In the evolution of language, words or phrases come into popular usage and then fade back into obscurity. These changes happen with such rapidity as to evidence an almost instantaneous collective agreement to the new vernacular.
Some years ago I witnessed the strange birth of a new popular term. The term was “absolutely”! What started out normal enough took a turn for the unexplainable. We noticed the increasing incidence of the word. In conversation, or on TV, we heard the word over and over beyond any likely occurrence. This started a game in our family where we would shout, “Absolutely!”, every time we heard it. This was a normal enough act of the collective conscience. Where it got weird was when the word started appearing with unnatural frequency in old (sometimes quite old) movies and television shows.
Most would say that I became aware of what had already existed. When one buys a new car, they become acutely aware of that same model almost everywhere, where as before they saw them rarely. We find what we look for. It was always there and we were to preoccupied too look. I must state that this logic is bass ackwards. Its proof is based on denial of observations. Proof is based on repeated observations. I repeatedly observed actions that defy accepted laws of physical reality. As such, I cannot deny their occurrence. After all, what is more illogical than physical reality? Enough of this altering the past and denying a physical universe stuff. Let’s get back to the topic of the day, normal collective consciousness and its effect on language.
For a brief period the word “metaphor” gained a ridiculous popularity on television. This revived the shout, “Metaphor,” game. To this day it remains in our annals of family fun.
The current word of interest is the word “too”. Unlike the other words, it is not overused, it is disappearing. My first encounter was a placard posted on a forklift. The notice warned operators to drive slowly because of “to much foot traffic”. I dismissed this as the lack of spelling discipline in such a laid back community. Next the word permeated the internet. Then again I excused it too computer typing habits. Still it occurred on thoughtful commentary where the writers would not want to be ridiculed as to their intelligence level. Finally I could not deny it any longer when I saw a blog entry by my own, college educated and raised by her mother and me, daughter in which she misused the word to too! Incredibly, last night, I read the credits to a YouTube video. It read (and I quote) “Special Thanks Too” and a list of the participants of the film.
Maybe by the time you read this, it will make know cents to you because the language will be forever altered.
Later in the evening after publishing this article, we were watching an Alfred Hitchcock Presents on TV.com. Lo and behold, the main character, a man rejected by the school teacher, leaves a threatening note for her to see on the blackboard which reads “I’ll git you to!”.
TV Series: Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Title: The Belfry (season 1, episode 33)
Originally aired on May 13, 1956