• Stephen

Maybe I'm getting old...

I am moved to jot down a few words on the constant evolution of language. This is occasioned by reading a news article in which the subject used the term 'disrespect' both as a verb and a noun, or if you prefer, used the term far too much. While I appreciate that all languages undergo constant change, I couldn't help but think that the context of the overuse of 'disrespect' (an apology for a foolish and thoughtless public comment) was one where humility and clarity would have been helpful.

This was doubly true since the offence had been caused to exactly those who were highly unlikely to ever use the term 'disrespect' in their day to day lives and would probably have found it, well, lacking in respect.

When composing a written piece, of any kind, context and the intended audience should be a constant touchstone, especially when, as in this case, you are attempting to make amends for something. Words cannot easily be divorced from the context in which they are used; they carry a power which we should all approach with some care whether we are simply seeking to be informative or aiming for something more particular.

We use them all the time, day in and day out, but they do matter - in this world of near instant global communications, perhaps more than ever.

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