Re: words

Robert W Barnett (
Wed, 26 Mar 1997 13:38:17 -0600


You make an interesting point when you say that certain words helped you
find your place in the field. Perhaps learning these convoluted terms is
a part of our initiation into our specific discourse communities (oops,
there I go). Being immersed in a community and exposed to its
"specialized" language seems to be a necessary step in becoming a
participating (or lurking) member of that community, whether we like it
or not.

The question is, perhaps, what do we do with all of the fancy terms once
we feel fully a part of our specific communities? Do we
continue using them as if to show everyone we know what we are talking
about? Do we throw these words into our dialogue to see whose feathers
are brightest and most elegant? Or do we abandon them for more common
terms, phrases, etc. that allow us to speak not only to members of our
own discourse community, but to members of other communities as well?

My experience has also been that the lingo I use when
writing articles dictates, to some extent, where I probably will or will not
submit/publish certain pieces.

Bob Barnett
U. of Michigan-Flint



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