Words matter

People argue, endlessly, repetitively and in enormous detail, that changing terminology doesn't matter, and indeed is just a waste of time1.

Changing language does matter: language is an enormously important part of what it means to be human – our use of natural language is arguably our single defining characteristic as a species. The choice of language is really important to humans at an extremely basic level2. If you haven't read a book which makes you cry or makes you really angry I feel very sorry for you. If you haven't listened to a speech or a play and thought how wonderful it is I feel the same. Haven't you ever got really upset when arguing on the internet? That was done by choice of language. Have you ever tried really hard to upset someone when arguing on the internet? That too was done by choice of language. Why is it we endlessly go back to the words of Shakespeare, or Churchill, or Martin Luther King, or the KJV? It's because language matters, a lot.

Language matters because we are humans. Changing language matters because we are humans.

  1. If choice of terminology is so unimportant to these people, why do they spend so much time arguing that it is unimportant

  2. I don't mean picking between French or English or something, although that matters too, I mean choice of wording within a given natural language. 

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