Language again.

February 2024 Forums General discussion Language again.

Viewing 5 posts - 31 through 35 (of 35 total)
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  • #245218
    Thomas_More
    Participant

    But when you use words like idealism, materialism and socialism you are not getting a point across to most people. Not without circuitous philosophical and historical explanations, by which time they’ve already been inwardly yawning for a while.

    So following your logic, shouldn’t you abandon these terms: or constantly fight an uphill battle to bring them back to their original meanings while people yawn every time they see you coming?

    And doesn’t that contradict your “language changes, so get over it” exhortation?

    #245222
    Bijou Drains
    Participant

    “ But when you use words like idealism, materialism and socialism you are not getting a point across to most people. Not without circuitous philosophical and historical explanations, by which time they’ve already been inwardly yawning for a while”

    Which is why I choose the language I use carefully and I try to select the language use to fit the person I’m talking to.

    When I speak to a labourist I would describe myself as a libertarian socialist, to distinguish me from their concept of socialism. I might use the term socialist rather than using the term communist when I speak to a Stalinist.

    If I am discussing materialism with a professor of philosophy my use of the term will be different to the way I use the term with an 18 year old.

    To me one of the joys of the Socialist Standard is that over the years, it has always been readable whilst still being technically accurate.

    Try reading any of the the “Theoretical Journals” of any of the the leftist or Trotskyist parties and you’ll find they’re all completely impenetrable due to their unreconstructed and inaccessible use of quasi Marxist word salad.

    Considering our history we might be expected to be follow that trend, however whilst our political principles are unchanging, the way we express it might change. For example early copies of the Standard talk about “the masters” or the “master class”, using those terms today would be incomprehensible to most readers today.

    But it’s not just politics, a few years ago I was working with a young person and I said I liked R and B, apparently to the young generation this doesn’t mean Leadbelly, John Lee Hooker or Howlin’ Wolf, but means a load of manufactured horse shit filled with auto tune music, who knew?

    A colleague who was working in America stated during a meeting that he was “never more happy than when I have a fag in my mouth”, which was a bit of a conversation stopper.

    Despite what TM says, the widespread use of print and even more the internet actually slows language change.

    Chaucer to Shakespeare roughly 200 years, the difference is massive. Shakespeare to Jane Austen again roughly 200 years, big difference but not as big as Chaucer to Shakespeare. 300 years from Austen to present day, Austen’s work is a little difficult to the modern reader but not unintelligible.

    Language change is actually slowing down. The nature of capitalism means the homogenation of language, the death of dialect and variation, the sterile conformity of language, rather than the development of new ways of expressing and understanding the world we live in.

    Language has two forms, internal and external. If I can’t tell you what I mean, it stands to reason that I can’t tell myself what I mean. Language change and usage is an attempt to further develop our internal and external understanding of the world we live in.

    We should rejoice that despite the way that society attempts to restrict language to the benefit of class society, new language forms break down the barriers to expression and connection

    #245228
    pgb
    Participant

    “Try reading any of the the “Theoretical Journals” of any of the the leftist or Trotskyist parties and you’ll find they’re all completely impenetrable due to their unreconstructed and inaccessible use of quasi Marxist word salad.”
    ————————————————————————————————————

    BD, would you include New Left Review in this?

    #245229
    Bijou Drains
    Participant

    “Try reading any of the the “Theoretical Journals” of any of the the leftist or Trotskyist parties and you’ll find they’re all completely impenetrable due to their unreconstructed and inaccessible use of quasi Marxist word salad.”
    ————————————————————————————————————

    BD, would you include New Left Review in this?
    ____________________________________

    Strangely enough I just read the article below about language and culture:

    https://newleftreview.org/sidecar/posts/decapitalizing-culture

    I think generally the NLR is not nearly as bad as some of the one produced by political parties, although to be fair I was referring to the journals of the leftist parties and the NLR is not tied to any particular party, as far as I know.

    #245268
    Almamater
    Participant

    There is a conception or language issue that is taking place right now, and it is to establish the difference between President and Dictator ( or dictatorship ) but according to the old roman law, dictatorship was a government and a dictator was a governor, therefore, there was not difference between a president and a governor, and the concept of dictatorship did not have the negative ideas that we have in our modern society.

    They are saying that a president is different because he/she has been elected by votes, but in the USA several presidents have been elected without a popular vote, and they became presidents or governors, therefore, he can be called a dictator because he has been placed in power by a minority

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