Wednesday, September 14, 2011

languages change

In line with my recent "don't overcorrect" post: I've been led to this amusing article on "20 Obsolete English Words that Should Make a Comeback." The article begins:

During my undergraduate studies as a Linguistics major, one of the things that struck me most is the amazing fluidity of language. New words are created; older words go out of style. Words can change meaning over time, vowel sounds shift, consonants are lost or added and one word becomes another. Living languages refuse to be static.

In his comment to my other post, Charles observes that "languages are as they are practiced"-- that's his riff off my repeated refrain about religion. I agree, and I think that language is a good metaphor for a nondualistic truth: in language, we see the tension between the static and the dynamic, the push-pull between the urge to preserve a "proper" form of the language and a language's natural (because human) tendency to change with the times. Both forces are necessary for there to be a living language: just as a tree needs both anchoring roots and yearning leaves, a language needs conservative defenders and space for novelty.

While you chew on the above insights, please don't kench at this jargogle of a post.

(Many thanks to the MGRE Twitter feed for linking to this article.)


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