Sunday, August 21, 2011

Words, Words, Words...

A lot of what I write involves clarifying concepts through honing words. I am concerned with creating precision so that certain ideas can be communicated. When I assert a distinction between one word and another, I am trying to create a clear usage. Consider such posts entries in a Yaakov Lexicon. I think there are things to learn from them beyond that, but at the least understand that I am defining my usage.

When I was younger I often read the dictionary. It was very interesting to me to see all the words and all the usages. At some point I learned that the dictionary is only valid as a descriptive text. Prescriptive dictionaries are silly undertakings. While my lexicon might look prescriptive, I would never argue with someone using a word I have defined one way in the ordinary sense they see around them. I do it because I want a compact way to communicate to those who wish to read what I write.

I also hope, I will confess, in my vanity, to create a usage through reflexivity when I am able. Of course, I believe I am correct in the sentiments I express through these definitions but I am also ready to hear cogent arguments against them. I will not accept diffuse and purely destructive ones, though; these I will reject without scruple. A sharp and heartfelt disagreement will always get my consideration.

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