Words


I recently attended a conference at which some of the premiere philologist present their work, discuss ideas and network within the close-knit group of intellectuals what was described by Matthew Restall as an “incestuous community” of academics. This is a far cry from my educational background and some of the discussion flew over my head, but with my recent interest in social media and communication, it was exciting to begin to understand and appreciate communication at the roots level. As far as my take-aways are concerned, the conference discussed the influence of language on our understanding (or misunderstanding) of history.

I want to discuss a few things presented to me leading to the purpose of this post.

Language and Perception

‘Indian landsale crisis…’

In the early Wompanoag language, the word for land possession included an element of the self, by adding an “mmm” sound as a suffix. In this culture, saying “my land” meant that the land was indiscernible from the person. Truth for the Wompanoags was that the land and oneself were the same, part of each other physically, emotionally or otherwise. As time progressed and the land was becoming colonized by the Englishmen, the idea of land trade was introduced. The Wompanoag word describing “my land” slowly lost the “mmm” suffix, indicating an evolution of culture brought about by an alien concept. A change in the idea of what was true.

The Truth

‘Print provides an intimate connection between the reader and truth.’

Historically, printing put the power of truth in the hands of few. Those who were exposed to a printable language, had the education to print and had the influence to share the print were the purveyors of the truth. In the case of the colonists the introduction to a land of many languages, a “cacophonous linguistic environment”, there was a serious barrier in forming relationships with the locals (Indians). The colonists, being the good Samaritans that they were, taught the Indians how to speak English. And what better way to teach English than to teach them what is surely the truth, from the most widely read text ever, the word of God, the Bible. After learning the language, the culture and being ‘civilized’, the Indians soon got an ample dose of hypocrisy from the Englishmen. ‘Indian Giving’ I believe is the term that evolved from this era.

Soon the Indians moved to the hills and eventually to reservations (how nice of the colonists to give them some land!), and America as we know it is born. Colonies became more interconnected. Culture became more uniform.

Fast forward to present day. English is by far the most widely spoken language. We are now capable of speaking with anyone in the world instantly. There are more words invented every day. There are wiki- and urban dictionaries with new words invented daily. Now, we can all be purveyors of truth.

Losing Uniquity

‘As society becomes more interconnected, the linguistic experience becomes more uniform.’

It can be argued that progression to and through globalization causes a detrimental loss of culture. Having a global community in which a single language is shared and exposure to ‘foreign’ lifestyles, leads to a sort of homogeneity. It is a similarity that wouldn’t necessarily exist without the extreme interconnectedness. This could be paralleled with a loss of biodiversity, which if you are versed in ecological study, you would know that a monoculture is bad for the sustainability of a species. My favorite TV show emulates what people look like and language may sound like in a global culture with a severe case of homogeneity.

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Click here to watch the full episode.

Simultaneously, the superinterconnectedness we are experiencing vastly expands our knowledge base and exposes us to more people and ideas than ever before. It enriches lives with the art, science and philosophy of billions of individuals. It could be argued that new culture is born from the communication web we’ve developed.

I like to think of myself as a progressive thinker, so based on the idea that new things are formed from our awesome habit of communication, I hereby propose a new word on which we can build new cultures.

Expansion of the Truth

I, William Robinson Caruso, hereby ask the viewers and players to accept my addition to the language of the of the spoken world.

Bourgeoirée (noun) [boor-zhwah -rey]

1. An exclusive evening party or social gathering within members of a certain social class or clique, esp. middle to upper class.

The word is a combination of two existing words.

Bourgeois (noun, adjective) [boor-zhwah]

-noun

1. A member of the middle class.
2. A person whose political, economic, and social opinions are believed to be determined mainly by concern for property values and conventional respectability.

-adjective

1. Belonging to, characteristic of, or consisting of the middle class.
2. Conventional; middle-class.
3. Dominated or characterized by materialistic pursuits or concerns.

Soirée (noun) [swah-rey]

1. An evening party or social gathering, esp. one held for a particular purpose: a musical soiree.

Exercising the Right to Truth

I hereby syndicate my perception of truth to the globe through the supercommunication net thus simultaneously destroying and birthing elements of culture by mashing together two words foreign to my native tongue


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  1. #1 by Mackeran on 08/11/2009 - 12:46 pm

    Very interesting and amusing subject. I read with great pleasure.

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