Wednesday, 6 November 2013

“Pass me the Prozac!” – The English Literature Curriculum

After teaching year 9 today, I had a chat with my mentor and English teacher of 22 years. We discussed what I was going to teach them within the boundaries of war literature and what to study until the Christmas break. My mentor commented sarcastically “We’re going to fill them up with festive cheer by studying The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas” and perhaps watch the film of Susan Hill’s Woman in Black (which we had finished reading today). Following discussions with the head of department yesterday, there are numerous works of literature that are renowned for their gloom and treatment of difficult subject matters. All these texts below are studied from year 7 to year 11 (11-16).
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne (2006) is about a boy called Bruno who is 9 years old. He makes friends with another Jewish boy called Shmuel who is imprisoned in a concentration camp. This makes the contrast between the two boys explicit. The novel ends with both Shmuel and Bruno being killed in a gas chamber, with Bruno holding the hand of his friend. What’s most upsetting is how Boyne writes from the point of view of Bruno – a child, and therefore the world is seen through a cloak of naivety; Bruno thinks the gas chamber is a room used to shelter people from the rain. The novel has a clear intention: to show the effect of war with specific focus paid to its effect on children and how nonsensical and unnecessary war seems compared to friendship: ‘Despite the chaos that followed, Bruno found that he was still holding Shmuel's hand in his own and nothing in the world would have ever persuaded him to let it go.’
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill (1982) is a ghost story written in a dense, multi-subordinated Dickensian style. The protagonist, Arthur, a London solicitor, is requested to go to Eel Marsh House located on a mysterious marsh. There, Arthur is repeatedly haunted by the ‘malevolent’ ghost of the woman in black, the sounds of children screaming and horse and carts that don’t exist. It is a fantastic read, rich in description and vocabulary. The novel ends with Arthur’s newborn son Joseph, and his fiancée, Stella, being killed as the horse and cart they’re riding in crashes into a tree because the ghost of the woman in black stands in the middle of the road and deliberately seeks her revenge. Stella is described as ‘broken’ – doll-like, precious.
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (1937) has been on English curriculums for years. My mentor has taught it every year for 22 years. It tells the tale of Lennie and George, two American farmhands who are forced to leave their old home, a place called Weed, because Lennie (mentally disabled, child-like) is accused of rape. By the end of the novel, Lennie accidentally kills the illustrious Curley’s wife (we never know her name as she’s seen as the possession of Curley) by breaking her neck. Lennie flees before the other farm workers find Curley’s wife lying dead in a barn. George, his only friend, finds Lennie before he is found by everyone else. After the theme of dreams is revisited again (Lennie wants land to own rabbits), George asks Lennie to turn around and proceeds to shoot his long-term friend in the back of the head, point-blank. He feels no pain. Perhaps an act of kindness was to shoot him rather than allow the farmhands to kill him, perhaps more savagely?
Lord of the Flies by William Golding (1954) is also a stalwart of the English literature curriculum, telling the tale of a group of boys who get marooned on an island. The novel explores human nature – what happens when we are with the same people for long periods of time. By the end of the book, 2 main characters are dead with the boys slowly descending into savagery.
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (approx 1594) details how the original star-crossed lovers are destined not to be together due to their warring families – the Capulets and the Montagues. By the end, both the protagonists have committed suicide by drinking a lethal poison. Death may provide more of a comfort to them than life where they can’t be together.
Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo (2003) is about how World War One impacted on family. The narrator is a young teenager, Tommo, who sees the world at war through a naïve eye, as with Bruno in TBITSP. Both Tommo and his older brother Charlie enlist to fight, and after going over the top of the trench, Tommo is wounded. Charlie disobeys a direct order and stays with his younger brother, looking after him like he did at home. For this, he’s punished – and executed at dawn, for being a caring brother. As each chapter’s title is a time which is counting down to Charlie’s impending doom, the sadness is inescapable.
And finally, there is war literature itself – the poetry of Brookes, Sassoon and Owen, and the play Journey’s End by R. C. Sherriff (1928) about a group of soldiers in a trench during the First World War, before they go over the top and face imminent and probable death. More than 37 million people were killed from WW1, so it’s no wonder the literature of war is studied to give an insight into that sad part of human history. The play is an example of what literary buffs call a ‘verisimilitude’ play – naturalistic drama made to mimic real life.
I told you you’d probably need Prozac!

