Sunday, April 29, 2018

Language Change

Teachers in the 1960's put a lot of energy into making sure we didn't say "kids" in polite company.  "Kids are baby goats." I still have some awareness of that and will switch to children in some situations, especially with an older audience. It seemed a bit silly then.  It would be ridiculous to insist on it in any but the most formal discourse now, such as a research paper.

I am still quite restricted in my use of "crap," which used to first mean feces and only secondarily rubbish, extraneous material. Those are reversed, and if the word is still not quite polite, it is used in a greater range of situations.

I have adapted somewhat in my use of both words, but the greater change is in the percentage of the population which finds them objectionable. As schoolteachers trained in the 1950's (who were themselves trained by instructors born before 1920) die off, those with serious objections become fewer.

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