Throughout human history, spoken and written languages have ceased to exist, and those that remain are not the same as its origins. If you don’t believe me, go search some literature in your native language that’s… oh, say one-hundred fifty years old, or more – see how easy it is to read, or understand what was written then.
In my youth, we’d use the word “square” to describe a person as being dull, unadventurous, boring, etc. The same word in my parents generation meant that a person was a really “cool” person; this person was straight, honest, someone you liked being around because he/she was “even on all (four) sides”.
Until the 1970’s, a janitor was the person that cleaned office buildings, factories, schools, most any building that was used for more than a few people. In the 70’s, the title “janitor” was changed to “environmental engineer“: the personnel office became, “human resources”; doctors and nurses became, “health care providers“, when they should be called, “legalized drug enablers”.
Oh, shades of George Orwell‘s novel, “1984”. We’ve entered an age, actually, long ago, where speaking directly is a virtual sin – and for some, it is a sin! Heaven forbid we speak the truth and speak it directly. “You should never speak directly to anyone, you may hurt someones feelings!” Is there any wonder that we don’t understand each other?
Isn’t it bad enough that we have gender language? Five minutes to a man is something you measure on a clock – to a woman, five minutes is, “when I’m finished…” I guess that it’s not sufficient to have only gender language, we have to have euphemisms also. Throughout out history, we’ve had problems with understanding each other, whether we share the same language or not, but now, it’s difficult to understand each other using the same language, and even more difficult to translate one language into another. We’ve firmly hooked ourselves into the “Newspeak” from the George Orwell novel, “1984”.
With respect to euphemisms, and the societal changes we experience almost daily; one of the biggest things I’m fed up with is how so many people from so many varied backgrounds and cultures have warned us what the future will be like, all because they can see trends, or as I’ve said before, we look for consistencies which tell us where society is likely to go – but people choose to ignore these warnings; and if one calls a book a novel, it’s for entertainment purposes only. COME ON!!! If it’s futuristic (and not talking about a deity) it has to be called a novel!
Back to our euphemisms, or “newspeak”… here is another video from George Carlin and his take on euphemisms. His “language” in this video is very mild (for him), but as usual, he drives his point home exceedingly well.
Have a wonderful week everyone… and speak plainly! 🙂
- More Word Play: Euphemisms (writingwithbothsidesofmybrain.wordpress.com)
- 15 Euphemisms for a Basic Body Function (julieglover.com)
- The Euphemisms Of War (andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com)
- Great Moments in CNN Euphemisms (talkingpointsmemo.com)