Despite humans still lacking the ability to live together peacefully, many decades after the World Wars finished, works of literature on the English literature curriculum remain tough, heavy-going and emotionally-wounding. But perhaps that’s literature at its best? It’s memorable, it’s timeless, it has a point, it’s real.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Scary Words of Halloween

It’s that time of the year again when pumpkins are carved, scary costumes are worn, and a lot of people are tricked. But what are the origins of some Halloween objects and the etymology of the festival’s name itself?

Halloween – The festival’s name comes from Christian origin and dates from about 1745. It directly translates as ‘hallowed evening’ or ‘holy evening’. ‘Halloween’ comes from a Scottish term for ‘all hallows eve’. In Scottish language, eve translates as ‘even’, often contracted to ‘-een’ or ‘-e’en’. As English changes over time, the term for the October festival changed - (All) Hallow(s) E(v)en eventually evolved into Halloween.
Spider – comes from a mix of Dutch and Germanic roots that eventually formed in Old English ‘spiþra’. The arachnid got its name from Proto-Germanic ‘spenthro’ (Danish ‘spinder’), from ‘spenwanan’ meaning "to spin" linking to how they spin a cobweb. The connection with the root is more transparent in other Germanic cognates (Middle Low German, Middle Dutch, Middle High German, German spinne’).

Witch – Nobody is 100% sure where the term ‘witch’ comes from. It has a long complicated history. The most populist idea is it derives from Old English ‘wicce’ meaning ‘female magician, sorceress’; a woman who had dealings with evil spirits and the devil. The verb ‘wiccian’ means ‘to practise witchcraft’.

Zombie – goes back to the 1800s. It derives from a West African word ‘zumbi’ meaning a soulless, re-animated corpse or a fetish in voodoo cult. It originally referred to the name of a snake God.
Nightmare – has a very literal meaning and is of Germanic origin. It literally refers to a ‘night mare’ that inflicted spirits of suffocation onto the sleeping victim to which they could not scream for help. So it’s a very literal word because that’s what happens when we suffer a nightmare. The word refers to an evils spectre by the bedside. Over time the two words merged into one.

Goblin – malicious but not as nightmarish as ghouls. Goblin comes from the German 'kobold'. In German folklore, a kobold is a mischievous household spirit, sometimes helpful and sings to children. But too often, he hides valuable household items, kicks people, and erupts in rage when he doesn’t get enough food.

GhoulIn Arabic legend, a ghoul is a creature that eats both stolen corpses and children. The word comes from the Arabic ‘ghul’ which comes from ‘ghala’, meaning “he seized.”

Ghost – a ghost is considered to be the soul of the dead: they are empty, vacuous and vague which is why they are visually depicted as white sheets. The word ‘ghost’ comes from Old English ‘gast’ meaning ‘soul, spirit, life, breath.’

Jack-O’-Lantern – refers to what a pumpkin becomes after it has been carved out and lit up with a candle inside it. It originally referred to a night watchman who literally carried a lantern to see in the seventeenth century. The term was first used in Britain before it was taken to America as Irish immigrants brought the Jack-o’-Lantern custom to North America, which is where pumpkins were first used to make the Halloween decorations. Legend has it that this use of jack-o’-lantern was named after a fellow named Stingy Jack, who thought he had tricked the devil. But the devil had the last laugh, condemning Jack to an eternity of wandering the planet with only an ember of hellfire for light.


Sunday, 27 October 2013

Nautical Idioms

This is my last post about words, names and phrases that come from the sea and I am going to look at some idioms that have a nautical theme.

There are a number of idioms that come from nautical origins such as ‘all at sea’, ‘being on one’s beams’, ‘showing one’s true colours’…the list goes on. But to look at three in particular:

‘To be left high and dry’ goes back to 1805 and the Battle of Trafalgar when it was used to indicate when a ship was stranded or grounded on the lowering tide and therefore had no means of being moved.

