Is it wise to redefine words that are already in use, to accommodate new notions?
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03-04-2014, 04:01 AM
Is it wise to redefine words that are already in use, to accommodate new notions?
Hello everyone.

Making up words is easy, and it is free. Glasterizer, jorndes, sincorate... there still are many combinations of sounds that few people, if any, use in reference to anything.

As I've said elsewhere, I often consider the notion of something occupying a specific volume at a specific distance in a specific direction from a specific reference point, and I call that notion "to exist".

However, I realise that the term is already in use by other people, and very often in relation to notions that are not the one I just described, for example when someone suggests that Santa Claus exists in our minds.

So I sometimes wonder whether I should simply make up a new term to summarise the notion (I don't know... to besist, or something like that), in order to avoid engaging in endless discussions about the meanings of words. What do you think is most adequate?

Thanks. Have a good day.
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03-04-2014, 04:33 AM
RE: Is it wise to redefine words that are already in use, to accommodate new notions?
I think we should redefine "no" to mean "yes".



But only if she struggles!
Evil_monster

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03-04-2014, 05:08 AM
RE: Is it wise to redefine words that are already in use, to accommodate new notions?
(03-04-2014 04:33 AM)DLJ Wrote:  I think we should redefine "no" to mean "yes".
I sometimes wonder if that hasn't happened already!
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03-04-2014, 05:16 AM
RE: Is it wise to redefine words that are already in use, to accommodate new notions?
(03-04-2014 05:08 AM)living thing Wrote:  
(03-04-2014 04:33 AM)DLJ Wrote:  I think we should redefine "no" to mean "yes".
I sometimes wonder if that hasn't happened already!

Yes.

Big Grin

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03-04-2014, 05:20 AM
RE: Is it wise to redefine words that are already in use, to accommodate new notions?
(03-04-2014 05:16 AM)DLJ Wrote:  
(03-04-2014 05:08 AM)living thing Wrote:  I sometimes wonder if that hasn't happened already!

Yes.

Big Grin
Really? Do you think it hasn't?
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03-04-2014, 05:32 AM
RE: Is it wise to redefine words that are already in use, to accommodate new notions?
Speaking in simple English:

Anyone can make up a word; babies do it all the time. But how to understand them? I can say, &$k) $6 $W8*#ll, and understand it fully, but I am alone in my understanding. Personally I think it's a bit "cracked."

Heidegger refined the word existence by pulling "dasein" out of his err, um, ass. Pun intended. But then, dasein as a word resides in esoteric spaces.

My idea here is that making up words or changing or adding meaning to an existing word requires a certain amount of consensus for effective communication.

Now, I have come to notice that the word bitch has transcended it's bounds to include male in our present culture, American culture at least. But is legitimacy for the word achieved. I don't think so, but that is just my opinion as apparently the addition to the meaning of the word bitch has achieved a token of acknowledgement for it's new, inclusive use.

"If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story." Orson Welles
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03-04-2014, 05:32 AM
RE: Is it wise to redefine words that are already in use, to accommodate new notions?
(03-04-2014 05:20 AM)living thing Wrote:  
(03-04-2014 05:16 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Yes.

Big Grin
Really? Do you think it hasn't?

That depends on whether yes means no, does it not?

Point is, language, like everything else, evolves.

The scientific community has no problem with creating new words... found a new particle? Let's think of a new word ending with -on.

Marketeers and advertisers do it all the time, often with portmanteau or amalgamisationalisms.
(see, I can do it too).

Equivocation is not a crime but is something to be wary of in a debate.

I was asked today whether 'sandbox' and 'container' were 'best practice' words.

I could only reply with "not yet".

Consider

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03-04-2014, 05:40 AM
RE: Is it wise to redefine words that are already in use, to accommodate new notions?
"Ceci n'est pas une pipe"
Magritte

"If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story." Orson Welles
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03-04-2014, 07:33 AM
RE: Is it wise to redefine words that are already in use, to accommodate new notions?
Hello Dee, this English is certainly more simple than the previous one. Thanks :-)

(03-04-2014 05:32 AM)Dee Wrote:  I can say, &$k) $6 $W8*#ll, ...
I know you can.

