English Language

How Uber is having an influential impact on our language

Lisa Tran

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Go ahead and tilt your mobile the right way (portrait). The kool kids don't use landscape...

By now, most English Language students would have had their first English Language SAC on informal language, which makes this post even more relevant!In terms of informality, people are very inventive and creative with their language when there is a pressing need to describe new objects or activities in today's society. You would most probably be familiar with how technology has had a tremendous impact on our language, with the likes of 'to google' being created from the brand name 'Google' and so forth.

In the English language, we call these new creations 'neologisms' (coming from the Greek word to mean 'new' + 'speech'). Linguistically speaking, to become a neologism, many words succumb to what is known as linguistic conversion where a word is converted to another word class (e.g. 'Google' which became 'to google').

This now brings me to the main idea of this post. I am sure many of you (particularly the young generation) would be familiar with the taxi transporation app, Uber. Uber is an app that allows you to hire Uber drivers in seconds (which is often much cheaper than a normal taxi). Now, remember how I said that technology has an impact on our language? Well, let's examine how Uber is having an impact.

On Friday night, I was at a party and I asked one of my friends how they got to the party, to which he replied:

"I just ubered here... it's so much cheaper than a taxi".

Which made me wonder... is 'Ubered' starting to appear in our vernacular? This trend seems to run parallel with what occurred to Google, and I suspect that it will only increase in usage as Uber becomes more mainstream.

So what do you think will happen? Do you think more people will say 'Ubered' to mean a verb?It may still be early days to make any concrete statements, however it would be wise to observe this word formation.

Hint: this is a GREAT word to include in your essays on language change and technology!

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