Everything we see, do, or feel has a meaning. Linguistically we need specific information or beliefs intended to carry out in every communication we carve with others. What we try to communicate with others, and what it means to them, stands for the outcome of the balance between subjective perception and objective conveyance of a conveyed memorandum. It solely is a harmonious state of a word using various phrases; still, the current linguistically descriptive terms varied by types. All point to diverse motives and emphasis.
The concept of linguistic deviation
In the practical meaning, and frequently, the linguistic variance of phrases, actions, and phenomena are deliberately manipulated. Words and phrases also evolved to be the subject of continual chronological reform elicited by the dynamic modifications of a given society at a myriad of points in the epoch and location.
It is liable for influence by limitless elements, including culture, ethnicity, race, values, and education. Just like some variabilities, what defines, yet means to a third-party bystander is a space that requires particular scrutiny and periodic revisits to stave off misuse; meanwhile, conserve synchrony between the members of its societal proprietor. Hence must avert maleficence of propaganda and conspiracy.
In other words, the definition is the confirmation of implying behind the terms, phrases, or symbols. They fall into two parts; intentional, which tries to give the sense to a given the word; and the extensional definitions which aim to list the objects that time describes. However, A significant type of meaning is the class of ostensive variety, which communicates the essence of a phrase by bringing up examples. Any given term may possess several distinct conceptions and numerous significances and, thus, with multiple definitions.
Definitions possess critical Problems
Traditionally, the fallacies and rules of definitions have been given attention in such a way that they must also set out distinct fundamental attributes of the thing that are the subject of definition.
Definitions should resist circularity. It must avoid uses of the phrase interpreted as a piece of the meaning that infers to the prior knowledge of the original term. The definition also must not be too wide or too narrow. The explanation must not be obscure, or description should not be adverse where it can be favorable.
However, Limitations of any definition given that a natural language such as English contains, at any given time, a finite number of words of any comprehensive roster of descriptions must either be circular or rely upon primitive notions. Therefore, various scholars have chosen to leave some terms undefined.
According to scholastic philosophers- the highest genera (also called the ten generalissimos) that is undefinable. Since a more top family cannot be assigned under which they tend to fall.
Some people have opposed the notion that- every explanation of the meaning in a term must clarify itself. “As though an explanation will hang in the air unless supported by another one,” claiming that explanation of a word is only desired to avert misinterpretation.
The vagueness of meaning refers to the confusion about what communicated, as the accepted context may direct to varied interpretations of the essence. Many phrases in many vocabularies have numerous definitions.
Ambiguity is an outcome of a spurt belonging to the statute of character, that the context defines the information exchange. If the sender is physically absent, and the contexts explicitly divergent, as stands the case when the receptor is a reader, and the sender was a writer.
What is a Meaning?
Meanings, too, can be differentiated through realistic observations as to how at any given context, definitions differ. The Linguistic context prevails as to how significant it to comprehend without banking on intent and assumptions vs. Pertained pragmatics where understanding is formed through sensory ordeals, even though sensory stimulus cannot be easily enunciated in language or signs. So, Situational context relates to every non-linguistic factor that affects the meaning of a given phrase. Latter correlates to the words like “it’s cold in here.” An expression can either be a simple statement of fact or even a request. It can turn up the heat, depending on, among other things, whether or not it is within the listener’s ability to encompass the temperature.
One point to noteworthy is the Semantics. The following levels to the relationship between phrases and their referents.
The semantic shift
Semantics is the examination of how connotation is expressed through signs and language.
Understanding how facial expressions, body language, and tone affect the meaning, and how words, phrases, sentences, and punctuation relate to purpose are examples.
Various subgroups of semantics are studied within the fields of linguistics, logic, and computing. For example, linguistic semantics is a history of how words have been previously used; logical semantics includes how people imply and correlate in terms of likely pursuit and beliefs.
Amid an overwhelming discrepancy between definitions, meaning, and perceptions of words, phrases, or symbols; yet, we can repeatedly vouch for the periodic alteration of existing definitions.
Redefinition is the process of applying modifications to the meaning of something. It primarily influences the way people think about something in unique ways. For instance, Social networking has redefined the meaning of friends or has redefined the way people notice mental illness.
Meaning, definition, and redefinition, whether intentional or involuntary, are continually churning and deviating. They are not only the body of objective creation of the humans but also must follow the perception of every individual at any given point of time, place, and situation. They concoct the fundamental factors behind Semantic change or drift, which in turn is a perfect environment of evolution and propagation of hype of sensuality.
Every word entails fluctuation of senses and connotations. They can be added, removed, or altered over time, often to the magnitude that cognates across space and time have exceedingly different implications. It is the prevailing notion that a variety of forces trigger semantic modifications. These include Linguistic, Psychological, Sociocultural, Cultural effects, and political.
Chronological Change of Definition
The chronological change of definition is real and sustained. As Martha Gill, a political journalist was a former lobby correspondent, a staffer Economist who served as a Statesman. She once said- the word “Literally” is the most misused in the language and has changed meaning. Now as well as meaning “in a literal manner or sense; exactly: ‘the driver took it literally when asked to go straight over the traffic circle.'” numerous dictionaries have added other more recent usage for the latter word. As Google puts it, the term “literally” can be used “to acknowledge; something which is not real.
