— 26th August 2004
"Let’s start with "terror." Terror is a general state, and it’s internal to a person. Terror is not the person we’re fighting, the "terrorist." The word terror activates your fear, and fear activates the strict father model, which is what conservatives want. The "war on terror" is not about stopping you from being afraid, it’s about making you afraid.
from an interview with George Lakoff who is by all accounts a linguist. I linked it from technosophia too but I thought I’d mention it again here because I think sums up quite neatly not just the problem with the language which is currently used but also about the power and purpose of language in general.
Political correctness gets bad press because it gives the impression of a hyper-sensitivity in the advocate. Surely reasonable people don’t need their language to be policed in order to avoid offence. People can see pejudice and bias when it is intended and when it’s not they shouldn’t have to tiptoe around the subjects they want to talk about.
So it’s important to counter those arguments with clear and rational thinking like the above. These things do matter and they matter more and more because this kind of use of language is not accidental. The language we use affects the way we think.
...here endeth the lesson ;-)