‘Turning the corner’ may also come from nautical beginnings as there are two corners – Cape Hope (South Africa) and Cape Horn (South America). It was (and still is) well-known that the sea around both Capes can be dangerous, rough, and very difficult to navigate. But once sailors had passed the Capes successfully, they would have ‘turned the corner’ because the sea would be calmer and they could look forward to a much smoother journey ahead. That was the theory anyway.

Finally, to ‘learn the ropes’ links back to when sailors would learn how to operate the speed and direction of ships from the complicated system of ropes that would control the huge sails.

So a whole variety of idioms in English which originate from the sea.

The Origin of 'Knot' (measure of speed)

Chip LogContinuing the sea theme, I thought I’d look at how the word ‘knot’ came about, referring to a measure of speed often used by seagoers.

‘Knot’ goes right back to the mid-1500s when sailors would cleverly tie knots in a piece of rope at regular intervals. They would then throw one end of the rope, which was weighted, into the sea behind their moving boat. The other end was kept onboard the vessel, probably wound up in a reel of some sort. The sailors would then count the number of knots that were let out in a given period, probably measured by an hourglass. They would then use this finding as a calculation of speed which they could also use to approximate how long it would take them to get somewhere in the given conditions.

So the story of the word ‘knot’ goes right back to clever sailors and it’s been used ever since, even when technology came and made calculating speed at sea a bit simpler.

Sea-related etymologies - What is a 'Combe'?

From Combe Martin to Woolacombe – what is a ‘Combe’?

In my last blog post (a while ago now), I talked about how coastal features got their names. So I am continuing the sea-related word origins and thought I’d do a quick post on the etymology/origin of the word ‘Combe’ that features in many place names, usually in southern England.

‘Combe’ (variants ‘coomb’, ‘cumb’ and in Welsh ‘cwm’) refers to a deep narrow valley or hollow in a hillside or coastline, and this valley may have a stream or river that runs into the sea. The word is probably of Celtic/Old English origin, originating from ‘cumb’ which predates the twelfth century.

Many places have ‘combe’ in their name –Ilfracombe, Woolacombe, Combe Martin and Parracombe are places along a short stretch of the north Devon coast.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

The Needles, Durdle Door, and Start Point – How did these sea-related geological features get their names?

The Needles prior to 1764, showing Lot's Wife still standing.
The other day my local news ran a feature about The Needles Lighthouse which stands at the western-most point of the Isle of Wight. If you’re not familiar with The Needles, they are three chalk rocks that stretch into the Solent, with a lighthouse on the end of the furthest rock. But how did these chalk rocks get their names when they look nothing like needles, and perhaps more like, as a follower mentioned to me on twitter, a row of teeth?

The Needles' name orginated from a fourth rock called Lot’s Wife, which was both thinner and taller than the rocks we see today. Islanders and fishermen, who saw this tall chalk stack, believed it represented a needle, and the name stuck even after Lot’s Wife collapsed in a storm in 1764. At low tide Lot’s Wife can be seen under the water.

Another spectacular geological site is Durdle Door which is a natural stone arch in Dorset and a feature of the Jurassic Coast. ‘Durdle’ derives from an Anglo-Saxon word ‘thirl’ which is a pierced hole or opening – the sea eroding a hole until the rock became an arch making Durdle Door what we see today.
And finally, another place I visisted this year was Start Point Lighthouse, which is further west along the coast, in Devon. Again, the Anglo-Saxons are responsible for its name as ‘start’ is Anglo-Saxon for 'a tail’. If you visit or see Start Point, you'll see the lighthouse sits at the end of a piece of land/cliiff that is shaped like a tail, as it viciously juts out into the sea. As  was the case before The Needles lighthouse was built, Start Point claimed many ships before the lighthouse was built in 1836.

So three geological features that have interesting stories behind their names.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Short and Sweet – The Etymology of ‘Daisy’

As it’s the summer bank holiday, I thought I’d talk about something cheerful, sweet and quite poetical, and that is how daisies got their name.

