We dove or did we dive that dive site?
Recently, at a well known dive destination, we overheard two scuba divers talking about a dive site where one of the divers dove the other day. The other diver happened to be an English major and insisted that dove was not the past tense of dive. The first diver disagreed saying that dive and dove were like drive and drove and divers have routinely used the word dove for more than the last 50 years. The English major countered that dove refers to a type of bird use in a Prince song as well as a chocolate covered ice cream bar and a brand of soap.
You could not say we dove the Titanic, but that we were diving or went diving on the Titanic. In an old fashioned way, the English major had a point, but English is a dynamic ever changing language that continuously allows us to form new nouns, verbs, and change words as we deem them needed. Eventually, certain words are used in certain ways so frequently that they become officially accepted by leading contemporary English Dictionaries. Television shows, Movies, Internet, and Pod casts seem to only increase the accumulated speed of new words, verbiage, and jargon.
Take a TV show like “Finding Bigfoot,” although the one thing you will never see on this show is an actual bigfoot, you will pick up a whole array of words never before known to those outside the bigfoot community. The cast of the show routinely makes comments that have reference to Sasquatch; the Northwest First Nations word for Bigfoot. In the show, they hunt for squatch or go squatchin in the squatchiest places they can find and the squatchiestness of a site determines how close to finding a bigfoot they ultimately almost get.
In the popular show “Call of the Wildman,” Instead of saying rat raisins, porcupine scat, raccoon excrement, or animal feces, Turtleman calls everything “Pootie poot or poodie poo.” You might even hear someone on the set yelling, “something was pootie pooing in here”, and by now there is no one in Kentucky or anyone who watches the Animal Channel on a regular basis who doesn’t know the meaning of Pootie poot. By the way, for as far as we know, this word has no affiliation with the “Pootie-poot” nickname former President George W. Bush gave Mr. Vladamir Putin of Russia.
Now some words have fought hard not to become generic words that we take for granted. Take the word “xerox” for example. In the seventies everyone was making, taking, viewing a xerox of some other piece of paper. Xerox was a noun, a verb, and a corporation, but now that anyone can make a copy by using almost any copier/printer, we have a whole generation of kids that may not even know what a Xerox copy machine looked like or how enormous it even was.
On the other hand some words seem to have lost the battle no matter how hard they tried to keep pure a trademark brand. The Kleenex Corporation put tons of money into the words “Facial tissue”, but despite their best efforts, people still find it more convenient to say, “Hey, pass me a Kleenex,” and blow their nose without any regard as to what specific brand of facial tissue that they have truly just desecrated.
Now we could continue on with other innovative and new words, or you could Google a few more of your own: Oh, we mean search for words online using a well-known yet definitive free web browser service. We googled “dove” and found plenty of references towards scuba diving, but I guess the people employed at certain definitive dictionary companies are not into scuba diving, sasquatch, or pootie poot, as much as other niche groups of people are, so it could take another 50 years for the word “dove” to become officially sanctioned as a proper word.
Then again, some words will never be officially acceptable such as the word “ain’t”. This word is used by hundred of millions of people yearly, found in countless books, and occasionally slips from the lips of past presidents, senators, and congressmen alike, but it is loathed more than the nine words that you can’t say on public, non paid, free access TV or radio. Ain’t is just one of a few select words that could potentially break the backbone of the English language and ruin the livelihood of countless English teachers: just the mention of this word can cause acid reflex in some social groups. We hope that the duel or triple meaning word “dove” is not as loathsome to those in power as the word “ain’t”, but ultimately that’s not our call.
Even here, our work is not done, as scuba instructors routinely tell students, “Inflate your BC!” and seldom do you hear anyone say,” Inflate your buoyancy compensator!”, or shout out even the more less used and outdated phrase, “Inflate your buoyancy compensating device.” By the time you spit out all these old antiquated words, everyone has surfaced and they are heading for shore or they have already stepped aboard the boat.
So tell us where you last dove, and do you plan to dive there again?