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-   -   Semantics / Language is Fluid (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=55904)

Marcus 09-17-2013 02:37 PM

Semantics / Language is Fluid
 
/rant

Discussion boards on the internet are a great place to vet out ideas, challenge thought processes, learn from our fellow man, and a great place to become infuriated with the entire species.

On boards like this, communication is put to the test in every post because we are at a severe disadvantage. All we have to go on is what is actually written and how we filter the information on our end. Often times the message intended is not the message received, as LR put it "this miscommunication thing just IS". We don't have the benefit of personal context, expression, posture, tone of voice... all we have are these little black letters sitting on a white screen.

That being said, many of these topics seem to be halted by the same catch phrases: "just a semantic argument" and "language is fluid".

SEMANTICS, to put it simply, can be defined as "what words mean". It is apparently a bit more complex if you are well versed in that particular field of linguistics, but for us laymen that is the gist. So, to say that we are "just having a semantic argument" would seem to mean that "we are just discussing the nuances of different, yet correct, ways of using a word". Some words have a number of correct ways they can be used: "respect", "committed", and "love" for example. These words are fertile ground for misunderstanding simply because there are so many correct ways to use them... for the most part these broad category words should probably be avoided when possible, simply to keep a semantic argument from coming up.

Again, note that a semantic discussion is centered around multiple correct uses of a word. What many people on these forums seem to mean by "it's just semantics" is "I don't want to use the word for what it actually means. I will continue to use it incorrectly".

LANGUAGE FLUIDITY, is referring to the tendency of cultures to shift what is viewed as correct usage of words and sentence structure over time. Over time (sometimes over centuries, generations, or rarely within a few years) cultures can so consistently misuse or clarify the use of words and sentence structure to such a degree that the "accepted" rules actually change. Over time we have ended up with some really silly language shifts, but we have also ended up with more refined and concise language shifts (though I expect this is rare). With the more broad use terms as mentioned above this has a much higher chance of happening over time, I suspect, because there is more room for interpretation.

What language fluidity does NOT mean is that definitions and sentence structure have no meaning. It does NOT mean that words mean whatever we want them to because it is "fluid". Insisting on using words incorrectly is simply willful ignorance.

We live in the information age. I can tell you what the GDP of Nepal was in 2001 by simply doing a quick search. Information is so readily available that the idea of disagreeing on what "interfere" means is asinine and is in no way related to "language fluidity"... look it up.

Any of my fellow posters who have experience in linguistics and have something to add or disagree with, please feel free to do so. I actually find language to be pretty fascinating.

Emm 09-17-2013 03:07 PM

Whatever you do, don't look at what Merriam-Webster have done to their definition of "literally".

YouAreHere 09-17-2013 03:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Emm (Post 231694)
Whatever you do, don't look at what Merriam-Webster have done to their definition of "literally".

Why, WHY did I not heed your warning? WHYYYYYY???
<headdesk>

Marcus 09-17-2013 05:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Emm (Post 231694)
Whatever you do, don't look at what Merriam-Webster have done to their definition of "literally".

This one is fun. I like the Gay Roller lol

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/literally

Nox 09-17-2013 07:41 PM

Marcus, I 100% agree with your post.

Emm, that is literally the dumbest thing I have ever read. (the dictionary, not your post).

LovingRadiance 09-17-2013 10:08 PM

MARCUS-

SHHHHHHHH!!!!!!
You will make all of us who are addicted to intellectual stimulation start chasing you!

:eek:

(no comment to your points-as I concur)

Atlantis 09-18-2013 12:24 AM

I agree with you Marcus.
A world of difference between semantics and misusing a word.

I have, indeed, studied linguistics, probably hard to guess from my crappy writing, but refrained from posting on the other thread as...well....:rolleyes:

I literally fell of my chair laughing ( causing only slight damage to myself, but snapping one chair leg ) at the response of the poster who was being gently asked for clarification.

I must try that tactic at work.;) "I might be wrong, but you are wrongerer".

nycindie 09-18-2013 06:42 AM

Hey Marcus, are you sure you want this discussion in the Life stories and Blogs section? Seems better suited to the Fireplace to me, unless you want this to be a blog thread where people can't argue with you, lol. I can move it if you wish, let me know.

Marcus 09-18-2013 12:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nycindie (Post 231811)
Hey Marcus, are you sure you want this discussion in the Life stories and Blogs section? Seems better suited to the Fireplace to me, unless you want this to be a blog thread where people can't argue with you, lol. I can move it if you wish, let me know.

I wasn't sure where to put it. If the fireplace is a better spot then sure, let's do that. I just wanted to make sure I didn't put it in the poly discussion areas and have never looked in the others.

Thanks :)

LovingRadiance 09-18-2013 04:59 PM

Oh my! The major joys of the pages that aren't so argumentative that you are missing. Giggle!


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