New Ways of Thinking and Revolutionary Common Sense
Is It "Just Semantics"?
Are semantics important? You bet they are. The words we use and the meanings we attach to words create attitudes, drive social policies and laws, influence our feelings, direct our decisions, affect people’s daily lives, and more.
“Oh, it’s just semantics,” is a commonly-heard response when people disagree on language, concepts, or ideas. When this phrase is spoken, the speaker isn’t simply sharing an opinion. When coupled with a dismissive wave of the hand, “it’s just semantics” is a weapon used to shred the value and the validity of another person’s words . . .
At a conference a few years ago, a presenter discussed a possible change in the “mental retardation” descriptor. A parent angrily interjected, “My 35-year-old daughter is retarded. Changing the word won’t change that—call a spade a spade!” His unspoken message seemed to be, “It’s just semantics!”
Semantics has been given a bad rap. Some people seem to use the word to imply, “What difference does it make which word we use?” And I find that very interesting. Click here to continue.