(03-04-2014 05:32 AM)Dee Wrote:  ..., and understand it fully, ...
What does it mean?

(03-04-2014 05:32 AM)Dee Wrote:  ..., but I am alone in my understanding.
Not if you provide a glossary of terms in a language that other parties in your conversation may understand.

(03-04-2014 05:32 AM)Dee Wrote:  Personally I think it's a bit "cracked."
I'm not really sure what you mean by "cracked".

(03-04-2014 05:32 AM)Dee Wrote:  Heidegger refined the word existence by pulling "dasein" out of his err, um, ass. Pun intended. But then, dasein as a word resides in esoteric spaces.
If by esoteric spaces you mean the abstract context provided by the propagation of changes in the electrochemical potential across the outer membranes of specialised cells in our brains, then I think I understand what you mean. Words are not material structures; they are specific patterns of change.

(03-04-2014 05:32 AM)Dee Wrote:  My idea here is that making up words or changing or adding meaning to an existing word requires a certain amount of consensus for effective communication.
I think I view it similarly. In my opinion, words are useful only as vehicles for the propagation of ideas between minds occurring in different brains; if an idea cannot propagate from one mind to another, the arrangement of words used to describe it becomes useless, regardless of how pretty those words may look or sound.

(03-04-2014 05:32 AM)Dee Wrote:  Now, I have come to notice that the word bitch has transcended it's bounds to include male in our present culture, American culture at least. But is legitimacy for the word achieved. I don't think so, but that is just my opinion as apparently the addition to the meaning of the word bitch has achieved a token of acknowledgement for it's new, inclusive use.
Yeah, its funny how a male human can be called a female dog. But as long as the listener understands what the speaker is thinking, who can objectively say that the use of the word is wrong?

Thanks for your interesting view, and please enjoy your day!
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03-04-2014, 07:38 AM
RE: Is it wise to redefine words that are already in use, to accommodate new notions?
(03-04-2014 05:32 AM)DLJ Wrote:  That depends on whether yes means no, does it not?
It certainly does yes, using the word in an affirmative sense. At least in my opinion.

(03-04-2014 05:32 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Point is, language, like everything else, evolves.
Hmmm... does everything else evolve? I don't know, but I am inclined to agree with your point. Languages do change over time.

(03-04-2014 05:32 AM)DLJ Wrote:  The scientific community has no problem with creating new words... found a new particle? Let's think of a new word ending with -on.
I am not sure that is always the case.

For centuries, many people believed reality to be built upon structures that were not divisible into smaller parts. Some Greeks referred to those structures as "atomos", meaning "not cuttable". When Lavoisier and others discovered substances that could not be broken down by means we today call "chemical", Dalton was quick to jump to the conclusion that the elemental units of those substances were indeed atomic (i.e., indivisible). It took about a century for Thomson to realise that it wasn't the case; so-called atoms are divisible into smaller structures. Did the scientific community make up a word to accommodate the new notion? For example, chemicon. That ends in -on.

Not quite. They instead chose to redefine the word "atom" to something along the lines of "a basic unit of matter that cannot be decomposed by chemical means", although it is nowadays often used as a synonym for "very small". But not all areas of science have adapted the word to the new notion. In computer science, for example, an atomic operation is still one that is performed in one single step, not divisible into simpler transformations. This mix of incompatible definitions makes it difficult to extract clear notions from the words other people use. To be honest, I don't like calling those structures "atoms"; I prefer something like "chemical units".

Is reality atomic in its nature? Is there a level of structure below which there isn't any discernible substructure? I don't know, but if there were, we wouldn't have a word for those things, because we've reused the word "atom" to refer to something else.

(03-04-2014 05:32 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Marketeers and advertisers do it all the time, often with portmanteau or amalgamisationalisms.
(see, I can do it too).
They often do. But they sometimes resort to unilaterally changing the meaning of words already in use, like "freedom", or "democracy".

(03-04-2014 05:32 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Equivocation is not a crime but is something to be wary of in a debate.
It seems so from my perspective too.

(03-04-2014 05:32 AM)DLJ Wrote:  I was asked today whether 'sandbox' and 'container' were 'best practice' words.

I could only reply with "not yet".
I think that is a sensible reply.

Thanks for the chat.
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