One has only to scan news reports from the beginning and the end of the past decade to see how much our language has changed in the interim.
The usual suspects—technology, consumer culture, politics,—were joined by new agents of lexical change: think terrorism, economic instability, and social networking.
Now, at the beginning of a new decade, it's a good time to consider which incipient trends might play out over the coming years.
The cultural distance between 2000 and 2010 proves the futility of trying to predict too precisely but also shows how the roots of change are there for those who look closely.
Here are some language trends to be looking and listening for in the decade ahead.
Speaking Scarcity: Words and Water
Scarcity is central to our economic system, underpinning how things are valued, priced, managed, and consumed. One element trending toward scarcity is water.
The World Water Council, an international forum, warns that "water to produce food for human consumption, industrial processes, and all the other uses is becoming scarce."