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  #76  
Old November 20th, 2007, 09:53 AM
Mike_Rupp Mike_Rupp is offline
Mike Rupp
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Political correctness has also changed language. For example, the word sex is the correct word for describing male vs. female, but gender has replaced the word sex in the politically correct world.

http://www.indiana.edu/~lggender/sex-vs-gender.html
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  #77  
Old November 20th, 2007, 09:59 AM
JMH JMH is offline
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Plural is antennae.

I understand what you say about ignorance, but ignorance can be recitifed with research. If you come across a new word in context and you think you can infer the meaning, you could just start using it in the future, or research its etymology to make sure your useage is correct.

I think I'm referring more to societal laziness than individual laziness. As you pointed out, children are no longer taught penmanship and grammar except on the most rudimentary level.
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  #78  
Old November 20th, 2007, 10:06 AM
JMH JMH is offline
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Quote:
I believe that email and instant messaging are major influences in the modern writing style, or lack of writing style.

Definitely. The lower case thing drives me nuts.

Generally as a society we are accepting more coarse behavior and speech as normal. Most of my acquaintances now say "Huh?" when they don't hear something. Obscene language is common in casual conversation, even in front of strangers and older people.

If you ask me, it all started when we outlawed dueling.
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  #79  
Old November 20th, 2007, 10:53 AM
Bruno Bruno is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMH
I understand what you say about ignorance, but ignorance can be recitifed with research. If you come across a new word in context and you think you can infer the meaning, you could just start using it in the future, or research its etymology to make sure your useage is correct.

Agreed.

I suppose that in order for one to do that, he must first care enough to make it a priority. I do care, and i do just as you suggested, but i think many people don't.

I think many people don't care because they don't regard it as being important - who cares if i can't spell - that sort of attitude. In fact, it's not uncommon to hear, "oh, i don't bother to check my spelling on forums or emails, nobody cares".

This forum is different with respect to that, i think people here do care. Take for example Dan Chapman, Dan clearly makes an effort to step up his standards when he posts here - Dan knows that people here care.

I like that, i think we all benefit from that criticism.
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  #80  
Old November 20th, 2007, 12:38 PM
johnlee johnlee is online now
John Lee
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  #81  
Old November 20th, 2007, 12:42 PM
JMH JMH is offline
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Awesome.
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  #82  
Old November 20th, 2007, 01:46 PM
montanablur montanablur is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno
Agreed.

I suppose that in order for one to do that, he must first care enough to make it a priority. I do care, and i do just as you suggested, but i think many people don't.

I think many people don't care because they don't regard it as being important - who cares if i can't spell - that sort of attitude. In fact, it's not uncommon to hear, "oh, i don't bother to check my spelling on forums or emails, nobody cares".

This forum is different with respect to that, i think people here do care. Take for example Dan Chapman, Dan clearly makes an effort to step up his standards when he posts here - Dan knows that people here care.

I like that, i think we all benefit from that criticism.

If you really cared you would capitalize your "I's"....
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  #83  
Old November 20th, 2007, 01:59 PM
Bruno Bruno is offline
Bruno Tome
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Quote:
Originally Posted by montanablur
If you really cared you would capitalize your "I's"....

LOL

I don't capitalize my "I's" intentionally. Even though i know it is correct to do so, i think it's a little pompous.
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  #84  
Old November 20th, 2007, 02:14 PM
Brett Gottdener Brett Gottdener is offline
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Care

I believe that caring is so important to the future of our society. When we perform a task, do we work until it's "good enough" or do we set an example and precedent with our performance. Do we hold the door open till another hand grabs it, or do we go out of our way to become a temporary doorman (for lack of a better example)? Do we drive around the fallen tree, or take the time to remove it from the proper line of the trail? I believe we are all conscious of how items arrive from shipping...

There is a clear distinction between students these days. There are students who receive a paper (back from their teacher) and without a "thank you" or eye contact, search for their grade, and then pick up and go. There are far to few students setting a better example, examples involving common courtesy and respect... This is a minor point, but indicative of something much larger. I am disappointed in our youth's mannerisms, self-sufficiency, and aspirations of class.

I was engaged in a conversation today at lunch, when somebody brought up the topic of artists and their business behaviors. A claim was made that most artists are never timely, are always making excuses, and have difficulty delivering on promises that have been made. I made no claim in the matter, as being an artist myself, I have made it a goal from day one to represent the antithesis of these statements. This goal has served me well, and I hope hold fast as long as possible.

