I can verb any noun you give me, said my undergrad
linguistics teacher. She may have exaggerated, since I'm not sure
how to use
desk as verbs. Still, I can think of
many terms that prove her point: to email, to google, to code, to
spam, to TeX, and to blog. People create new tools and feel
dissatisfied with the current vocabulary to describe how the tools
are used, and the language grows. But while I can motor or barrel
down the road, or perhaps
keep on truckin', I cannot (yet)
Hummer or SUV down thr road. I must remain content to drive
Hummers or SUVs -- or rather, to be wary of others who do so. Why
is it possible to Google someone but not to Hummer him?
There exist adequate old words to describe some of our new
activities. I can write or search instead of e-mailing or googling;
to spam has a certain flair with it's evocation of
potted meats, to harrass also describes the primary activity
of spammers. A journalist writes or reports: he does not journal.
In an opinion piece, he may editorialize; the new verb indicates a
specific type of writing, one which is supposed not to mix with
reporting. Why, then, does a blogger blog? The noun
describes a format which can be filled with many types of writing;
to blog is little better as a verb than
legal pad. Perhaps
to blog seems natural because
log is an accepted, related verb; but we do not say that a web
designer webs, and
to web seems an adequate verb, too.
I write to question, not to criticize. Etymology is fascinating, and the histories of new words are sometimes as interesting as the histories of the old ones.