Monday, June 17, 2013

The word "Liberal" is typically used in a gramatically incorrect way

I can't control the way language is used or the way it develops.  I can point out grammatical errors that others make and they can point out grammatical errors I make, either to ridicule each other or to help each other become better writers and speakers. 

The movies often used grammatical and pronunciation errors for comic relief, but, this isn't comic relief.  This is real and serious and frightening and hilarious all at the same time.

Typically people won't care about facts, challenge their use of words and they will just become angry and defensive ridiculing anyone who dares to challenge their use of vernacular. 

There are occasions when people, in general, begin using terms that are grammatically nonsensical and I occasionally find this hilarious.

The word liberal comes from the Greek (maybe it is the Latin, can't remember exactly but that really doesn't matter) root Liber, meaning "free".  It is actually a very nice word.  When combined with the suffix al, meaning "other than" or "related to", we create a word, Liberal, meaning "related to free".

Strictly speaking Liberal does not refer to a person, but, a state or concept.  We can have a "Liberal Idea" or an idea related to the concept of "free".  We can have a "Liberal Education" or an education related to "free thinking" or "open thinking".

Strictly speaking a person involved in exploring "free", "free thought", "open ideas" would called a Liber-ist.  Strictly speaking if we call a person a "liberalist" that person would be "a person other than free".

But, language is not ruled by grammar.  Language is ruled by popular opinion and so grammatical corruptions such as the use of the word "liberal" to describe a persons belief come into popular use.  These grammatical corruptions become popular language and people use them in the most ridiculous fashion.  Linguistic experts have even thought to define dialects of English based on grammatical corruptions into a separate language called "Ebonics".

Now think about that for a minute. A Global Political Movement claiming superior education, intelligence and understanding which defines itself using a grammatically corrupted word worthy of Ebonics.

I find that pretty hilarious.

It actually becomes even better because there are other grammatical corruptions like “neoconservative”. Neo means “new”, Con means “together”, Serve means “take care of” or “maintain”, Ative means “those who work to” so “neoconcervative” means “new together we work to care for” or “new together we maintain”. Pretty stupid sounding word.

People who cringe at the misuse of “who” and “whom” or “then” and “than” will expound thoughtlessly using terms like Liberal and Neoconservative.

I find it frighteningly ridiculously, as if Leo Gorcy of the “Bowery Boys” has been training political commentators. At least Leo Gorcy usually played a happy, harmless kind of guy.

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