Who You Calling ‘Nice’, LOL?

I think I’ve mentioned my love of words before. I’m not someone who studies them – I just know a good word when I see or hear it.

Pontificate, fractious, manifold, rowlock, internicinegot to love ’em.

Obviously you have to be sparing with such gems when writing a novel or your readers will think you’ve swallowed a dictionary and are showing off, or – far worse – won’t understand what you’re on about.

As a writer, I also tend to use some more old-fashioned British spelling variants. I prefer dreamt to dreamed and archaeology rather than archeology. Not sure quite why – probably because I grew up reading English classics by the likes of Hardy, Scott and Stephenson (as well as stacks of sci-fi).

Keeping up with changes in language can be hard work… particularly as you get older and don’t spend so much time at the cutting edge of cultural developments. I’m still not sure what twerking really is.

I’ve also got a tendency to stick my nose in the air when people start using nouns as verbs. At last year’s Olympics we had a rash of athletes podiuming and medalling, which to me just sounds plain wrong.

But as well as creating new forms from old words, some words change meaning over the years.

What would you think if I told you that the title of this blog post could be read as indignation about an elderly woman suggesting I’ve got rather loose morals?

Nice is one of those words that’s been around for a very long time and its meaning has definitely altered over the centuries. Just as wicked can now mean excellent (according to the OED, that use dates to the 1920s), back in Shakespeare’s day nice also meant wanton. So, when he wrote about nice wenches, he wasn’t referring to the kind of girls you’d take home to meet your mother.

The texting abbreviation LOL has come to mean – to most people – laughing out loud. Prior to that, though, it was often used for lots of love – while back in the 1960s it meant little old lady.

Ah, words… a source of endless fascination. Or should that be distraction? Probably I should spend less time reading blogs and articles about them and spend more time working on my next book!

Anyhow…. rambling over. In other news, I’ve decided to keep the promotion on The Vault running for another week. So if you want a bargain copy of a mystery thriller – and also want to help support a worthwhile cause due to the fact that half of all royalties go to the disaster relief charity ShelterBox – then click here.

And don’t forget my competition:

Competition link


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