Why Words?

By @TkThtEtymology

Hi Kids. I’m Take That Etymology, and I’d like to talk to you about the exciting field of linguistics and how it’s abused by creationists, new agers, and other people that like to make shit up. With all the science denial that goes around the Take That scene, where do words come in? I had two major claims as inspiration for starting Take That Etymology. First off is The Uni-Verse Thing – as I like to think of it, my Monkey Question. Stay tuned for more on this from myself and @SuckItEvolution, but the basic claim is: “Uni” means “one” or “single” “Verse” means [spoken|written]|[word|sentence|phrase] ∴This proves that the universe was created by God saying “Let There Be Light.” This is both the most common repeated word-related claim that I see and the ultimate expression of etymology abuse in that it is the perfect storm of:

  • Completely untrue
  • Assuming a mystical meaning of word origins to reality
  • Completely ignorant of languages with differing etymologies

My second favorite claim is that “religion” means “binding back”, which is applied in a variety of different ways for various arguments. It’s not quite as much of a perfect storm, as it’s possibly true (the word’s ultimate etymology is uncertain) but somewhat misconstrued even if this is the correct etymology. It gets combined with the amusing meme that “ isn’t a religion; it’s just THE TRUTH” often enough to make it my second favorite. But this is just the beginning of the wide world of linguistic abuse. People find hidden meanings everywhere, from overt claims of numerology and shadowy organizations creating words to control our minds with lies to sideways arguments by play-on-words. The possibilities are endless.

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3 thoughts on “Why Words?

  1. suckitevolution May 20, 2015 / 1:54 pm

    Great post, TTE!

    I especially appreciate your point #2: “Assuming a mystical meaning of word origins to reality”. For the most part, I’ve been treating the word play of our “target audience”, up until now, as being no more than dishonest or deluded sophistry. But you’re right: many undoubtedly are imparting some sort of magical properties to their peculiar use (and abuse) of words. I’d never really considered that before, but from now will include that in my analysis toolbox!

    Thanks again for the great post on this topic.

    ~ SIE

    Like

    • TakeThatAccounts May 20, 2015 / 3:42 pm

      There’s a fair number of my Specimens who are overt about this – “It’s called spelling because words cast spells” is one of my other repeat offender tweets, and not the only example – but it’s underlying in almost all argument-by-etymology instances.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Esteban Graincruncher July 14, 2015 / 5:35 pm

    There’s an absolutely absurd number of people who seem to combine to idiotic beliefs:

    1) How a word is used now is entirely dependent on its etymological origins.
    2) You can define reality into your preferred arrangement.

    It’s the underlying ‘reasoning’ that the cosmological argument stands on. If I were ever to have to pick a TTx topic, it’d be the sodding cosmological argument and the army of derping thunderbuttocks who proudly parp it out at the slightest provocation.

    Like

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