Wednesday, 6 February 2013

The Meaning of Wex

We need a new English word to refer to the exclusive 'we', or we-but-not-you. Have you ever been talking to someone and said something like 'We are going to the beach' but the 'we' did not include the person you were talking to, it just meant you and some other people. The person you are talking to can easily misunderstand. If you'd said something like 'we are going to bed' the misunderstanding might get very awkward.

So I propose a new word: 'wex' to mean we-but-not-you, or the exclusive 'we'.
It has lots of advantages:
  1. It is short and easy to spell
  2. It has an X in it. Anyone from marketing will tell you that is a good idea.
  3. I thought of it.
Anyone can use it. You don't have to send me any royalties.

Tolkien
Interestingly when J R R Tolkien defined his own language, Quenya, he put an equivalent of wex in it. He used a different word, of course. But it is nice to know he agreed with me. Since then I've found Maori, in common with other Polynesian languages, has a similar word. So at least one real language has seen a need for a wex-like word.

This isn't the only idea I have for tidying up the rougher edges of English. We have issues with the plural of 'you', for which there are ugly solutions like y'all and yous (okay, maybe you don't think those are ugly, but this is my blog and I do). And wouldn't it make life easier for people learning English if we stopped modifying word endings all over the place when we don't need to.

But no one is going to make any progress on those ideas. Wex, however, is a simple and easy addition to the language we can just start using today. Let me know how it goes for you.
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