Language Changes

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Language Changes – 4 January 2008

Have you noticed how language is gradually changing? I’m referring to the English language used here in the United States.

One example that comes to mind is the use of the word “healthy.” When I was in school, we were taught that the word “healthy” meant “enjoying good health” or “freedom from signs of disease,” as a “healthy” person. “Healthful” was the word used to describe something that was “beneficial to health of body or mind.” You could say that a vegan lifestyle is healthful because it keeps you healthy. But increasingly, especially in ads, the word “healthy” is being used instead of “healthful” to describe foods, for example.

Some other changes in usage appear to be associated with “political correctness.” For example, male and female theatrical performers are now referred to as “actors.” So I assume that it must be considered “politically incorrect” to describe a female as being an “actress” but a male as an “actor.” The same goes for “author” and “authoress,” or “poet” and “poetess.” Now it is “author” or “poet” only.

When my husband and I play the word game Boggle, we keep two dictionaries handy: Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary and Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary. It’s interesting how so many words are considered archaic: words such as thee, thou, hast, dost…

I wonder if future generations will consider some of the words commonly used today as “archaic.”

"Joyful Curmudgeon"
An oxymoron?
No! I see all the beauty of God's creation and I'm joyful.  At the same time, I see all the suffering and corruption going on in the world, and feel called to help expose and end it so that we may have true peace and compassion.

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