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Old October 4 2012, 03:15 PM   #12
Re: Changing Language Usage

Jim Gamma wrote: View Post
I know languages evolve, but sometimes it seems that the language usage - especially of businesses - is changing constantly. For example:

- You no longer "buy" something (especially not online), you "purchase" it. (Use of more complex language for no real reason.)
- On public transport, you're not a "passenger", you're a "customer". (Emphasis on the monetary transaction rather than the service being provided.)
- You don't have a "Personnel" department, it's "Human Resources" - or indeed just "Resources". (Why would you need a euphamism for 'Personnel'?)
- Individuals with non-standard levels of eyesight are "visually impaired" rather than "partially sighted". (Less obvious perhaps, but it emphasises the bad - they can't see as well - rather than the good - they can see a bit.)

As I said - I know language usage changes... but why? And are there any particular changes in language use you've noticed over the years? What do you think of these trends?
You already pointed out why with your two neat examples of political correctness and corporatization, languages reflects cultural changes.
The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer. - former US Secretary of State and unconvicted war criminal Henry Kissinger
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