If we Stick around long enough, we will discover that vocabulary changes, irrespective of our intention. The process of semantic shift happens for many justifications and in many manners. Four main popular categories are broadening, narrowing, amelioration, and pejoration.
What is broadening?
Broadening, also realized as generalization or extension. It stands for the process by which the connotation of a word becomes more comprehensive than an earlier meaning. In Old English, for instance, the term” dog” originally pertained to just one unique breed. Nonetheless; In contemporary English, of course, the dog can also refer to many different breeds, and something can relate to, well, anything.
The narrowing is the opposite of broadening. It refers to the type of semantic change in which a word’s meaning becomes less extensive. Such as, in old English, deer could apply to any animal, and a girl could mean a young person of either sex.
Today, the same words have more specific meanings.
Amelioration pertains to the upgrading or rise in the status of a word’s meaning. For example, meticulous once meant “fearful or timid,” and sensitive meant merely “capable of using one’s senses.”
Pejoration is the downgrading or depreciation of a word’s meaning.
The adjective silly, for instance, once meant “blessed” or “innocent,” officious said “hard-working,” and aggravate expected to “increase the weight” of something.
Definition, it’s accepted meaning and translation into practice, is a process with three individual variable factors where Each factor is prone to be influenced. Those who define, redefine the control over the process.
Every editor must study the language as utilized to decide which words to include in the dictionary and to determine what they mean. They must carefully monitor which words people use most often and how they use them. That includes corporation sponsorship of public media campaigns.
To create a definition; A lexicographer studies the emerging words or revisits the existing ones and assesses if they comply with the community standards before entering the results into the dictionary.
The notion of societal engineering
Recently, while browsing through the medium content, I fumbled onto an interesting article written by Jesse Dvorak under the title of “Societal Engineering: Propaganda Through Redefinition of Words.”
The material is on societal engineering techniques borrowing strategies that are most efficiently complement aristocracies to rectify civilizations. Within the pieces, the author defines societal engineering as: “the study of the creation and influence of human societies. It is a field of social science, dealing with those social dynamics which operate on a large enough scale to affect entire populations.”
In the article, Jesse indicates the importance of recognizing the propensity of any meaning to differ to the answers provided to questions. The latter includes terms such as — what does the word “liberal” mean to you?- What about the word “Christian”?- How about “conservative”, “Jew”, “Muslim”, “Nigerian”, “American”?
The author further states that the answer would vary significantly depending on the person answering the particular question. Latter would perhaps shift overtime for that same person.
The article narrates the reason because definitions of words change based on the beliefs that are attributes around them. The social engineering world uses this phenomenon to explain, analyze and even contribute to altering a word’s associations; henceforth, by doing that, one can merely change a person’s perspective on wording issues.” It works like magic when used right.”- He describes.
The role of Societal Engineering
Today, societal engineering includes terms associated with a conveyed message and slowly toiling to remake their associations. Thereby their definitions for better alignment with what the audience ought to assume.
The fundamental facet of societal engineering is in reference to; when a particular phrase firmly attributes to the distinct notion that intention becomes embedded in the word’s definition.
For instance- the word “public,”; once meant to describe something owned by everyone. Today we all know that not everyone owns every public park, road, or bridge.
Marketing, public relations or propaganda
Whether we call it marketing, publicity, or the game of words, ultimately, societal engineering precisely yet conveniently benefits a given purpose. That is easily achieved today through the semantic shift.
With the advent of information technology, social media, and biased controlled data, such an endeavor is a matter of convenience to entities that help steer public interest towards their ambitions.
Braj Bihari Kachru (May 15, 1932 – July 29, 2016) was an Indian linguist. He once postulated that Ideology and power are two of a kind, yet vital solicitudes involving every major lexicographic dictionary.
A lexicographer and an observant user must struggle in any intense lexicographical industry. However, Critical lexicography did not receive ample awareness until 1995.
It was when Kachru Lann Hornscheidt; (born 1965 in Velbert, West Germany) a German academic active in the fields of gender studies and linguistics; and Anetta Kahane (born 1954 in East Berlin) a German journalist, author, and activist against antisemitism, racism, and right-wing extremism shed light for the first time on Critical lexicography.
The Meaningful Lexicography
To date, one can hardly find an organized theoretical picture of meaningful lexicography. In the global context, the expanse and function of critical lexicography are merely comparative. That is because it fails to take into consideration the theoretical and methodological inspiration of different disciplines. That includes “Critical Discourse and postcolonial Studies,” which likely make definitions robust and analytically descriptive. With this rift in cognizance, there have been a variety of proposed discourses on the manner of approach to Critical Lexicography, termed Critical Lexicographical Discourse Studies (CLDS), as a reply to the appeal. For lexicographers’ ‘social accountability.’ It is not a hidden reality that the discrepancy of meaning, definition, and intent lends rise to conspiracy, propaganda, hence control.
