Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

What we need to understand is that everything is like this, not just language: "While no single individual can, by fiat, change the meaning of a word, groups of individuals, by changing patterns of usage, can... What words mean and which words exist is not up to any single person. But it is up to us, collectively." This is understood by conservatives, writes Amia Srinivasan, "who love to make fun of linguistic innovators as if they were divorced from reality, privately recognise and fear," just as it is understood by progressives, "in which too much hope can be invested." Anyhow, this is a long and interesting read about gender in language and especially in pronouns. And it shows how we teach and learn through every sentence we speak or hear. Every action we take both at once displays and informs our understanding of the world.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Copyright 2021
Last Updated: Mar 31, 2021 12:54 a.m.