Words are something which have fascinated me as long as I can remember. The whole concept of language and its manipulations are core to so much. But like everything humans have turned oh so beautiful words into instruments that have the potential to oppress.
I’m sure everyone who reads this blog has come across professional words and phrases, that is words which belong to a certain area of specialisation. This is on display quite clearly in the medical world. Take the term ‘gastroenteritis’, simply meaning tummy ache. Or in academia the word ‘discourse’ , meaning the process of communication. But for the unscrupulous these words can be weapons. Used on somebody unfamiliar with them they can establish hierarchies and by clever manipulation (Forms of lying) can control situations and ultimately control actions.
Paulo Friere’s book recognises how the power of words can reproduce a traditional relationship between oppressor and oppressed. Worth a read.