Neil Postman (March 8, 1931 – October 5, 2003), is a well known American author of twenty books, educator, media theorist, and cultural critic. His latest materials include;” Amusing Ourselves to Death,” Conscientious Objections,” Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology,” The Disappearance of Childhood,” and” The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School.”
Neil once stated-
“When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; a culture-death is a definite possibility.”
Politics and definition of words
Today, what characterizes most political and administrative scene goes beyond just dysfunctional politics. Instead, it breathes as ruthlessly manufactured control executed behind the spectacles of the entertainment. Societal Scenery is riddled with the distracting, and disingenuous curtain of political drama wielding redefinition of the popular phrases.
The political scene is diabolical yet, at times oratory, signifying triviality. By Playing out on the national stage and eagerly broadcasting towards a captivated audience via media sponsors, such amusing exercise of semantics in political acting at times seems riveting, life-changing, and suspenseful, even for those who know better.
It is a testament to the leverage of the democratic hypothesis that tyrannical authorities around the world privilege the veil of democracy for forms of government that sponsor legalized repression.
Semantic shift on democracy
One of the most outrageous attempts to appropriate the word” democracy” is to add a label of lawfulness by semantic shifting to an anti-democratic policy.
The phrase; “people’s democracy” refers primarily to the East European satellite regions where the Red Army imposed communism after World War II. Given the explicit totalitarianism of their political injunction of those nations, the term became subject of disgrace. Currently, Various forms of democracy exist, all carrying different meanings, like Sovereign Democracy, liberal democracy.
Asynchrony between redefinition timing and prevalent mindset
Whether intentional, coincidental, or product of societal engineering, the desynchrony between definition, meaning public perception of any phrase is real. That is a sensitive ground for any word at a given point of time and place. Because it would serve as an ideal climate riddled with a Vacuum of opportunity for the benefit of adversaries.
Applied to market, In the days when demands outweigh supply, commodity production engineering occurs as a broadly significant contributor to the business deal. But once mass production became competitively, efficient communication and definitions became a big player in the market terrain. That by itself replenished with mass abundances of comparative stocks.
Over time, with the exclusive multitude of alleys and clearly defined customer touch-points, designation identity, and strong ingenuity, inked added the maximum value to corporations.
The supporting administrative hierarchies tend to be static and silo-based, with apparent authority and order, as products and campaigns’ life cycles occupy the two ends of the scope bitterly long or too abrupt. Agencies’ structure reflected this as the defined process beginning with the account team, through planning, then in a creative way to churn out big campaigns.
Healthcare and Critical Lexicography
Keeping in mind what discussed with regards to semantic drifts and it’s the influence of societal engineering and critical lexicography. Nevertheless, it applies to everything in our day to day lives.
Unsurprisingly, the inappropriate and out of context intention of definitions has neither spared the healthcare system. For example, phrases like; Personalized medicine, quality care, value reimbursement, health, and Healthcare in the current healthcare domain represent few of the many buzzwords filling in the industry headlines. Their definition is in the context of the few stakeholders and players’ words.
Most people think of genomics when somebody refers to personalized medicine and Healthcare. But the scope of personalized Healthcare is much broader and covers a wide range of factors. For instance, it pertains to any technology or medical equipment that enables the customization of treatment options. The personal expectations of the patient also fall under personalized medicine and Healthcare.
Value of Healthcare
The Value of Healthcare today is merely based on partiality measures. Today, political rhetoric supports the current value of medical service as the output of baseless third party algorithms. Their rhetoric is barely a buzzword to entice interest without providing any substantial Value. Quality in Healthcare is not a mathematical formula.
We can’t be executed genuine quality medical care through mandates, policies, or even new business models. Assigning value-based gauges on population-based medicine is a misfit and a failure based on inadequate definitions.
The values set by corporations and other third parties fail to account for social variables. Therefore, Quality means social acceptance and maximum benefit in care delivery that matches the patient and the physician’s expectations and abilities, given the accessible alternatives.
What is healthcare coverage?
Similarly, healthcare coverage perceived as another human right. The US intends to implement a welfare program. The kind of program that differentiates the latter from social programs only to legitimize its compatibility with the nation’s constitution. Primary care medicine is another phrase with varied interpretations.
According to current linguistic terms, primary care was equated to the general practice of medicine, which on the contrary, implies ad designation given to a profile of skill category given to denomination of job description driven by managed care administrative phenomena.
What is the Smart Policy of definition?
The smart policy is one that reexamines definitions periodically under acceptable accountability of its linguists shares it with the public. It is of vital significance to cultivate the grassroots of every society. It is more vital to understand the implication of every term on the delivery of medical service. Latter will not only reassure checks and balances on information disseminated via public media without but also an escalation of false assumption to the level of propaganda and beneficence, abusing the net internet neutrality.
Updated and precise definitions of establishing an accurate perception of meaning are noteworthy for every era, society, and scenario. It must strive to promote equal opportunity towards a clear understanding of the connotations and interpretations of phrases.
Despite all, enforcing the latest fundamental policies serve the corporate and administrative interest because the convenience is to clasp the thread of the public mind and access public wealth through semantic modifications.