Careful What You Say
Like it or not, words have power. Language is not static. It evolves. The implementation of radical changes directly affects all of us. Some are for it, others not so much. Being “woke” is very much on the forefront in our society. And it affects the nature of communications and the formations of words.
“Minor-attracted persons” may seem outrageous to those who understand the implications. Why would anyone decide to paint pedophiles in a softer light?
For now, the word refers to people attracted to minors but do not act. It is a way to make it easier for this demographic to seek help before becoming a criminal.
But as the years move along, the possibility of the minor-attracted persons can easily slide into people who commit the actions. It all falls behind the baseline of semantics.
Of course, semantics fascinates me as I recognize that the process of linguistics and language development is fluid.
For example, long ago, the children’s poem “Eenie Meenie Miney Mo” preceded “Catch an ‘N-word’ by its Toe…” Luckily, the role of semantics shifted with the times, and the N-word was replaced with tiger (The Process of Semantics, 2020).
Another word worth noting is “silly.” The common understanding of this word is to be foolish and underlines negative connotations. However, tracing the origin of “silly” to Old English, the word “silly” once meant to be blessed (The Process of Semantics, 2020).
The transformation of the word “silly” is known as semantic drift. At a distance, semantic drifts appear to be arbitrary. But through time, changes can be pinpointed to logical connections ( (The Process of Semantics, 2020).
While the pros and cons of “canceling” words, people, institutions, can be debated, replacing them with new the purpose behind some of the changes is long overdue.