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Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Unacceptability Of Being Inappropriate

Here is an opinion piece about the increasing vagueness of the English language in many parts of the world since the 1980s. Prospect is an English publication launched by David Goodhart, a senior correspondent for the Financial Times, but the article seems to apply equally to other Western English-speaking countries. At issue is social engineering for the sake of political correctness of more exact terms like coarse, tactless, vulgar and lewd for institutional words like unacceptable and inappropriate. According to article writer Edward Skidelsky:

This linguistic shift is revealing. Improper and indecent express moral judgements, whereas inappropriate and unacceptable suggest breaches of some purely social or professional convention. Such “non-judgemental” forms of speech are tailored to a society wary of explicit moral language. As liberal pluralists, we seek only adherence to rules of the game, not agreement on fundamentals.

Several novels will come to mind to readers of speculative fiction. Go here for more on this shift to a neutralized English language, an article the author entitled, "Words that think for us."

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