The Gray Bunny (graybunny) wrote,
The Gray Bunny
graybunny

Language

Threads like this discussion about words make me think. It begins with a discussion of Coke's slogan for Dasani water: in their desire to have a more "impactful" slogan, Coke is accidentally saying something completely different than they intend. And the fact that they completely fail to understand the question being raised, and seem to believe that the fact that their focus group liked it somehow changes the language -- well, they may have a point. In the end, words mean what enough people think they mean. But the part lower down where they start debating "impactful" is the interesting bit.

Ignore the fact that it degenerates into a sneering match, like just about ever other discussion on the net. Here's the key point: "tree", for example, is a word. Everybody knows what it means. "Rrjvliu", on the other hand, is not a word. I don't know what it means, do you? Now, what about "impactful"? I don't like it, but I know what it means, and so does everybody in the thread discussing it, on both sides. So, as ugly and unnecessary as it may be, how is it not a word? It has a known meaning, it falls into a known category (adjective), etc. So how do we decide what is a "real" word and not?

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