Why is it that as soon as I hear about a new trend, it’s already old hat?
I speak about the language of Doge, about which most over-60s like myself will have heard nothing until Radio 4’s “Today” programme carried an item about it.
In Doge-speak, it left me feeling “much confuse” and “such old” .
However, being a diligent journalist, always interested in new usages of English, I swotted up on this strange phenomenon.
Doge is all to do with an internet “meme” – a meme being “an idea, behaviour, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture”.
Thanks to the internet, it spreads like wildfire.
The idea is that you download a picture of a Shibu Inu, a cute-looking sandy-coloured breed of Japanese dog, alter it digitally if you’re smart enough, and superimpose some two-word phrases, supposedly to signify what the dog is thinking.
These have to be ungrammatical, where the qualifying word isn’t what you’d expect.
Typical examples are “so chocolate”, “very enjoy” and “much funny”. Then you add a “Wow” or two somewhere and you pass it on by uploading it.
Millions have been following the Doge meme for months, and the sandy dog has taken over from LOLcats, another internet phenomenon in which witty slogans were pasted on to pictures of cats.
“I can has cheezburger?” started the worldwide LOLcats trend. Somehow, that one passed me by.
Oldies like myself claim that playfully mucking about with the language for amusement is nothing new, as in: “‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe; All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe.” (“Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll).
But back to Doge. Its users can’t even agree on how to pronounce it. Does it rhyme with “vogue” or should it be more like “dohj” as in the Doges of old Venice?
Many are already tiring of its cutesy quirkiness, and some even claim it takes the mickey out of the broken English spoken by non-native speakers, especially Orientals, so it could even be racist.
Opinion is split and controversy rages, but you can bet young people will drop the dead Doge as soon as their parents try to get trendy by jumping on the bandwagon.
As the great Bob Dylan said: “Don’t criticise what you can’t understand.”
So I won’t. Just go ahead without me.