Today the process of emergence and extension of new notions and words in the English language is extremely rapid because of the possibilities provided by the Internet. The occasional usage of a new word which is usually derived from the other word can become spreading among the Internet community and contribute to the further expansion in the media. ‘Tebowing’ as a phenomenon of thanking God getting down on a knee became the part of the youth’s pop culture for a short period of time.
In spite of the fact the critics of this notion argue the moral aspect of the phenomenon and its origin, the usage of the word in speech, in press, and in the Internet expands and involves not only the English-speaking public in the USA, but it is also used as the international term for defining all the variants of the process of praying getting down on a knee. Moreover, the word is accepted by the popular Internet dictionaries as the notion for determining the social and cultural phenomenon and should be added to the Oxford English Dictionary.
Nowadays many young people, especially those who are interested in the activity of the National Football League know the meaning of the notion ‘Tebowing’. ‘Tebowing’ should be considered as the form of the verb ‘to tebow’ which is derived from the last name of the famous football player Tim Tebow.
Tim Tebow is popular with the public not only because of his great sport achievements but also because of his practice to pray before the game getting down on one knee. During the definite period of time the player’s tradition was not considered as an extraordinary phenomenon and was discussed only by the fans and critics of Tim Tebow.
However, the situation changed in October of 2011 when the Denver Broncos won the game with the Miami Dolphins. Tim Tebow was presenting his ritual when his fan Jared Kleinstein and his friends decided to take the same pose to demonstrate their admiration. The boys took a photograph of their actions and posted it in the Internet. Later the site where people could post their photos in the same pose was created by Jared Kleinstein. ‘Tebowing’ became the notion of the international usage (McKinley).
The term of ‘Tebowing’ is in a constant progress today which is correlated with the expansion of the phenomenon among the public. Taking into account the wide usage of the notion in the Internet and in the media, the Global Language Monitor developed the definition for the process and accepted it as the linguistic phenomenon.
According to the Global Language Monitor, ‘Tebowing’ is “the act of ‘taking a knee’ in prayerful reflection in the midst of an athletic activity” (“Tebowing Accepted into English Language”). Moreover, the notion was also presented in the online Urban Dictionary where the necessary accents were also made on the person’s praying while being down on a knee (McKinley).
Nevertheless, paying attention to the peculiarities of expanding the notion among the public and with referring to the tendencies of the process’s realization by young people, it is possible to define ‘Tebowing’ as the act of taking a knee in order to accentuate the necessity of thanking for something or asking God to help or bless and emphasize the significance of the action or event for the person. This definition can be considered as appropriate because it highlights the possible variety of reasons for ‘Tebowing’ as an act or a process.
Nowadays the term of ‘Tebowing’ is used by the writers in definite printed works. It is possible to observe such stylistic combinations of the notion in the works as, for instance, the following one, “When things were really bad for Roethlisberger, he was on the sidelines Tebowing. It looked like Steelers were being sent to the Pits of Burgh” (Russo 95).
Moreover, Mike Yorkey in his book uses the word in the context of creating and development of the notion, “The following day, he created a tebowing blog on tumblr.com, then two days later purchased the tebowing domain name from GoDaddy” (Yorkey 114). The word is also widely used in online and printed newspapers and magazines in connection with the figure of Tim Tebow and for determining the independent phenomenon of praying.
Today many journalists and bloggers use the term of ‘Tebowing’ in the titles of their articles which are not directly referred to the player in order to draw the public’s attention. For instance, it is possible to observe such titles of the Internet articles as “Tebowing Your Small Business: Clutch Performance”, “Cheerleaders Add Tebowing to Routines”, and “No Tebow-ing for Obama?” (“Tebowing Your Small Business”; “Cheerleaders”; Thrush).
The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has worked out a set of criteria according to which new words can be added to it. There are three main criteria which include the number of the examples of the usage of the word in the printed resources, the time period of the word’s usage by the public, and the stability of the tem.
Discussing the question of the ‘reasonable length of time’ of using the term, it is possible to say that today the intensity of using the term in the media and in the Internet can be considered as more significant criterion in comparison with the criterion of time.
Although the critics of the notion accentuate the temporary character of the term and its limited usage, the notion of ‘Tebowing’ can be considered as fitting the OED criteria because there are many examples of its usage in books, in the printed press, and in the media. Moreover, ‘Tebowing’ is the acknowledged term which is actively used in the Internet. The fact is also supported by the significant amount of the Google search results used for the necessary investigations, researches, and papers (McClure; Moye; Roberts).
There are many arguments that the phenomenon of ‘Tebowing’ is temporary and that is why it cannot be added to the dictionary as the formal word. Nevertheless, ‘Tebowing’ as a practice acquires more and more features which are not associated with the figure of Tim Tebow, and it develops as the independent social phenomenon which is characteristic for young people not only in the USA as the origin country but also round the world.
The extensive usage of such words as ‘OMG’ and ‘LOL’ in several years which were added to the dictionary also cannot be guaranteed by scholars. Moreover, in spite of the fact this notion has no analogies which could be found in the dictionary, the phenomenon which the notion determines is in a constant progress.
Thus, the term of ‘Tebowing’ as the linguistic phenomenon explained by a certain appropriate definition can be added to the Oxford English Dictionary as the representation of the rapidly developed linguistic reality. Today it is necessary less time to examine the active usage of the word in the printed resources and prove its credibility. The peculiar features of the extremely intensive development of the notion of ‘Tebowing’ accentuate the possibility of its adding to the dictionary along with such words as, for instance, ‘OMG’ and ‘LOL’.
Cheerleaders Add Tebowing to Routines. 22 Apr. 2012. Web. 24 Apr. 2012.
McClure, Randall. Googlepedia: Turning Information Behaviors into Research Skills. n.d. Web. 17 Apr. 2012.
McKinley, Carol. Tebowing Goes Global as Winning Denver Quarterback Dazzles. 14 Dec. 2011. Web. 17 Apr. 2012.
Moye, David. Oxford Dictionary Removes ‘Cassette Tape,’ Gets Sound Lashing From Audiophiles. 22 Aug. 2011. Web. 17 Apr. 2012.
Roberts, Paul McHenry. How to Say Nothing in 500 Words. n.d. Web. 17 Apr. 2012.
Russo, William. Tebow versus Gronk: Clash of the Whimsical Titans. USA: CreateSpace, 2012. Print.
Tebowing Accepted into English Language. 15 Dec. 2011. Web. 17 Apr. 2012.
Tebowing Your Small Business: Clutch Performance. 3 Jan. 2012. Web. 24 Apr. 2012.
Thrush, Glenn. No Tebow-ing for Obama? 25 Apr. 2012. Web. 25 Apr. 2012.
Yorkey, Mike. Playing with Purpose: Tim Tebow. USA: Barbour Books, 2012. Print.