"Unethical" is wrong!

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by garbonzo, Nov 16, 2013.

  1. garbonzo Registered Senior Member

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    This guy is saying it is wrong for me to use the word unethical or to use the word "ethical" to mean "ethically correct":

    Is he right? I showed him Google's definition of the word "ethical" and he said it was wrong and he is using etymology so he is correct. >.>
     
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  3. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    Your friend is a nitpicker. Word definitions can be described or prescibed. Most dictionary people have long since opted for description, not prescription.
     
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  5. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    I can't imagine how small and cheap this fellow's dictionary must be, to have such a limited list of definitions. Dictionary.com (which is free!) lists, as the second definition of "ethical":

    2. being in accordance with the rules or standards for right conduct or practice, especially the standards of a profession: It was not considered ethical for physicians to advertise.​

    Your friend is simply wrong.

    And, of course, the problem with having a fetish for long-winded writing is that it provides more opportunity for typographical errors, such as "condemable."

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  7. KitemanSA Registered Senior Member

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    Which seems to be one reason that people can't think well or communicate well anymore. Folks don't know what they are thinking, the thought units are a jumble.
     
  8. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    That's true. I have no idea what your statement has to do with mine.
     
  9. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    I don't have that problem. Do you?

    The Nazis were famous for their prescriptive dictionaries. It was essentially illegal to import a foreign word; no editor or publisher would let it pass for fear of punishment. Since German is a highly synthetic language that easily builds compound words, this worked for them. The down side is that they don't use words that are virtually international in Europe: they say Kraftwagen (power wagon) instead of "automobile" (self-moving) and Fernsprecher (distant speaker) instead of "telephone" (distant speaker).

    It stands to reason that you'll have a more expressive, adaptable language if you allow your entire population to coin words, instead of a panel of "experts." Sure, we end up with words like "twerk," but we also get "fuel-efficient" and "labor-intensive."
     
  10. garbonzo Registered Senior Member

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    790
    Alright. He is saying that I took his words out of context:

    THIS is the context and what we are arguing about:

    He said the following:

    I mistook what he was saying as, "this is an actual good position to take[...]". When he meant was, "this is an actual position to do with ethics to take[...]".

    The crux of our argument is that now I told him that you can take it both ways, and he told me, no, there is only one meaning that word can take on within the above context.

    Now I just want to ask you guys, do you believe there is only one way to take this, or 2 different ways (or more)?

    Thanks a bunch.
     

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