~In this regard, I see the failure of the masses as an opportunity for the individuals.

~~Fun fact, it was 75 yesterday, it's about 30 now and about to snow. Boulder, CO.

-Brett
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  #85  
Old November 20th, 2007, 02:32 PM
traveltoad traveltoad is online now
Aaron Shrier
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Great picture John.

When we were in Zimbabwe we watched Elephants swim across the Zambezi River. Until that time I didn't even know that elephants could swim.
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  #86  
Old November 20th, 2007, 02:42 PM
montanablur montanablur is offline
Sinuhe Xavier
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brett Gottdener
I was engaged in a conversation today at lunch, when somebody brought up the topic of artists and their business behaviors. A claim was made that most artists are never timely, are always making excuses, and have difficulty delivering on promises that have been made. I made no claim in the matter, as being an artist myself, I have made it a goal from day one to represent the antithesis of these statements. This goal has served me well, and I hope hold fast as long as possible.

~In this regard, I see the failure of the masses as an opportunity for the individuals.

-Brett

Being a photographer, I know all to well the stereotype that goes with being a creative type and I love your statement about the opportunity to capitalize on the failures of the masses.
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  #87  
Old November 20th, 2007, 04:12 PM
parantaeyang parantaeyang is offline
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  #88  
Old November 21st, 2007, 12:20 AM
greghirst greghirst is offline
Greg Hirst
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnlee
No, I'm not.

I don't doubt that the meaning of words can change with time. We don't speak the same way as people even 100 years ago. Remember, I'm the one who thinks it's a mistake to judge men like W.D.M. Bell by today's standards. Words, like morals or standards, can change with time.

On that we agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnlee
But there's a clear difference between my "decimate" example and your "gay" example.

When I refer to Rob's fondness for miniatures as "gay", am I literally accusing Rob of being a homosexual? When I refer to someone has "lame", am I literally saying he cannot walk? No, of course not. I'm not speaking literally.

Obviously I am referring strictly to your intended definition of "gay". As you know, the original definition of the word is "characterized by cheerfulness, lighthearted excitement, merry" with a second reference to "bright or lively, especially in color".

You used the word in what was originally a slang meaning and which is now an accepted standard.

The only difference between the "decimate" and "gay" examples used is that one word has changed over time by common extension of that word and the other by social acceptance of a slang term.

As much as I despise the obvious changes that happen to the English language due to "political correctness" or "Ebonics" I also understand that language has never existed in a vacuum. Unlike mathematics, what was once "correct" can change.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnlee
Using "decimate" to mean "devastate" is like referring to any polygon with many sides a "decagon", or referring to any old person as an "octogenarian". It's using a very specific word with a very specific meaning to refer to something else.

I am also familiar with the origin of the word "decimate" referring to the punishment of killing of every tenth soldier in a Roman legion. Like Jack, I believe that the word lost it's specificity centuries ago. It's accepted now to mean "a large part of" as being correct.

Another word of Roman origin which comes to mind is "cohort". It originally referred to one of the ten divisions of a Roman legion. This meant ~300 to 600 men. Over time it came to mean a group of soldiers. Later, simply a group of people.

If you agree that word usage and meanings can and will change over time, then I believe you must also accept that what is "correct" can and will change.

Last edited by greghirst : November 21st, 2007 at 12:44 AM.
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  #89  
Old November 21st, 2007, 12:31 AM
greghirst greghirst is offline
Greg Hirst
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMH

Generally as a society we are accepting more coarse behavior and speech as normal. Most of my acquaintances now say "Huh?" when they don't hear something. Obscene language is common in casual conversation, even in front of strangers and older people.

If you ask me, it all started when we outlawed dueling.

I agree.

Some of my employees cannot understand why they are being fired when they use foul language. They simply do not get it.

Last edited by greghirst : November 21st, 2007 at 12:45 AM.
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  #90  
Old November 21st, 2007, 12:13 PM
johnlee johnlee is online now
John Lee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greghirst
If you agree that word usage and meanings can and will change over time, then I believe you must also accept that what is "correct" can and will change.


I do.

But your dispositive test for the correctness of a word's use seems to be how commonly it's used in a particular context today. Sure, this is one test. But it's not the only test.

As I said previously, there are some words that can never be used correctly in some contexts, no matter how common such usage may become. "Decimate" is one of those words. Look at the prefix of "decimate". It's "deci". "Deci" means 1/10th. How can "decimate" ever come to mean "[killing] a large part of" as you claim? It can't, just as "octogenarian" can never come to mean "old", or "decagon" can never come to mean any polygon with multiple sides, or "their" can never properly be used with singular pronouns like "someone" or "everyone".

