The Evolution of Words & Importance of Context

Even though definitions of words change, the object or concept being described is constant. That is to say, Reality is not contingent of language. Instead, Reality is independent of language.

At first, this observation appears to undermine the splicing of words or critique of language. Such efforts would seem trivial. How could it be important to use the right word if language is evolving, subjective, and relative (more on relativity here)? And, by golly, how is anyone to know the speakers meaning, especially for those whose written work is all that remains? But I digress.

Returning to the question of how the communicator chooses his or her words, one point to consider is how the relationship between persons informs word choice. Take humor, for example. Sharing a history with an individual gives an archive of experiences from which the speaker can make references that convey an idea more accurately and efficiently than to a complete stranger. Such historical and personal context affords direction about how to best communicate. “Best” here including the efficiency of understanding the speaker makes with the listener. This is the same challenge editors face. Since their audiences are greater than the scope of everyday conversations, and by virtue of being published hopefully reaching the vast populous, they have the challenge of both refining the context and making it most readily understandable to the reader as possible.

The refining process is like a minor, chipping away to find the diamond. But this second roll of the reader is most difficult. The reader must be active and seek to understand, instead of assuming the jargon is synonymous to his or her life experience.

For this reason, when it comes to personal relationships, it seems that suppressing or restraining from vulgarity might be just as inappropriate as excess. As my brother timelessly says, “I’ve never heard a bad word, just words used badly.” The point here bolstering the idea that context assists in the ability to communicate well.

Word choice matters and the process of choosing is arduous. And even though references evolve, Reality is constant, which makes the use of language a noble endeavor and necessary practice in order to understand the Reality of Truth, Goodness, & Beauty.


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