Simply, the name comes from the Anglo-Saxons, who called the flower a ‘day’s eye’ (dæges eage), because as with many flowers, the petals open during daylight and close when it gets dark. The Anglo-Saxons noticed this, so when the petals opened to reveal the sun-like disk growing in the centre of the flower, the called it an eye – in effect, the eye of the day. As so commonly is the case with English, over time, the word has shortened and has become easier to pronounce.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Car Company Names...some Interesting Origins

Most of us own a car or another form of vehicle, but do we ever think of where the names of car manufacturers come from?
Car manufacturers commonly get their names in three ways – the name of the company’s founder or someone notable in the company, acronyms, or more interesting miscellaneous methods.  I will briefly go into each in this post.
Firstly, companies may get their trading name from using the name of founders or notable people within the company: for example, Henry Ford, Michio Suzuki and André Citroën to name three.
Secondly, companies may get their names using acronyms. Fiat, for example, stands for ‘Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino’, loosely meaning ‘Italian automobile factory of Turin’, the province where the company was founded. Tangentially, this is not to be confused with the word ‘Fiat’ that comes from Latin meaning ‘let it be done’ which appears in the Latin translation of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, when God proclaimed ‘let there be light’ (fiat lux), and in John Donne’s poetry from the 1630s, or in fact, the phrase ‘fiat in bankruptcy’ from the 1800s referring to less-than-Godly legal matters.  
But as I said in the opening paragraph, car companies may acquire their names by perhaps more unconventional means.
Toyota gets its name from ‘Toyoda’, which was the founder’s name. Yet interestingly, the Japanese changed the name – incorporating a second ‘T’ because ‘Toyota’ uses eight strokes when written, whereas ‘Toyoda’ used a lesser number of strokes. In Japan, eight is a lucky number, and by making the name Toyota require eight strokes, they believed the company would have good fortunes.
The now obsolete Rover has perhaps a simpler story as to how it got its trading name. Before Rover made cars, the company made bikes, and the idea was on a bike you can ‘rove’ around the countryside. So the act of roving gave birth to Rover’s company name as it expanded to make motor vehicles.

As a footnote, another motor vehicle word worth adding to the plenary of this post is ‘dashboard’, which was once a wooden or leather screen in a horse-drawn carriage. It acted as to protect the driver and his passengers from any mud that would splash up from outside.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

‘Bedlam’, 'Tom foolery’ and a Picture of Mental Illness in British History

In effect, what the public were paying to see in the hospital
One of my favourite word origins that I’ve come across is the link between ‘bedlam’ and ‘Tom foolery’. They both originate from a dark tale in British history.

The story of ‘bedlam’ and ‘Tom foolery’ both come from the St Mary of Bethlehem hospital located in Bishop’s Gate, London in the sixteenth century. The hospital is believed to be the first to deal with mental illness in Europe, and I use the term ‘deal’ loosely. In those days, as one may expect, hygiene and living conditions were terrible. Patients slept on straw and the quality of care was substantially lacking. Scandalously, the public were allowed to see the patients in the hospital if they paid a shilling. In effect, what the public were doing by paying money was to see the madness.

Back then, ‘Bethlehem’ was pronounced ‘bedlam’. Today, ‘bedlam’ means chaos, confusion and disorder, which is exactly what the public were seeing when they watched the behaviour of the patients housed inside the hospital.
‘Tom foolery’ originates from the nickname given to a patient housed at the hospital: an inmate was labelled ‘Tom O’Bedlam’ which passed into English meaning anyone who is mentally deficient.

As so often is the case in English, ‘Tom foolery’ today has lost its stinging connotations relating to the hospital conditions at St Mary’s and the inmates themselves. It is now used far more affectionately.
So two pieces of English that go right back to the terrible conditions at St Mary’s hospital in London. It’s a sad story but one that’s very insightful to a lexicon.

The Decade with No Name (Yet)

The other day I was flicking through music channels and noticed that a lot of them categorise the music they play by the decade to which the music was released. For example, 'Number ones of the nineties'. But then I thought, how will the music be categorised if it was released between 2010 and 2019? What is the name of the decade we are currently living in?

The last decade (2000-2009) is most commonly known as the ‘noughties’, although this name only really came about in 2008. So it seems the last decade got its name retrospectively.