Here's another example. Let's examine the word "between". "Billy, Sandy, and Jane were fighting over the last candy bar in the house, so their mother divided the candy bar between them". This incorrect use of "between" is even more common than the incorrect use of "decimate" in today's vernacular. But it can never be correct, no matter how common it becomes. Why? Because it's impossible to divide something "between" three children. It ain't gonna happen. Sure, one can divide a candy bar "among" three children, but it's impossible to divide a candy bar "between" three children.

Let's imagine the federal government enacts a national sales tax or income tax of 10%. I can see how this might be properly described as "decimation". "Decimation" in the strict sense means to kill every one of ten, but I can see how the meaning could change one day to mean "a taking of one-tenth". That's reasonable. But "decimate" does not and cannot ever mean to to destroy a large portion of, because "deci" and "large portion of" don't jive. They can't.

You see where I'm going with this? This is far deeper than "hey, you're not using the original definition of that word".
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  #91  
Old November 21st, 2007, 03:44 PM
trevortarr trevortarr is offline
Trevor Tarr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnlee
Let's imagine the federal government enacts a national sales tax or income tax of 10%. I can see how this might be properly described as "decimation". "Decimation" in the strict sense means to kill every one of ten, but I can see how the meaning could change one day to mean "a taking of one-tenth".

Interestingly enough, in common usage, the opposite has happened: the "killing" aspect of decimate's original meaning remains, rather than the "one out of every ten." Here's an excerpt from The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006:
Usage Note: Decimate originally referred to the killing of every tenth person, a punishment used in the Roman army for mutinous legions. Today this meaning is commonly extended to include the killing of any large proportion of a group. Sixty-six percent of the Usage Panel accepts this extension in the sentence The Jewish population of Germany was decimated by the war, even though it is common knowledge that the number of Jews killed was much greater than a tenth of the original population. However, when the meaning is further extended to include large-scale destruction other than killing, as in The supply of fresh produce was decimated by the nuclear accident at Chernobyl, only 26 percent of the Panel accepts the usage.
The Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Random House, Inc. 2006, adds:
The earliest English sense of decimate is “to select by lot and execute every tenth soldier of (a unit).” The extended sense “destroy a great number or proportion of” developed in the 19th century: Cholera decimated the urban population. Because the etymological sense of one-tenth remains to some extent, decimate is not ordinarily used with exact fractions or percentages: Drought has destroyed (not decimated) nearly 80 percent of the cattle.
For many words with similarly archaic etymology, it may make sense, but in the case of decimate, it does seem purely pedantic to insist on retaining the original definition, despite the deci- prefix.
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  #92  
Old November 21st, 2007, 03:47 PM
johnlee johnlee is online now
John Lee
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Wow, Trevor, you were able to look up "decimate" in the dictionary?
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  #93  
Old November 21st, 2007, 04:14 PM
trevortarr trevortarr is offline
Trevor Tarr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnlee
Wow, Trevor, you were able to look up "decimate" in the dictionary?

So it seems. Granted, I don't know much about the august American Heritage "Usage Panel" and its credentials. But with their 66% endorsement, I'm comfortable employing the popular, less restrictive, definition.
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  #94  
Old November 21st, 2007, 06:39 PM
greghirst greghirst is offline
Greg Hirst
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnlee
I do.

But your dispositive test for the correctness of a word's use seems to be how commonly it's used in a particular context today. Sure, this is one test. But it's not the only test.

As I said previously, there are some words that can never be used correctly in some contexts, no matter how common such usage may become. "Decimate" is one of those words. Look at the prefix of "decimate". It's "deci". "Deci" means 1/10th. How can "decimate" ever come to mean "[killing] a large part of" as you claim? It can't, just as "octogenarian" can never come to mean "old", or "decagon" can never come to mean any polygon with multiple sides, or "their" can never properly be used with singular pronouns like "someone" or "everyone".

You see where I'm going with this? This is far deeper than "hey, you're not using the original definition of that word".

I understand. I also disagree.

Your other examples to retain their numerical significance in current usage. "Decagon" continues to be defined by the original latin "deci" from "decem" for "ten". Decimate does not.

The original latin "decimare" meant "to kill every tenth man". Decimate no longer exclusively means either "to kill" or "every tenth".

