‘Equivalent’ Emotional Concepts May Not be Identical Across Languages/Cultures:
’The true meaning of words may be lost in translation, according to research suggesting the way people understand terms such as “anger” or “love” differs between languages.
For example, while the concept of “love” is closely linked to “like” and “want” in Indo-European languages, it is strongly linked to “pity” in Austronesian languages – a family that includes Hawaiian and Javanese.
“Even though we might say there is a word for anger in hundreds of languages, these words actually might not mean the same thing,” said Joshua Conrad Jackson, co-author of the research from University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.…’
Via The Guardian
In our post-truth world, language has become more overtly dangerous, and this can be both bad or good:
’[S]ometimes it seems as though the one thing more frightening than a lone gunman (and it isn’t a young person responding to your well-intentioned life advice with “ok boomer”) is a random bunch of people who have banded together in some common cause. When this common cause is being aggrieved against someone’s problematic behavior, and results in “calling out,” silencing or boycotting the problematic behavior, we now call this “cancelling” someone. And the tendency toward this kind of behavior is called “cancel culture.”
Is the destructive power of cancel culture too much?
Perhaps more than anything else, cancel culture will be seen as an intrinsic part of life lived publicly in this decade, with the downfall of powerful Hollywood producers, racist and sexist comedians, white supremacists, and clueless corporations left in its wake. Cancel culture, not unlike cyberbullying, has also had its more “innocent” victims, ordinary citizens who said the unacceptable thing in a public forum. Is the destructive power of cancel culture too much?…’
Via JSTOR Daily
…and the bad news about good news:
Jason Kottke points to year-end lists of the good news that you may have missed (since it’s a truism that “good news doesn’t sell newspapers”). But he cautions us not to be misled by focusing too much on good news. The so-called New Optimists, led by Steven Pinker, delight in pointing out the data that there is less human misery now, by many measures, than ever before in history. But Kottke reminds us that there are good reasons to be cautious of such claims. A long piece by Oliver Burkeman in The Guardian suggests that, even if things are going well, we may not have reason for confidence either in the likelihood of continued improvement or in the ways we have been doing things politically and economically. Kottke links to several other critiques of Pinker’s work as well. (And all without any apology for being such a Downer Debbie.)