A language expert warned yesterday that the Internet will start running out of superlatives as early as the year 2018. According to Bing Crosby, professor of words at Stoke Academy, online overuse means superlatives are losing all their original power. Eventually, he claims, there will be none left and people will be unable to start their Facebook posts.
“Take the word ‘unbelievable’ as an example,” Crosby says. “If a 10-year old picks up a violin and what happens next is he plays it pretty well then that isn’t unbelievable. What would be unbelievable is someone with no arms nailing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons because raw talent counts for nothing if you can’t hold the instrument.”
Another word that Crosby believes to be nearing the end of its useful life is ‘awesome’. As far as he is concerned, when a superlative like that is used to describe slippers that can be worn outdoors its days are numbered. And this is by no means an isolated example.
“A natural phenomena such as the Northern Lights can be so intense and beautiful that it literally takes your breath away,” says Crosby. “Unfortunately, one can no longer use the word ‘breathtaking’ to describe them because too often it has introduced videos of dogs who haven’t seen their owner in a year.”
So what can be done? Well, Crosby believes there still exist pockets of superlatives, as yet untapped by the internet. However, he also believes they will be of limited use because the average user wouldn’t know the word ‘stupefying’ if it jumped up and slapped them in the face.
“I fear,” he told us, “that instead of developing alternative sources we will see the increased use of compound superlatives, such as ‘mega-awesome’ or ‘ultra-shocking. And if that happens then the English language as we know it will be well fucked.”