A New Year Means a New Word

I’m sure you’ve seen and heard how new words make their way into the English language.  I’m not referring to slang, jargon, dialect or colloquialisms, but to the creation of new words by using current meanings and combining them, or embellishing established root words with proper references to today’s conditions.

A recent one I’ve seen combined the words “blessing” and “lesson” to create “blesson,” which has been defined as “The lesson learned from the blessing that one has received.”  The blessing comes first, and then the lesson is learned from it.  For those of you that are parents, you’ll understand this word immediately.

In education, “The art or profession of teaching” and “Preparatory training or instruction” are acceptable definitions for “pedagogy.”  Interestingly, the word comes from the Greek paidagogia, which is “the office of a child’s tutor.”  The Greek root “ped” means “child” (the Latin root “ped” means “foot.”).  Therefore, “pedagogy” in its most correct sense refers to teaching a child.

“Andragogy,” on the other hand, has been advanced by educational researcher Malcolm Knowles as the manner in which adults learn.  The Greek root “andra” means “man” (but is also a female name in Greek meaning “Strong and Powerful.”).  For anyone that’s participated in adult educational experiences, you may have noted that there is a difference between how adults learn and how children learn.  Adults are able to relate life experiences more readily than children to the learning, and are usually participating in education experiences for practical purposes to better themselves, their current situations or environment, or the current conditions in which they find themselves.  They are usually more motivated to learn than are the students enrolled in compulsory educational programs.

But today, brains are changing.  It’s the digital age, and kindergarteners are teaching their grandparents how to program the iPad that their adult children got for them.  While there are those senior citizens who still believe in reading the newspaper every day, there are octogenarians who are getting new computers, updating their Facebook accounts, and complaining to their local cable companies when they experience connectivity issues.

It’s time for a new word that puts everyone together into this new learning paradigm that cuts across multiple generations.  Let’s call it, “Digigogy,” since the Digital Natives and Millennials are bringing Generation X and the Silent Generation together – not necessarily by gathering around the banquet table, but by building cyberconnections with one another.   And, interestingly, someone has done it, creating a Web site for it at http://www.digigogy.com/.

Technology is an interesting phenomenon.  Just as television was seen as the culprit that began to break up the family’s act of gathering around the dinner table, but helped to connect the world via satellite communication, today’s technology can bring the masses together, but separate family members from one another by displacing in-person communication with electronic conversations and games with relatives and friends…even when they’re sitting around the dinner table in person!  It makes us more distant from those who are closest, yet closer to those who are distant.  This helps to explain the phenomena that has today’s political leaders communicating via social media than through the press, and “friends” can enter into arguments when their friends in a different social circle reply to comments they’ve made to their friends.

If that last statement is a difficult one to follow, perhaps an emphasis on “digigogy” can develop additional new words to delineate “friends,” “followers,” and other categories of connections in today’s “techonnected” (there’s the 2023 word, to differentiate it from a personal connection) world.