why do words fall out of disfavor

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by birch, Feb 24, 2016.

  1. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    Wicked!
     
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  3. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    I much prefer using the historical meaning of words.
    eg: Hearing people use decimate when they do not mean decrease by 1/10 grates on my ears.
     
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  5. Oystein Registered Senior Member

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    Yeah, but that's the historical meaning (origins) of the word. Today's definition of decimate is: kill, destroy, or remove a large percentage or part of
     
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  7. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    yeh
    I know
    Which doesn't mean that i gotta like it.
     
  8. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    That should be, "kill, destroy or remove a massive percentage or part of."
     
  9. Kristoffer Giant Hyrax Valued Senior Member

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    Followed by a text on your screen saying "mega kill" and you and your party chat yelling "did you see that awesometacular kill-feed"?

    Edit: or maybe "Spectakillar"?
     
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    It should at least mean "to destroy so much of something that only one-tenth of it is left."

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  11. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    While teenagers usually exaggerate *new* discoveries, adults tend to *soften* honest language.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuEQixrBKCc

    sidenote: it seems that autistic persons who have trouble with person to person communication, do much better when using a computer to augment their ability to communicate.
    Test show that some autism is actually a positive evolutionary phenomenon for certain parts of the brain. Unfortunately their inability to *socialize* brings with it the stigma of "idiot savant", and instead of exploring and using the *savant* part of that brain, we institutionalize them as social misfits.

    A famous case is the one of an autistic girl who spent decades in a mental institution for the severely mentally handicapped, who gained access to a computer and is now *lecturing* all over the world by means of her computer. Turns out, she has a very high IQ, but a neural defect prevents her from verbally communicating her thoughts.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2016
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  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Isn't this the girl to whom is attributed the comment, "They put me in a class with the deaf kids for three years, because they thought I was deaf. And these are the people who call ME 'slow'?"
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
  13. Oystein Registered Senior Member

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    What happened to the word "now"? Instead we have "at this point in time".
    What happened to the word "daily"? Instead we have "on a day to day basis".
     
  14. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    These are expressions that people use to stress a point. They're not used in casual conversation.
     
  15. Oystein Registered Senior Member

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    No it isn't. It's the tendency for people to use more words than necessary, which they think makes what they say sound more impressive or more technical. It doesn't convey any more information.
     
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  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    That's certainly not a universal tendency in English. Both Americans and Brits, in casual speech, generally prefer to craft sentences without a lot of extra syllables. That phonetic efficiency is one of the strengths of English. We can say more with fewer syllables, which works two ways. One way is to simply make our sentences more concise, so that our conversations are more compact, leaving us more time to do something besides talking. The other way is to speak more slowly, making it easier to be understood better by foreigners, in noisy situations, etc.

    The French have the same advantage, unlike many European languages that use as many as fifteen syllables to our ten--compare Italian or Finnish, for example.

    But among major languages, Chinese gets the prize. On the average, what we say in ten syllables, they can say in seven.
    Sure, many people do this, but only in certain circumstances. Not when they're ordering a hamburger, or telling a plumber why he needs to come and fix the toilet right away.
     
  17. Oystein Registered Senior Member

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    Bullshit!

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    Don't know if the Brits do this but most Americans put the word "like" and "you know" and "basically" and "totally" and "personally" and other useless/superfluous words in every sentence, and many times more than once.
     
  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Yes, "like" and "ya know" are common in colloquial speech. They are helpful signals to the listener, letting him know that the speaker is trying to say something that he hasn't completely thought out yet, and therefore is probably not going to be very useful, interesting or accurate.

    "Basically" and those other adverbs are hallmarks of teenage jargon--an attempt to appear erudite, which of course fails completely. We get this crap beaten out of us in college and it's unusual to hear it from anyone over 30.

    And of course all of them can also be signs of nervousness--again, especially in younger people.

    There are clubs in every town with names such as "Toastmasters," whose meetings are specifically designed to help the attendees speak better. They take turns giving short speeches, which are critiqued by the other members. One of their most common techniques is to give everyone a buzzer. Whenever a speaker utters a noise word, from plain old "uh" to faux-intellectual "basically," the buzzers go off. Amazingly, these bad habits can be conquered in just a few weeks.
     
  19. Oystein Registered Senior Member

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    "Grim Reaper: Shut up, you American. You Americans, all you do is talk, and talk, and say "let me tell you something" and "I just wanna say." Well, you're dead now, so shut up." - Monty Python
     

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