October 14: bowing to the synchronic

Language is is fraught with difficulties. As an individual I want to use my own words. I don’t want to say yo or yay; I want to say hiya. I don’t want to say the movies; I want to say the pictures. I don’t want to be the slave of the on trend. These are the words of my youth; they are part of me. I am living the language diachronically, through time. But some words you cannot live diachronically; you have to live them synchronically, as though they are only of today. I cannot say the word darkie for black person even though it was a word my mum used for all the right reasons and also a term I remember Muhammed Ali using. Today we are forced by our culture (which is more powerful than us, and rightly so) to use the term person of colour, even though this term makes no sense to me, as if the two blocks in the world are white people and others. We must, however, bow to the stupid synchronic.

What I can do perhaps is maintain a critical discourse on usage, whilst remaining in its thrall.


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