Friday, February 6
When ideas fail, words come in very handy
Over the past few days we've all been subjected to the Carole Thatcher 'G' word fiasco, as if there is nothing better to talk about in the world of course. But its got me thinking again about how we use language. Of course language is changing and evolving so to be honest I'm more concerned about the intent behind the words than the words per se. Over the last few years I have been called 'handicapped' more than a few times, which makes me shudder, had people shout loudly at me as if I have a hearing impediment, talk to my husband because really I'm half invisible, ask me extremely personal questions that I'm sure they don't throw into conversation with other people they meet, and so on and so on. Although Ive been irritated, bemused and amused, and rolled my eyes a lot of the time, I cant recall ever being offended. That's because if I did Id spend most of the week in a huff of some kind, but more importantly Ive never detected any malice in the way Ive been spoken to or about. Words do reinforce stereotypical thinking, ( I am not handicapped ok?) but with education and time we can hopefully change thinking. Its a generational thing as well, mostly strange comments come from older people, Id say over 70s, and this is shown by my mother who at 70 spends a lot of time pausing mid sentence as she tries to find the right word to describe a learning difficulty, I guess its changed a lot in her lifetime, but she has an awareness to stop and think of how she says things. So while its OK for me to say I'm feeling a bit er...cripply, its probably best if you didn't.