Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Semantic doesn’t have a lot of subject matter.
-He is a critical theorist
Thesis: he is noticed, he travels all over the world, he is a scholar, and critical
theorist- examines communication, policies, institutional structures and looks at
power dynamics. Some people have more power than others. And just
sometimes look at what oppressive forces are and kind of expose them so
people can be aware of them. He observed that ordinary language is changing in
a disturbing way. That something has happened to language that has never
happened ever before, in the history of mankind. In his point of view, it is
: Plastic Words: The Tyranny of a Modular Language
, by Uwe Poerksen.
Translated from German into English by Jutta Mason and David Cayley
This book is about how ordinary language is changing in a unique and
This book critiques what the author refers to as the colonization of language
(when a force takes over another force- when an elite few control the masses
a.k.a taking over of something. It is operating like colonization- when
Europeans came over to the US and encounter the Native Americans,
teaching them English- example of Colonization).
Bottom up language
is language that has been created within
a specific context or locale by the people who actually
experience that which the language refers to. (from the ground
up, we live in a sensory (concrete) and symbolic (abstract)
world, originates from the experience of living in that place.)
(Koala bear- we name what we exist)
is “given” to a culture and is created from
some other place or realm that is separate from and possibly
alien to the culture’s everyday and historical vernacular. (come
from one source or another, US is a big exporter of words,
(you are learning about a concept from somewhere else).
What’s make a culture, a culture?
What’s different culture to culture- different rituals, shared set of beliefs, norms-
common ways of being, holidays, traditions, clothing, music, transportation, architecture,
to meet different people,
Vernacular- ordinary everyday talk. Within in our ordinary talk, a large % of what we say
in language comes from bottom-up and also top-down. Top-down language is starting to
be a bottom-up language. Ex. European- they are coming elsewhere and taking it over.
Language is changing in that same way.