Viewing a single comment thread. View all comments

kore wrote (edited )

I'm somewhat obsessed with this question.

I sometimes think about it in terms of words acquiring their meanings by their associations. The meaning is built up over time, always changing, and slightly different for everyone.

In addition to that any attempt to attach a fixed name to something fails because I believe there is no fixed principle. In addition, people can reject certain names for things, or claim that everything other than one thing is not really what the name describes. e.g. "I'm not one of those" or "This is the true meaning of x"

There's power in reclaiming/inventing language (many oppressed groups have done it with slurs), but I like the bottom up approach rather than the top down. For example, I hear stories of families all the time where children invent words for things.

I think regarding "official names" there is definitely a power there that needs to be questioned, but language play is great :)