We were emailing at work - instead of working at work, because it was more convenient that way - the other day about the verbing of nouns, the habit people had of turning particular nouns into related verbs. Instead of saying 'I am going (verb) to lunch (noun)', according to Macquarie Dictionary, it is now acceptable simply to say 'I lunch (verb)'. Another example that came up was how, during the Olympics, certain comperes and presenters had begun to say 'And now the winners will podium (verb)', instead of, say 'And now the winners will walk (verb) to the podium (noun).'
Well I didn't accept it then and I don't accept it now. I mean, how far is this verbing of nouns going to go? If we take language in the direction it seems to be going, pretty soon we will not 'walk up the street' to 'eat some lunch' and 'have a drink', we will 'street up the street' to 'lunch some lunch' and 'drink a drink', and when we come back to work we will not 'sit in a chair' and 'type on a keyboard', before going to 'catch the train' home, where we will 'watch the television' and then 'go to bed': we will simply come back to work where we will 'chair in a chair' and 'keyboard on a keyboard', and 'train a train' home, where we will 'television the television' for a while before 'bedding to bed'. And while it is true that we have always used the words 'drink' and 'bed' as both noun and verb, and 'lunch' has for some time operated in both capacities, other words have until now remained entirely distinct. We have perfectly good, and separate verbs for all of those actions described above: 'eating' and 'drinking' and 'walking' and 'typing', and so on.
Having obliterated the distinction between verb and noun, and between the act and what is acted upon, will language halt there? I fear not: for as the great juggernaut of language rolls on, pretty soon, single acts will be implied in one single, all-encompasssing word. So instead of 'walking down the street' to 'eat some lunch' and 'have a drink', or even 'streeting the street' to 'lunch on lunch' and 'drink some drink', people will find themselves simply 'streeting'. Pretty soon, the whole vast world of distinctions and separate existences and poetry and singular essences that is implied and touched upon in the English language will have vanished; and instead, we will have nothing more than a small collection of four or five verbnouns to imply this whole vanished world.
Alternatively, language could go in the opposite direction altogether; and whereas before we verbed nouns with aplomb, now we could start nouning verbs. We would not 'eat lunch', we would 'eat eats'; we would not 'sit in a chair', we would 'sit in a sit'. In a great retroreaction we could obliterate the whole other half of language: and that would be not only a tragedy, but a reverse tragedy of the other one.
All this I said, or tried to say, in my emailing at work. Or, rather, I tried to say in the email that I sent at work. Language, Timothy, please!
Tim, your links stink, you fink!
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