In the last five or so years, hipsters have become a huge part of Millennial culture. They’re usually known for their love of flannel, skinny jeans, obscure bands, and indie films. They can be found hanging out at hole-in-the-wall coffee shops or browsing for clothes at their local vintage shop. Furthermore, hipsters are generally famous for their love of old-fashioned things – whether it be 19th century beards or record players from the 30s. But the vintage lifestyle of your average hipster extends far beyond just what they wear and how they groom their facial hair, it also affects their language! That’s right, hipsters are bringing back more than just vintage-wear, they are bringing back vintage language!
‘Nostalgia mining’ is a term used to refer to a particular culture’s fascination with the past (hence the ‘nostalgia’) and their need to comb through it and dredge up terms which went out of style a long time ago (hence the ‘mining’). And no one commits to ‘nostalgia mining’ in the way that hipsters do, experts claim.
While hippies and even the grunge movement drew from cultures of the past, hipsters are particularly adept at taking things which went out of style decades, even a century ago, and using them in modern day life. Perhaps nothing evokes a deep feeling of nostalgia the way language can. After all, when we read a work by an author like, say, Ernest Hemingway, we feel a deep connection to a time gone by – a feeling which is evoked purely through the language. It is for this reason that language is such a useful tool for the a hipster taking part in ‘nostalgia mining’.
Unbeknownst to us
Google data has revealed that archaic language has been resurfacing in recent years in a manner that is unprecedented, and we have hipsters to thank for that. Old-time language such as ‘dapper’, ‘smitten’, and ‘perchance’ are all sneaking their way back into our lives and into our lexicons. Even modern words like ‘amid’ and ‘unknown’ are being replaced by their more archaic forms of ‘amidst’ and ‘unbeknownst’! In fact, the hipster language trend has become so wide-spread that even those of us who aren’t considered a part of the culture may realize that we use some of these ‘old’ words. Just listen for it and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
To be or not to be
The hipster love of vintage language doesn’t just stop with old-time language, you’ll find that hipsters are in fact quite ‘smitten’ (see what I did there?) with words that seem to have absolutely no place in modern language. Yes, we’re talking about Shakespeare. I doubt that any of us read Hamlet in high-school and thought to ourselves: Now this is how people should be talking in real life! Data, however, would have us believe that some of the world’s more serious hipsters (who undoubtedly have read Hamlet at some point in the recent future) would like to bring back some Shakespearean terms such as ‘hath’, ‘thou’, and ‘thee’. As you can probably tell by your daily interactions, this trend hasn’t exactly caught on. But then isn’t that the point of being a hipster? You use something while it is obscure then stop using it when it goes mainstream? Perhaps using Shakespeare’s language is the true definition of what it means to be a hipster!
Regardless of what the naysayers may say, the hipster way of life looks like it’s here to stay. Which means vintage language won’t be going anywhere anytime soon! It will definitely be interesting to see if classic English will start to catch on again and become more widespread, or if it will solely remain a particularly fascinating aspect of hipster culture. Either way, you’ve got to love the nostalgic yearning for an older time which is making the language most of us love but can only find in books a part of our current time. Who says language has to go out of style?
Have you heard people using more archaic and classic terms in everyday language? Do you think Shakespearean terms will start to catch on again? What about words like ‘amidst’ and ‘smitten’?