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Sindriss

The Deep Gate literally unreadable!

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23 hours ago, Network57 said:

Oh my gosh, it's almost as if language changes over time!

Sure... but it cases like this, it shouldn't because it makes the language far less efficient.

The word 'literally' exists for one reason and one reason only:  as a way to clarify a statement that could otherwise be nebulous in its meaning.

As a ridiculous example, if a friend texted you "I'm dying here", you'd assume that they were fine but being dramatic.  If they texted "I'm literally dying here", the proper response would be to call 911 (and later ask them why they didn't call 911 instead of texting you).  However, with the bastardization of the word 'literally', you'd now have to take the extra time to text them back and ask "Wait... are you literally... um... actually, really dying or just being dramatic!?!" and wait for a response, losing precious moments that the ambulance could be using to get to your dying friend (assuming they know how to use proper fricking English!).  :)

Edited by KBlumhardt

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9 hours ago, ColinEdwards said:

Actually, that's literally ironic, yah? (Or is it just hypothetically ironic?)

I don't think so?  Who knows, since nobody really understands irony anyway...  😆

Edited by KBlumhardt

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2 hours ago, KBlumhardt said:

Maybe by some... but I'd argue most people who abuse 'literally' do it simply out of habit or because they've heard so many other people use it and don't really understand what it is actually supposed to mean.

Which is how language evolves! Unless you're the sort of person who insist that "sinister" means "left-handed."

2 hours ago, KBlumhardt said:

As a ridiculous example, if a friend texted you "I'm dying here", you'd assume that they were fine but being dramatic.  If they texted "I'm literally dying here", the proper response would be to call 911 (and later ask them why they didn't call 911 instead of texting you).  However, with the bastardization of the word 'literally', you'd now have to take the extra time to text them back and ask "Wait... are you literally... um... actually, really dying or just being dramatic!?!" and wait for a response, losing precious moments that the ambulance could be using to get to your dying friend (assuming they know how to use proper fricking English!).  :)

If context clues aren't enough, then we'll come up with a new word to mean "not figurative at all," which will eventually be used ironically until it, too, means the exact opposite of what it once did, and so the cycle continues. In the mean time, I advise coming up with secret code words with your friends that you can use to indicate serious talk. As the words are secret, they'll be immune to linguistic drift; plus, they'll come in handy if you need to identify an impostor or engage in spontaneous BDSM.

(Also, "literally unreadable" is a play off "literally unplayable," which is a slang term used to point out typos or inconsequential bugs in video games.)

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3 hours ago, rsdockery said:

Which is how language evolves! Unless you're the sort of person who insist that "sinister" means "left-handed."

This is much more akin to insisting that 'left-handed' does NOT mean 'right-handed', no matter how much some people insist it's simply "language evolving".

Again, I choose to believe this is no more permanent than when we were young and dumb and used 'bad' to mean 'good'.  No matter how much people loved the Michael Jackson song, when was the last time you heard someone say "Whoa... those are some bad shoes you have there!" as a compliment?

Edit:  Besides, southpaws are pretty much the devil, so yeah... sinister... left-handed... same difference.  😉  (I kid!  I kid!)

 

Edited by KBlumhardt

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The words black and bleach have near opposite meanings but the same etymology. Why is that not something we care about anymore? Because that change happened centuries ago. And centuries from now, the word "literally" will have two completely opposite meanings but nobody will care because language changes and that's OK.

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