Postcard from the Edge
The language we use
'For last year's words belong to last year's language and next year's words await another voice.'
T S Eliot
As we start the year, it’s a good time to think about the words we use. We may speak the same language, but we all use it differently - by generation, region, discipline and occupation.
There are around 170,000 words in common usage in the English language, but most of us have a working vocabulary of around 30,000, and if spellcheck has its way, that will get smaller, not larger. Spellchecks prefer to trim, not elaborate, and in doing so we lose texture, nuance and poetry.
Unfamiliar words make us pause, and we may need a dictionary, but they offend the efficiency gods who want fast, simple clarity, not the danger of triggering original thinking.
Perhaps, as we delegate even more to technology in the shape of AI, we should think about that. We have got to a point where the limited language of business is used to define and shape our society. I find that to be an issue - life and society are full of variety, colour, texture and possibility way beyond that which can be measured by the limited imagination of economists.
If we submit to governance via impoverished language, we limit our horizons.
This is not a time for that. The world of work is changing. Our communities and society require regeneration, and regeneration needs new words.
That is the work of the artisan.