Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Meaninglessness of Words Today

Today, there are more ways than ever to communicate with each other, and yet we seem to understand one another less with each new form of communication. It's no wonder; people do not say what they mean and they do not mean what they say. Words themselves have become almost meaningless as we skew them into forms and tenors for which they were never intended. It's no wonder that trust is such a rare commodity; we cannot even communicate with each other on a trustworthy level.

  • In particular, the over use expletives (and one wonders when they are ever appropriate) has saturated our conversations and, upon careful examination, usually in ways which do not fit. For example, while a girl I know was watching a video clip of an amazing basketball shot, she exclaimed, "Dang!" Of course, I promptly questioned her as to why she should want to damn a young man or his athletic ability like that, because that is exactly what was uttered. As I'm sure you know, this was not her intent; nevertheless, that is what was spoken. Minced oaths are common today, and most haven't a clue as to the roots, origins, or true meaning of the words they utter.
  • How many times have we heard the word "awesome" in reference to something that in no way evokes a sense of awe? Remember in the 70's how "bad" was really "good?" Adjectives such as "cool" and "hot" in reference to a person's attractiveness are unfortunately still floating around in conversations as well as many more explicit forms of inappropriately describing a person's desirability.
  • Then there's texting and instant messaging and chat....how many of have typed out "lol" when we didn't actually laugh out loud? I don't even want to imagine what the spelling of the next generation will look like!
  • How about the overuse and the overabundance of definitions of love? Or, the term "best friend" in reference to more than one person. I hate to inform my readers, but by definition there can only be one "best" friend. One may have many better friends, but only one best friend. When someone is awarded a "Best in Show" ribbon, I can assure you this is in reference to one and not multiple winners.
  • Then there are the words which have been made up, such as gfunk, props, frack, ragemeister, and the like which fill slang dictionaries and widen the gap between generations and classes.
My goal for the day: to choose my words carefully

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