the words changed. Because this word would be part of a social change in how the sexes are regarded, as well as a reflection of attitudes about gender, it naturally will meet resistance, because some people want everything to stay just the way it was when Fred Flintstone was a boy.
Another interesting word that I’ve been hearing for a while is “locovore”, created from the word “local” and the latter part of words like “carnivore” or “herbivore”, meaning to eat. So a locovore is someone who eats food grown locally. There are various reasons for eating local. You use far less fossil fuel obviously to eat something from a farm nearby than something brought in from the other side of the world. You also support local farmers, which is not a bad idea, and the food can taste better. And seriously, it’s just cool to buy cheese from somebody who made it right there. Of course the locovore idea raises the question of what is “local”. Is 50 miles away local? What about 100 miles? And what about coffee, because I don’t care if that has to come from Mars, I’m drinking it.
Let’s end on a wonderful bit of slang that probably won’t last long, but who knows which words will last long, honestly? And who cares? Anyway, if you’re waiting for the time to have a glass of wine, that might be referred to as “wine o’clock” (or “beer o’clock” depending on what you want, although I think “margarita no salt o’clock” doesn’t really work).
So here we go with 2016, and Happy New Year, yall! Keep them words acoming, both new and old. For now, this is Mx. David sitting in the cupcakery, waiting for wine o’clock to get here. I vote for daylight savings wine o’clock.