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News Name all pertinent words that get preserved

  1. Oct 5, 2005 #1
    ...as a side effect while any particular nation intends to preserve its own existence.

    Now, what do those pertinent words represent?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 5, 2005 #2
    Words representing some form of nationalism have occured all throughout history. In World War II, terms such as "Motherland" and "Fatherland" have been used on the European front to psychologically boost morale and to generate a close attachment with one's nation.

    There has been a long history of perserverance and blame words in the United States of America. In the 1910s, the immigrants were often targeted by the "Americanism" group, particularly the proponents of such arguments used the "100% Americanism" label to rally support against the immigrants. Similar "bashing" words were used against the Red Scare, as some Americans tried to avoid and/or persecute the Bolshevik movement that was taking over Russia during the first World War.

    Later on, Communism became a dirty word due to McCarthyism, and now, the word is replaced by Terrorist. The usual nationalist types in America like to display their patriotism against these groups by using slogans like "God Bless America" and the like.
  4. Oct 5, 2005 #3
    so, if (when) truth prevails and all those "dirty" words are conquered by "America", and there are no more "dirty" words to conquer, what use is the word "America"?

    Perhaps the usual nationalist types in America like to display their patriotism so much, they hope that there is always a "dirty" word for "America" to conquer.
  5. Oct 5, 2005 #4


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    Actually, I think a very good example of what you seem to be talking about is the word "romantic." The word "spartan" is another good example.
  6. Oct 5, 2005 #5
    in what context do you use the words "romantic" and "spartan" relating to the thread?

    The opposite of "dirty" words?
  7. Oct 5, 2005 #6


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    You asked about words that get preserved because of their attachment to national identities. The desire of Europeans nations to associate themselves with Sparta and Rome, symbols of power, was a big contributing factor to keeping these words alive, words that otherwise would never have found their way into the English language.
  8. Oct 5, 2005 #7

    Now, what about words that get preserved because individuals, attached to their own national identities, not consciously preserve those words and those words supposedly have nothing to do with their own national identity?

    How often on the news do you hear the word Al Qaida from an American?

    That which you knowingly or not knowingly make a habit of thinking about becomes a part of you.
  9. Oct 5, 2005 #8
  10. Oct 5, 2005 #9
    like sauerkraut?
  11. Oct 5, 2005 #10

    But that stuff is needed (but not by me) :yuck:

    I'm talking about words not needed, and the things those words represent not being needed.

    It's time to run everything through a great big filter, get rid of all the crap, toss the filter/crap, and carry on.
  12. Oct 5, 2005 #11

  13. Oct 5, 2005 #12
    I'll file that under :yuck:
  14. Oct 5, 2005 #13
    Like newspeak? :tongue:
  15. Oct 5, 2005 #14
    just looked that up... and yeah.. sort of like that,

    except to ENCOURAGE deep thought, and get rid of things like "Twinkies" and "Big-Mac Combos" and "debates"
  16. Oct 6, 2005 #15


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    Changing the names of those things isn't going to accomplish anything. You could always try traditionalist societies, though, if you really dislike manufacted foods. Become Amish or Mennonite or even fundamentalist Mormon and you won't bothered so much by these things.

    Anyway, some words I think we actually could effectively get rid of, either because they have no empirical referent or because they are overly ambiguous, are:

    Race, alien, ethnicity, religion, faith, love, history, etc.

    One thing to mention, though, is that this isn't always the case. Some languages do primarily use more precise terms, like the many different brands of love in Greek that I believe better captures the intentions of the speaker than the single word used in English. One thing about English, though, is that it makes heavy use of modifying words. For instance, we'll speak of "brotherly love" or "fraternity" rather than "philos" and "romantic love," "erotic love," etc. rather than "eros." Fusional languages like this can be useful, especially literarily, in that they easily lend themselves to the use of metaphor and imagery - the devices can be far richer due to the double and triple entendres implicit in ambiguous root words without their usual modifiers. The problem we encounter in most of the English-speaking world is that metaphor can become confused with reality. Also, rather than appreciating the rich pregnancy of terms that can mean many things depending on context, people simplify down to a common definition for all possible senses of a given word, resulting in a good deal of misunderstanding, especially when engaged in "debate."

    We could always switch to using Loglan, or even a natural language like Armenian or Cherokee that is far less ambiguous, but again, I think we would lose something literarily if we did so. English can be difficult to use to its full potential, but when it is, the results can be quite astonishing.
  17. Oct 6, 2005 #16


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    Another thing worth noting is that words that encourage deep thought abound in the English language, perhaps more than in any other language, simply because of the vast amount of borrowing from other languages that English-speaking authors have engaged in since the Norman invasion of England so many centuries back. These thought-encouraging words are just not common in colloquial speech, somewhat akin to the distinction between vulgar Latin and the literary Latin that borrowed so heavily from Greek.
  18. Oct 6, 2005 #17


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    Sorry to destroy your thread jimmie, but it just occured to me that this issue with ambiguous wording very recently became an issue in the ratification process for the new Iraqi constitution. The English word "voter" was translated into an Arabic word that could either mean "he who shows up to vote" or "he who is registered to vote." The Shiite majority initially interpreted two instances of the word differently, so that the constitution only needed to be ratified by a percentage of those who show up to vote, whereas it needed to be rejected by a percentage of all registered voters, whether or not they actually showed up at the polls. After receiving a lot of flack, they changed this obvious attempt to make it nearly impossible to not ratify, but you can see where the ambiguity of language, while lending richness to a literary tradition, can be detrimental in the sphere of public affairs. Perhaps we could create a new language of politics, manufacturing news words and borrowing existing words from other languages, that could improve the quality of our communication in this arena.
  19. Oct 6, 2005 #18
    I think: the character of the people, as in going Dutch.
  20. Oct 6, 2005 #19
    Does that go for "hedonistic" as well?
  21. Oct 6, 2005 #20
    Or "Viking". Give it enough time and a word relating to terrorism becomes a reason for pride.
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