Communities identify their members with a number of markers. Physical appearance, fashion, traditions, values, and rituals, are just a few. Language is another. Language, dialect, vocabulary, all point to where we’re from. We can tell where someone is from by what language they speak, their accent, and the words they choose.
Within communities, common language is the marker of unity, similarity, common framework, and understanding. Common language engenders trust. The idea of common language is challenged when language changes, when definitions are fluid, or when it’s co-opted for the sake of control.
It’s not wrong for language to evolve, but the evolution should not become a dividing line among generations. There is work to be done here so we all can continue to speak together.
It’s not wrong for definitions of words to change, but the change should be for greater clarity and not engender confusion. There is work to be done here so we all can continue to communicate clearly.
Finally, IT IS FUNDAMENTALLY WRONG for common language to be co-opted for control because it undermines the bond of trust that language is used to build. If we know this is happening we must test people’s language against their actions before blindly trusting them. That is the work.