Re: "Lingo" and Community LO2951

Grant B. Harris (
26 Sep 95 10:30:04

Replying to LO2925 --

I would argue that all language is "communally-created". In different
situations and contexts it changes more or less rapidly. Take any
professional group - they typically have an immense lexicon if
context-specific language which is constantly evolving along with the
theories, models, tools and technics (e.g. learning organization
practitioners!). Whole continental communities develop their own 'lingos'
- American and English, for instance. Over time, language evolves (e.g.
'modern' English has only been spoken since about the 15th century.) There
is a tendency in our culture to view words are having specific meanings
corresponding to 'reality'. But, in fact, the meanings of words are
simply the meanings that groups of people more or less agree on. Anthony
Giddens makes the point that when we speak a language we are not only
speaking according to the structure of the language, but we are, through
speaking, constantly recreating the structure of the language. We are
also inventing new ways to use the language, and thereby subtly changing
its structure. (He calls this 'structuration'.)

   Grant B. Harris
   Workframe, Inc.
   Cambridge, Massachusetts