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language Archives - David Werdiger

Same-sex marriage: right or social change?

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Disclaimer: some of these arguments regarding same-sex marriage are specific to Australia. The same-sex marriage debate continues to hot up in Australia as the Liberal party stumbles around, torn from within and without. Plebecite? Postal vote? Parliamentary conscience vote? But all of this is a side-show to the core debate. As a quick aside, it’s worth noting that anyone who uses the term ‘marriage equality’, rather than the neutral ‘same-sex marriage’, has made up their mind….

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The Language of Mistrust

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Language constantly evolves, and we coin new words and phrases to fit the zeitgeist – the dominant set of ideals and beliefs at any time. While usually language and pop culture are reflections of this zeitgeist, features of said culture can be hard to identify because we are deep inside of it. However, by studying the new words that have been coined, we can get a greater insight into the trends around us. I’ve noticed the increased use…

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Language and Marketing

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I’ve written previously about how language shapes the way we think because it frames the way ideas are expressed. This goes a lot further than “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” – what I’m talking about is social marketing – marketing campaigns to change public awareness and therefore behaviour on particular issues. These are typically used by governments to, for example, reduce drunk driving. What I’ve noticed recently is the use of language…

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From Nouns to Verbs

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Back in the days when boys were boys and girls were girls, nouns were nouns and verbs were verbs (aside from the few exceptions that were both), and they would be brought together in time-honoured fashion through well constructed sentences. But in these days of Internet-speak, contractions and weird re-appropriation of numbers and symbols abound, and a word can mean just about anything. One of the early examples of a proper noun becoming a verb was Hoover,…

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