Based on a true story.


10 thoughts on “Archaic

  1. In George Orwell’s 1984, NewSpeak involved reducing the word supply in order to limit thought. English has more words than any other language, probably because it has borrowed so heavily from other languages. Some people say vocabulary is a sign of intelligence. The media has a language homogenizing effect, as the same word is used for ever wider variations on thought. Words like “democracy,” for instance, do more to confuse than convey meaning, and no one really knows what it means.

    I’m all for wider use of “archaic” words and for defining clearly those we still use.

    • I’m a fan of Orwell, but luckily for us, language doesn’t actually limit or control our thoughts. Borrowing is also a pretty normal phenomena across languages. If you want more on the relationship between thought and language, I highly recommend John McWhorter’s The Language Hoax. Sorry, as a linguist myself, I couldn’t resist the urge to jump in 🙂

      • I’ll check out McWhorter’s book. Meanwhile, I have more ideas on language, such as symbolic language, the difference between expressive and receptive language, and the trivialization of words by overuse, to name a few. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Not kidding, I had that SAME conversation with my niece, almost verbatim, a few months ago when I used the word “archaic.” I like to think that I taught her a new word, but I think she just found another reason to think I’m odd.

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