As 2009 ended, social commentators, linguists and lexicographers realised a name for the next decade wouldn’t emerge straightaway either. And it still hasn’t in 2013. As 2010 began however, there wasn't a shortage of possibilities. Surveys asked the public about what they would call the period 2010 – 2019, and a number of names materialised. These included ‘the deckers’, ‘the twenty-tens’, ‘the tens’, ‘the tweens’, ‘the teenies’, ‘the teens’ and ‘the tenties’. Some may seem gimmicky – ‘teenies’ or ‘tweens’ may sound too childish to become mainstream (whereas the last decade may have created naughty or cheeky connotations despite the fact nothing naughty actually happened. Rather, it was just more linguistically convenient to call the decade ‘the noughties’). In Australia, a competition-winning name was ‘the woneder years’ (although this never caught on either).

A century ago, we also failed to label the period 1910 – 1919. Instead, events which happened in that decade is how that period is remembered today. This is why many refer to this period a century ago as ‘The War’ or ‘The War Years’.

It may be the case that this decade won’t be called anything, and even if it will be named, perhaps we won’t know what it will be called until the end of the decade, and the start of the twenties, or twenty-twenties.

So going back to what started this whole post, who knows how music channels will categorise music 2010 - 2019, or indeed how anything will be grouped conveniently in terms of the years to which they came about. Time will indeed tell.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Changing Words – ‘Strong’, ‘Vigorous’, ‘Promiscuous’, ‘Punk’, ‘Mugger / mug shot’, ‘Bully', ‘Idiot’ and ‘Idiom’

'Mug shot' (picture of the face)
Back in July I looked at how the words ‘okay’ and ‘nice’ have changed in meaning. Today I am looking at other words where meanings have changed as time has progressed.

‘Strong’ and ‘vigorous’ used to mean full of nerves.
‘Bully’ in the sixteenth century meant a fellow or a darling in Shakespeare’s sense. Eventually it began to refer to someone who showed off and became a bragger, and thus began to merge to mean someone who used intimidation to brag.

‘Promiscuous’ once meant confused.
The first ‘punks’ in the sixteenth century were prostitutes.

The earliest ‘muggers’ were sellers of mugs. Today, we talk of the ‘mug’ referring to the face - ‘mug shot’ for example. This comes from the rather grotesque drinking mugs that resembled human faces which were common in the 1700s.
And finally ‘idiot’ once meant a private, peculiar individual and someone who preferred to be on their own. This idea of being by oneself and alone links to the word ‘idiom’. Whereas ‘idiot’ once meant private, peculiar, and unique, the root of ‘idiom’ is the same, relating specifically to a person’s use of language and speech rather than their behaviour i.e. an individual’s ‘private/peculiar/unique/individual language’. So ‘idiot’ and ‘idiom’ are linked by their ancient Greek root ‘idio-‘.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

All Things 'Nice'

On Monday I blogged about how even a common word can have an interesting history, and I looked at ‘okay’ as an example. Today I’m going to continue that theme by looking at another word that is used a lot, which, as with ‘okay’, may result in it being labelled bland and overused. That word is ‘nice’.

‘Nice’ entered English in the early fourteenth century and started out as a negative word, deriving from the Latin nescius meaning ‘ignorant’ and for well over a century was used as a word to describe stupid, ignorant or foolish people, or people who were believed to present those characteristics. By the beginning of the 1300s however, ‘nice’ began to refer more widely to conduct, people, or clothing that were deemed lavish or luxurious. A century later at the start of the 1400s, it had developed a more neutral manner, and was used to describe someone who was finely dressed, shy and introvert, as well as something that was precise. And by the 1500s, ‘nice’ was used to describe refined, dignified characteristics, and politeness, not just of individuals but of society as a whole.
Fast-forward to the present day, ‘nice’ has built up a reputation as being a lazy word, and perhaps overused, as with ‘basically’, ‘like’, ‘lovely’, and ‘amazing’. School children are told not to use ‘nice’ if they want to achieve higher marks, and should opt to use an adjective which is more descriptive and shows a greater knowledge of words.

In summary, common words have an intriguing history, and as with ‘nice’, the history may be more intriguing than the word itself today.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Is ‘Ok’ really ‘Okay’?

Martin Van Buren (1782 - 1862)
‘Okay’, often shortened to ‘ok’, is one of the most frequently used words in the English language. Many of us will use it at least once a day. Even the commonest of words have a history, and ‘okay’ is no exception.

