Precision in language
I'm active on LinkedIn, posting just about every weekday. I scan through my news feed on the platform and respond at whim. What I've been seeing there recently bothers me.
The first was a post by a member of the LGBTQ-etc. community complaining about the lack of gender-neutral pronouns in language and crying offense at being addressed as she/her by people who can't immediately see that this person identifies as other than one's apparent sex. Or gender.
At most, surveys and studies calculate that nearly 7 percent of the world's population identify as LGBT; 1.7 percent as intersex, and 0.6 percent at transgender. Intersex and transgender are lumped in with the LGBT percentage. That's a tiny minority around which the entire nation has been turning itself inside out to accommodate with regard to language, signage, and cultural mores.
I don't deny that these folks exist or that they should be treated with the same dignity and courtesy deserved by every human being. What I do deny is that they are normal. Gender identification or sexual preference is natural; however, natural does not equate to normal.
Nature allows for aberration; but it favors normality. Normality is what perpetuates the species, regardless of species.
Language, expecially the Romance languages, tend to be oriented toward the masculine. Why is a group of children called niños when it's likely comprised of both boys (niños) and girls (niñas)? That used to upset me. I resented it, because language seemed designed to ignore the existence of females. Then I grew up. I don't mind distinguishing between actor and actress, chairman and chairwoman, waiter and waitress. Did anyone ever call Frank Sinatra "Chairperson of the Board?" Of course, not. That's just silly. Such specificity in words aids in our understanding.
The current push to erase gender or sex in language ("birthing persons" instead of "mothers") is a deliberate assault upon the existence of females. Men and women not only exist, they are biologically and physiogically different. Why should we twist language and definitions to deny that? What we must remember is that difference does not mean superiority or inferiority. My husband is superior to me in some things and I am superior to him in others. Sex-based strengths and weaknesses are complementary.
The other post conflates intelligence with morality or good character. I responded to a post decrying former President Trump for declaring Russian President Putin "smart." Putin, I wrote, is highly intelligent, but he's also ruthless and determined to rebuild the Soviet empire. The original poster then responded with a snarky comment to which I responded that intelligence has no bearing upon moral character. Putin's smart, really smart, but he's not a nice man. Intelligence does not confer goodness, nor does goodness correlate with intelligence. One may be totally insane or evil and still be highly intelligent.
One of the things I enjoy about language is its ability to be extremely precise while also allowing for nuance and deeper layers of meaning. Understanding language requires perception and intuition and actually knowing what words mean. This leads to the benefits of a broad vocabulary and the ability to use the one right word that means precisely what you want to say.
Every word counts.
#henhousepublishing #writing #editing
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