Decimate does not retain it's original numerical significance any more than September, October, November and December retain their significance as the seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth month after the adoption of the Julian calendar. It's current synonyms are "devastate, obliterate".
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  #95  
Old November 21st, 2007, 09:26 PM
johnlee johnlee is online now
John Lee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greghirst
Your other examples to retain their numerical significance in current usage. "Decagon" continues to be defined by the original latin "deci" from "decem" for "ten". Decimate does not.


So let me get this right.

"Deci" means 1/10th. It did it in the past and still does today. On this there is no dispute.

However, "Decimate" no longer means to kill 1/10th and can mean "kill/destroy a large portion of"?

Think about that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by greghirst
Decimate does not retain it's original numerical significance any more than September, October, November and December retain their significance as the seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth month after the adoption of the Julian calendar. It's current synonyms are "devastate, obliterate".


September, October, November, and December. These are names. They're not the names I would have used. But they're names. "Decimate" is a verb. One can name something any which way he wants. One cannot define a verb any which way he wants.

"Decimate" is not synonymous with "devastate" or "obliterate".

"Devastate" is very close with "destroy", although I can't say they're synonymous.

"Decimate" is a particular from of "devastate". It's less in degree. It's a calculated devastation. There's that pesky 1/10th again.

"Obliterate" is completely different from "decimate". "Obliterate" is an exaggerated form of "devastate". When something is "obliterated", it's destroyed completely.

The three verbs differ in degree. "Decimate" means to destroy 1/10th of. "Devastate" means to destroy in substantial amount. "Obliterate" means to destroy completely.

The three verbs are not, never were, and never will be synonymous.
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  #96  
Old November 22nd, 2007, 09:44 AM
Bruno Bruno is offline
Bruno Tome
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Trevor, what's up with your call sign - the one you list under your user name here ?

I can't find anything listed in the FCC database for WPWP41.
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  #97  
Old November 22nd, 2007, 10:22 AM
greghirst greghirst is offline
Greg Hirst
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnlee
So let me get this right.

"Deci" means 1/10th. It did it in the past and still does today. On this there is no dispute.

However, "Decimate" no longer means to kill 1/10th and can mean "kill/destroy a large portion of"?

Think about that.

I am.

When the majority of the English-speaking world accept and understand a word to mean something other than it's original meaning it becomes "correct".

We both accept that word usage and definitions can and will change over time. I would not argue that acceptance of misused words and slang terms is largely the reason why this happens.

"While I was not consulted prior to the President's decision to intervene in support of the Republic of Korea, that decision from a military standpoint, proved a sound one, as we hurled back the invader and decimated his forces."-Douglas MacArthur

The above is a quote of Douglas MacArthur in his farewell address to Congress in 1951. Do you believe that he meant he reduced the North Korean forces only by 10 percent? Do you believe Congress understood him to mean this? Do you think his statement was confusing to his audience?

I do not think so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnlee
September, October, November, and December. These are names. They're not the names I would have used. But they're names. "Decimate" is a verb. One can name something any which way he wants. One cannot define a verb any which way he wants.

I think it is obvious that the original meaning has lost relevance in both words.

Fo shizzle.

Face it. Jack and I are simply ill-bred, mouth-breathing troglodytes.

Last edited by greghirst : November 22nd, 2007 at 10:40 AM.
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  #98  
Old November 22nd, 2007, 11:33 AM
trevortarr trevortarr is offline
Trevor Tarr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno
Trevor, what's up with your call sign - the one you list under your user name here ?

I can't find anything listed in the FCC database for WPWP41.

Bruno, thanks for checking. It looks like my call sign was truncated somewhere along the way. It should read WPWP416, but maybe the BBS profile field has a maximum six characters now. I'm in the FCC ULS database, but there's not much to find. All I have is the bottom-shelf ZA GMRS license. One of these days I'll get around to joining the ranks of amateur legitimacy.
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  #99  
Old November 22nd, 2007, 12:00 PM
ronward ronward is offline
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Decimator 2000

Anyone watching Comedy Central just now saw a quick spoof commercial advertising the latest in personal defense via The Decimator 2000. Basically an airhorn with an oversized trumpet outlet. One of the cops from Reno 911 was demonstrating it without ear protection. Mighty funny.

Deci, as in decibel. Think about it.
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  #100  
Old November 22nd, 2007, 06:55 PM
Bruno Bruno is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trevortarr
All I have is the bottom-shelf ZA GMRS license. One of these days I'll get around to joining the ranks of amateur legitimacy.

Trevor, the sooner you get your tech ticket, the sooner you can get busy with your general, etc.
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