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Writing the dictionaries of the future

We connected instantly with Christina Xu blog post: a significant proportion of our team are (or, were) gamers. We reminisced about our own game lingo and how, at times, outsiders would not get what were you saying when you inadvertently inserted a gaming reference or a term.

You have to admit, though, that the Chinese take to another level entirely. According to Christina Xu, the author of this post, for some gaming terms the adoption ranges from the media to business to your average retired granny. Not that chinese elderly are playing en masse Counter Strike, but they use regularly terms like "PK" (player kill) or "second-kill" (very fast, overwhelming destruction of an opponent) or "full-blooded resurrection" (player’s character resurrected and restored to full health), albeit with different, more generalized meaning. For instance, you may want to PK your friends with photos of your grandchildren or a business may announce a flash deal sale using the chinese equivalent of "second-kill"!

Just think of the scale on which these terms had to be used, heard and understood to some degree to win over a culture of more than a billion people. I, for one, would have liked to read more. It is a pity that Christina Xu does not delve deeper into how this trend got under way in China, but I guess that, in itself, is a serious anthropological or social research PhD thesis waiting to be written. Is it only China? if so, why? US and Europe have a much older gaming culture, so these kind of questions are not trivial.

The penetration of internet terminology, social media lingo, online marketing terms is on the rise. As language is never static, word meanings can change significantly and we can only wonder if some hundreds of years later people will say, for instance, that a presidential candidate "serped" ahead of his opponent... Could it be that web designers, developers and online marketing specialists are sowing now the seeds of future dictionary entries? Wouldn’t that be something?



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