[LMB] OT: Language changes

Margaret Dean margdean56 at gmail.com
Wed Sep 15 22:33:17 BST 2021


On Wed, Sep 15, 2021 at 10:02 AM baur baur via Lois-Bujold <
lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk> wrote:

>
> > Elizabeth Holden <alzurite at gmail.com> hat am 15.09.2021 15:43
> geschrieben:
>
>
> > As for fascism - I'm not convinced the meaning has changed, but this
> > reminds me of a word I've forgotten.
>
> the meaning in public usage has changed (we are not discussing here the
> strict meaning in science use) .. as has, for example the menaing of the
> term nazi - the use of both terms have been broadend to the point of them
> becoming menaigless


This reminds me of one of C.S. Lewis's essays--I think it's called "The
Death of Words"--in which he discusses the way in which words over time can
lose their specific (and useful) meaning and eventually become just
synonyms for either "good" or "bad", i.e., words of approval or disapproval
that no longer have much definable meaning beyond that. The example he uses
is "gentleman", which started out as a descriptor for a defined social
class and ended up meaning not much more than "nice man."

It seems to me that terms like "fascism" are being subjected to this
process, in this case coming to mean simply "system/policy I don't approve
of/agree with." It does still have a technical meaning that a political
scientist can lay out for you, but in popular discourse that's being lost
sight of.


--Margaret Dean
  <margdean56 at gmail.com>


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