Sunday, November 29, 2015

Linguistic Linguine

Over the last couple of decades or so, I've been very interested in the use of words and the words we use to communicate.  I'm finding that we (me included) are often lazy in our use of the English language. 

This part of my journey has come from what's turned into what I like to call a serious study of the Bible.  It's going back to the original written language and finding out what the word, pre English translation, means.  The Greek language is much more specific than English and often brings a deeper meaning to God's Word.

A benefit of working in a bookstore is that I have fellow employees who are wordsmiths of various degrees and it's fun to use their knowledge as a thesaurus or a linguistic testing board.  I also have some friends who are accomplished writers and listening to them is a joy to my ears and inquiring mind.

This leads me to today and what I like to call the Chicken Little use of our language.  We throw out terms in a very loose and often inaccurate way.  Let me begin with the American  Christian misuse of the word "persecution."  I often hear Christians talk about being persecuted, when in reality we mean mistreated, biased against, harassed and the like.  Real persecution is what Christian are facing in the Middle East and around the world - a very real and sadly contemporary "campaign to exterminate, drive away, or subjugate" Christians based on their faith. I do believe that we will see true persecution of American Christians at some point in time.

We live a linguistic linguine world politically also. In an effort to make use of our 140 characters, to coin the perfect bumper sticker or to fully use our 15 seconds of a sound bite we have become inattentive to the terms we use.

Racist

From the political realm, this word is probably the one used with the loosest interpretive frequency. First of all there is a dual meaning of the term, one is a corporate flexing of power of one group over another and the second being aimed at individuals.

I can sympathize with the viewpoint of systematic racism, but unfortunately I have no power to eliminate this evil. When someone calls another a racist, what they really mean is bigot, prejudiced, intolerant, xenophobic and other qualifiers. But it's easier and more intimidating to be called a racist, so we have free flowing and free throwing of the word.

If one were to look back at the real racism of the past it's easy to see how the Chicken Little use of the word today diminishes its true evil and lessons the ramifications of this turpitude in the future.

2 comments:

gerry said...
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yoSAMite said...

Removed the comment because the link was not working.