Monday, March 7, 2016

Narrative Warfare: Language is a Tool

I enjoy when someone plays with language to add layers of meaning to a creative work, be it a novel or a game or whatever. By the same token, I am often irritated by lazy or incompetent language usage. Words Mean Things. Literally, they are symbols to represent concepts (abstract or concrete) of reality by the speaker/writer to the recipient, so language is a tool. Tools exist to fulfill specific purposes, and you use the proper tool for the task at hand whenever possible.

The purpose for language is communication. Accurate and precise communication requires competent usage of accurate and precise tools, so it is not enough to establish and maintain a standardized vocabulary and grammar, but also vital that individuals be trained properly in their use. When the meaning for words, phrases, etc. drifts that is evidence of incompetence getting institutionalized.

Or do you NOT like being able to communicate with your descendants long after you're dead and gone?

That's what I'm getting at here. Language that changes without need creates historic discontinuity across generations. If you think this isn't a thing, then consider this: "nation" is not synonymous with "country", so reading older texts talking about nations as distinct entities creates confusion in the minds of miseducated people who erroneously think that it does.

And that means something, because a lot of people read the Bible and there's lots of talk of nations and countries ("kingdoms") therein. (Don't even TRY to argue that the Bible isn't a historical text of great importance. It is, and you're living in a world created by the civilization that it inspired.) Lots of people read the U.S. Constitution, and both the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers, as they are also world-historic texts. Shakespeare matters also. Other examples you can conjure on your own.

So, if someone's pushing this "language evolves" angle on you, and they're not a useful idiot to someone else, either they're getting paid to push someone else's bullshit or they're originating it. The "change" angle is a fraud born out of the dyscivic mind of Edward Bernays, itself one of his proofs behind the power of propaganda, so this can be done deliberately (and often is) for pernicious purposes. However, most of you will run into the less-bothersome version of a pinhead pushing a corruption for their own ends, as if you witnessed something out of The Office in person.


The health of Civilization can be measured by the competency of its usage of language. We're in serious trouble now.

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