MANILA, PHILIPPINES – “I’m 18 today. Went to class as usual,” were some of the first few lines in my lola’s journal, dated Jan. 6, 1955.
I recognized her everyday ramblings as things I would’ve written in my own journal, except for the fact that she used romantic words like “thrilled,” “gay,” “wonderful,” and “lovely” regularly to describe her feelings. Her short, sassy entries could have passed for tweets by a teen living in this day and age, even though they were written way before Twitter was an idea (another entry goes: “Received my first call from a boy today. Am not thrilled.”).
As I tried to decipher her all-too-familiar handwriting, I found myself thinking of the ways that language has evolved. The definitions that people assign to words are arbitrary, and you never know when they’ll take on a different meaning or form. They’re kind of like Pokémon in the sense that they start out meaning one thing, but because of changing environments and increasing experience, they eventually develop into something more advanced or different. In fact, at the rate we’re going, emojis could very well be replacing words by 2055. Why spend so much effort typing in all those characters when one does the trick, right?
Assuming that the world doesn’t end in our lifetime, here are a few regularly used present-day words that we think will be the source of future cringing.
Bookmark this article, clip it out, or bury it in a time capsule — you never know when Urban Dictionary might start getting behind with the times. Even better: this way, you don’t have to go through the motions of explaining when your grandchildren dig up all your maniacal Larry 4ever tweets. Yup, you’re welcome.
1) Hashtag [#] (n.)
With the way technology is advancing nowadays, the future may bring with it a more advanced way to search and compile information on the Internet. Will there come a time when we have to explain how it works to future generations in — God forbid — the same way we explain them to our parents now? From “No tita, it’s a hashtag, not a pound sign!” to “No, hija, that’s a hashtag! It’s how we used to find tweets and add subtext back in the day.”
2) Bae (n.)
An example of a word that’s been shortened and turned into slang. Just like “shawty” before it, this word is supposed to work as a term of endearment (like a shortened form of “babe” or “baby”). It also means “before anyone else,” and most people use it to describe their boyfriend/girlfriend/crush. Given the irregularity of the spelling, it might be easier to add context clues when explaining this. Example: “Hijo, your lolo was my bae back in college. So were Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, and Niall Horan, but they didn’t know it.”
3) Selfie (n.)
As Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year in 2013, selfie has already guaranteed itself a place in word history. No one knows for sure how and why “self-portrait” had to be shortened in the first place, but everyone agrees that it’s also terribly overused. Your grandkids might happen to stumble upon one of your “It’s 3 a.m. and I hate the world selfie” tweets, photo attached, and they’ll probably laugh at the sight of your face more than they will because of the word itself.
4) Goals (n.)
Though originally a noun, the way it’s used nowadays makes it seem like an adjective. Some examples of common usage are “#relationshipgoals” and “#squadgoals.” Future (hopefully smarter) generations might ask what these goals are. More possible questions include: “Why did they exist in the first place?” and “Did anyone ever accomplish those goals?”
5) No chill
As older folks still haven’t caught on to the new connotation of the word “chill” (“nilalamig ka ba, hija?”), we can only speculate what its opposite might mean in the future. Right now though, it’s typically used to describe the loss of chill, which basically means that you’re terribly excited and freaking out. Imagine explaining to your teen granddaughter the reason behind all of your #nochill tweets and her thinking “Ang wild pala ni lola noong unang panahon.”