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Monday, 22 July 2013

image for Linguistic Balkanization of Congress Studied

Luci Tung, Phd. in Linguistic Research at Babel University, has recently released her groundbreaking study of the increase in disparity of the meaning of common English words as used by members of the U.S. Congress.

She begins by showing how cultures that spring from shared origins can diverge in language usage by geographical, cultural, or political separation over time. By example, separated by a revolution and the Atlantic Ocean, Brits may say 'bonnet' where Yanks would use 'hood'. Likewise Brits say 'boot' for the Yankee equivalent 'trunk'.

"However," Ms Tung states, "Brits and Yanks can still communicate. They know what the other means, for the most part, anyway.

"Congress, on the other hand, has become so cloistered within tight factions that communication has become virtually impossible. It's amazing, really, that such a change could have occurred in the space of a single generation."

She points particularly to the Constitutional phrase 'advise and consent', which has come to mean in conservative Republican parlance 'deride and obstruct'.

"When one group or the other uses a phrase like 'the American people want' or 'American values'," she says, "they are absolutely speaking of diametrically opposed ideas. I doubt that they could communicate the need for a simple glass of water without being handed a vial of hemlock."

Ms. Tung suggests that an Oslo-type conference might be a remedy, perhaps hosted by a committee composed of Bosnians, Serbs, and Croats.

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