Historically, ‘okay’ began as a deliberate misspelling of something else. For example, whereas a shop sign may read ‘betta value’, meaning ‘better value’, ‘okay’ began as a deliberate misspelling for ‘all correct’ in the nineteenth century, and was changed to ‘oll korrect’. This gained vast publicity when it was adopted by the political campaigner and the eighth president of America, Martin Van Buren, for his 1840 re-election bid, with a nod to his nickname Old Kinderhook (Kinderhook being a village in New York state where he was born).  Despite Van Buren losing his bid, the expression stuck. It is believed that Greek immigrants who arrived in America were known as ‘okay-boys’ because they quickly picked up American idiolects.

Like many words in English, ‘okay’ has had many forms. It was first spelt ‘okeh’, and it was in 1929 that the current spelling with the ‘a’ appeared. The noun emerged in 1841, and the verb in 1888.
Today, however, because of the familiarity of ‘okay’, it has become rather bland and emotionless. If someone asked us about their new hairstyle, and we replied ‘it’s okay’, we may be met with a less than thankful response. As a result of this, many attempts have been made to rejuvenate ‘okay’ through the creation derivatives. For example, ‘okey doke’ and ‘okilly dokilly’ to name but two – the latter characterised by Ned Flanders in The Simpsons. In fact, ‘okey doke’ was first recorded in student slang back in 1932.

So it seems that ‘okay’ is no longer okay. Whereas its roots are in fierce political campaigning, it is now a word which may be regarded as rather passionless and stale - just one example of how words change as they meander through time.

Friday, 12 July 2013

‘Fifteen, love’ and running from ‘Pillar to Post’

If you’re a keen tennis player or spectator, I’m sure you’ll agree that we have just had a thrilling and unforgettable fortnight of tennis at Wimbledon, resulting in the first British male player to win the championships since 1936, in the form of Andy Murray of course. But when you were watching the matches, did you ever link the game with the idiom ‘pillar to post’?

That idiom originates from tennis. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, tennis was a game played exclusively among the Aristocracies. A large area was needed to play the game, and as a result, courts were usually placed on roofs. The net was attached to a post at the side of the court that was then tied to a pillar that supported the stands on the other side of the court. And as is the case now, the idea was to get the opposing player to run rather raggedly in the hope it would mean you’d have a better chance of winning the rally. This is where the idiom to run from ‘pillar to post’ comes from.
And on a side note, I was asked a few weeks ago why is ‘love’ used to denote nil or zero points. That simply goes back to when tennis was played for love, rather than for any financial or personal reward.

So two interesting tennis-based etymologies.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Twitter's Influence on Language - 'Hashtag' and 'Hate-watching'

Technology and popular websites are a potent force in influencing our ever-shifting language. One such website is Twitter – a site that was created in the late noughties but by March 2011 had 140 million tweets posted daily, a statistic which I’m sure has increased in subsequent years.

By the beginning of 2013, ‘hashtag’ had already been propelled to a newly-adored status. It was no longer the obscure button on a phone keypad that no one ever used. At the start of 2013, ‘hashtag’ became the 2012 Word of the Year by the American Dialect Society (ADS). In fact, ‘hashtag’ has started to escape from its original Twitter origin and use – rival site Facebook has also adopted the symbol, albeit controversially. Yet it is an undeniable fact that we are hash-tagging more than ever.

The ADS brings me onto the second term which this post is about, and that is the phrase ‘hate-watching’, which was also nominated by the ADS for the 2012 Word of the Year prize. The phrase is a little newer than hashtag and perhaps is more obscure. The ADS defines ‘hate-watching’ as ‘continuing to follow a television show despite having an aversion to it’. Certainly on Twitter, we have all seen tweets or have written our own about a programme being watched which we are finding boring, dull or simply perverse, yet we continue to watch it and complain, instead of being slightly more pro-active perhaps and putting something on we do like. It also links to having a ‘guilty pleasure’…enjoyment taken from something which, in the grand scheme of things, is arguably awful.

As with ‘hashtag’, ‘hate-watching’ created a handful of derivatives and verb compounds. For example, ‘hate-listening’, ‘hate-reading’ and ‘hate-doing’. Interestingly, the concept of hating something but persevering nonetheless existed far before we had a term for it.

So in summary, the popular use of social networking sites influences our language drastically.