With the Internet being such an integral part of life, it's not surprising how it is changing and influencing the English language at an unprecedented rate. The types of experiences that are being created on the Internet are unlike any other and the English language is exploding with new words to describe these new phenomena. I still remember talking about how the noun access had become a verb when computers started becoming commonplace.
The other phenomenon I've noticed is that really old words have resurfaced with brand-new meanings. Take daemon for example. It used to mean an evil spirit but in the world of computer software, it means a background process. Most people see it when the mail daemon tells them they got an email address wrong.
One other word that has grown on me is interestingness. It's the quality of being interesting. To my knowledge, it first appeared on Flickr. It is used to describe how their algorithm decides which were the most interesting photos of the moment. "Our photos are ranked by their interestingness." Honestly, it's an ugly word, but even ugly can be cute sometimes.
This year's Oxford word of the year is unfriend. It's a verb that means "to remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook". It's the case where a noun has been transformed into a verb. But in Singapore, we've been using it for years without the prefix.
"I friend him but I don't friend you," is what a Singaporean child may say to someone he doesn't want to befriend any longer. It's complete broken English, Singlish really, but a term everyone understands. And now, it's actually English! Well, sort of, if you add the prefix.
Read the rest of the Oxford blog entry to find out what the other candidates were. Personally, I like intexticated.