By Elizabeth Prata
Words matter. The words we choose to use form a basis for discourse, in teaching, and through the exchanging of ideas in a civil society.
I’ve said this many times, but when a group in one culture decides to dispense with or change the meaning of words the rest of us have commonly understood for centuries, it’s important to pay attention to the shift in meaning. The intentional use or disuse of certain vocabulary words within a language is different from the natural evolution of language. Just think Shakespeare. In Shakespeare’s day, the commonly used alack for oh no! fell into natural disuse. We don’t say alack any more. What I’m talking about today is the intentional changing of a commonly understood term.
Communication is all about creating meaning based on comprehension of what commonly understood words mean. When those meanings change, our perceptions change too.
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