Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Gray Areas of the English Language

So it is my belief that some everyday English words and phrases are masked by Great Britain's violent historic past. But these idioms are used all the time in every situation, to the point that I ask, what would cause more harm, (1) Keeping the language and forever instilling old British beliefs, or (2) censoring down language to the point, where all analogies are abolished and nothing exerts any passion.

The word, "orientation," meaning the introduction of a new situation or environment. Similar to this word is another used to describe the Far East Asian race. And it's easy to see how this word was adopted. English travelers went to the Far East and gave the people they met a new name as they became familiar with them and the land, and later adopted the term to mean, becoming familiar with something. However, along the language timeline, another definition was picked up. As a psychological feature, orientation also means an integrated set of attitudes and beliefs.

One of the reasons why people may not feel welcome in American society is because the English language has words that characterize races and beliefs that aren't white Christians as "the other." And there there are definite undertones of an "Us" and "Them" perspective in the language, which isn't very welcoming.

Anyways there are many more of these examples hidden in the English language. One in particular that may surprise you pertains to British feelings toward left-handedness. In case you were wondering, they didn't like it, and neither did American society until fairly recently. Out in left field, left-winged, leftway thinking, are all examples of how the leftside represented bad luck. Also note that the Latin word for left is "sinister," which, as you may recognize was later adopted as part of the English language as something else. The Latin word for right was "dexter" as in dexterity. So this rant is based on how I feel about the English language. Currently not thrilled, but I kind of have to speak, and I only know English. But there are some obvious cans of worms that I have left unopened for a reason, and it's not just because I don't want to part with any more words and phrases.