Sunday, April 8, 2012

Putting thoughts into words

I am fascinated by words and the meaning they convey, to the point where I find it enjoyable to read dictionaries.  So that's what this blog is about.  Hence the title. 

I just discovered, while perusing the web (dictionaries at your fingertips!), that the term 'semantically loaded' refers to the problems that come from words having multiple or ambiguous meanings.  As in, I suppose, "that is a loaded term".  I had been thinking I would write a blog about the joys and problems of communication, and the potential for miscommunication inherent in semantics, under the title 'semantic argument', but that title is already taken, and 'semantically loaded' seemed to fit even better.

Did you ever wonder how much human strife can be attributed to miscommunication owing to semantics?

Or to what extent the creation of new knowledge actually depends on semantic ambiguity?

Words are used for different purposes.  Science demands precise meanings, so in scientific writing loaded terms are eschewed as much as possible, even if the term captures an intended meaning.  Poetry, in contrast, seeks to open the mind to new perspectives, and for this semantically loaded words can work wonders.  The double entendre is a poet's friend.

It is not uncommon to hear someone say that a discussion is "just about semantics", as if that makes it less interesting or important.  But for me semantic arguments are never trivial and always interesting.

No comments:

Post a Comment