Ranjona Banerji: Verbs are out. Noun at all times!
By Ranjona Banerji
I’m futuring here, forecasting trends. I am trying not to past it since backwarding is, well, backward. The need of the moment is to noun at all times and with deft efforting, avoid traditional verbing. Nouns are the new verbs and vital for tomorrow. At the London Olympics, you may have noticed that no one “won” medals. Rather, they “medalled”. In tennis as also in pro-wrestling, they “titled”, which did not mean that some monarch knighted them; rather they were called champion or something.
I’m uncomprehending this trend completely at the moment but no doubt it’ll soon become second nature.
The challenge is to remove verbs like “am”, “is”, “went”, “said” and such like and find nouns to substitute them.
While we’re at it, we have to stop using apostrophes (and find an easier word than apostrophe) and we must abandon all semblance of spelling. There is no point having correct spellings of words if no one uses them. On Wednesday, the top trending topic on Twitter was “#ThingsIsayToMuch”. This upset a few people, some who wanted to know who “Much” was and others who fulminated on the missing “o” in “To”. This is all pointless posturing. You know what they’re called: Grammar Nazis. (And in India, people against Chetan Bhagat.)
Language now has to be made impossible to understand to increase the challenge to human kind, since now we’ve achieved almost everything. Or at least, an unmanned craft has landed on Mars. Also since the whole world now speaks English, English has to accommodate the nuances of every language on earth.
The top language is SMSes or Texting. This is a test of courage and comprehension. Words miss so many vowels and consonants (the only two building blocks of words) that it is a delightful exercise in trying to decipher them. You could write that as dcphr or as deiphr or as eie or even phdcr. The combinations are endless and make encryption experts of us all.
My prediction for journalists then is full of hope. No grammar, no rules, no nasty chief subeditors making you re-do copy. Just a wonderful free for all where anything goes. Once language was about making sure we all understood each other. Now it is about universal confusion. But as long as we’re all talking to each other, what does it matter if we’re doing it correctly or not?