by Rod Rivera
Politics is a sphere that extends in the social world and which affects the psyche of an individual or groups. While politics is exercised in terms of power relations among individuals or groups, language plays in that communication of power and in the position of individuals in a social relationship.
The nominative function of language gives us an awareness of an existence, identity or attribute of beings in our social world. The performative function of language allows us to share meanings to the language or words that we use to refer to something, but these meanings that we intend to share are not exactly received and constructed by others as we expected them to be.
We understand things through language. We associate meanings to language through language. We add knowledge to the existing known things through language. We define who we are and who others are to us through language. In a system of deferral we create the world we live in and the realities in our lives through language. We are constructed with that system of the very language we use to identify ourselves.
The man-woman question represents the apostasy of humanity to mutually live in harmony. More so is the pejorative use of language to castrate individuals of their right to be identified as they wanted to be. These then puts language use in a political challenge, so we have terms that are politically correct and incorrect.
Language is socially agreed upon and understood by the individuals or groups sharing its use. The words and the meanings that go with every word become part of a culture’s lexicon and so it represents then for others an understanding of the culture of people using that language. As language is finite at a certain time, by deferral one is led to understand the deeper structures of a culture’s mind, wthin its limitations.
But language is generative, there are some terms that people find pejorative to be acceptable later on. As it is generative, it can also be exclusive or inclusive. To a group of people, a term may be derogatory and so politically incorrect. We fail to understand people and so we subject them to remain powerless when we use pejorative terms that inflicts on thier identity.
For black people, they would not prefer to be called by people of other colors as negroes. The terms carries with it a historical stigma of the slavery and abuse of their rights as human beings. They may be calling each other nigger or niggah, but that is performing an exclusive function of language that works for them to identify with each other.
Faggot is derogatory for many gays. Homo is not a casual term as well that they would accept. But then it depends on how it is said and said by whom. Between gays they may be using these in casual conversations, but of course they would not expect or prefer others to be yanking that word to their face, if it is coming from a chauvinist pig. Watch this video on how language is socially manipulated to affect power relations and soical interactions between people http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s13e12-the-f-word
In the Filipino language, bading is a more obvious acceptable and preferred term rather than bakla. Binabae which others refer to as iffeminate, suggest a weakness and incompleteness. Other terms that generate and used inclusively are vaklush, badingerzhi, and badaf or badafchina to refer to the same bakla. Girlalu and girlash are terms interchangeably used to refer to girls and also Filipino gays. Pamin or paminta are terms interchanged with silahis or silahista to refer to discreet gays and self-proclaimed ‘bisexuals’.
The same case of identifying through language is how deaf poeple would like to be called Deaf with a capital D. As they associate with others they approve more of those who prefer to identify them as Deaf. They believe that having that hearing impairment does not make them any one lesser than others, in fact they do more with such inability to hear. Anyone would like to be identiified as a person and not through any disability.
We used to call people with neurological disorders or psychotic illnesses, psycho or pscyhopath, sometimes crazy or weird. The last two are lighter than be branded as pscyho. What is socially acceptable and politically correct is to refer to them as people or person with such illness (person with psychosis and not psychotic, or person with neurosis and not neurotic). A person is always different from his illness.
In the 1990s, Filipinos where outraged by Oxford’s inclusion of the word Filipina to refer to housemaids who migrated from the Philippines. With this attempt was the inclusion of the term imeldific to refer to grandeous and pompous lifestyle. Imelda Marcos approved of the latter as it signfies to her a prestige, but for the Filipinos the reference of the Filipina as a housemaid is a malicious imputation.
Societies demand propriety in using language. It is not to be abused or used wrongly to malign people, put them in bad light bywrongly identifying them with their illnesses, assumed inability, presumed difference from the norm and many other biases that could stereotype anyone. For all we know, we are all different, and the normal thing that we believe is but our construction of a reality that we created through language.
Language use is different from one culture to another. It is always considerable to adapt one’s use of language to the audience or others who are listening or reading one’s use of language. It is ethical to be mindful in using the language and preferring politically correct terms. In this way the speaker or the writer can win others approval.
The use of politically correct terms are not reserved for the political, but is an expected social behavior. People who understand the subtleties, complexities and implication of language use can expect to be always in social accord with anyone or any group. Simply because it is in that proper use of language that one builds social relationships. The latter may not demand to fill the other’s ears with flowery words, because beyond euphemism, consideration and courtesy will be enough.
- [Blogger] The Marcos question: What makes a hero? – Dekonztruktschon (hronlineph.wordpress.com)
- Political Correctness! (mypoliticalmusings.wordpress.com)
- [Featured blog of the week] “Dekonztruktschon”…by breaking things into smaller parts in order to understand how each part makes the whole. (hronlineph.wordpress.com)
- Featured blog of the week: Dekonztruktschon (hronlineph.wordpress.com)
- [Blogger] K-12 Challenge to Philippine Tertiary Education – Dekonztruktschon (hronlineph.wordpress.com)
- Poor English Proficiency in The Philippines! (socyberty.com)
- Definition of the Day (fellowshipofminds.wordpress.com)
- Birthplace of Language (socyberty.com)
- Why Do You Speak English? (jajajasminecruz.wordpress.com)
- Something we’re all guilty of (leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk)
- Two Deaf Men Stabbed After Sign Language Mistaken For Gang Signs (alternet.org)
- About my culture…………….. (ganthanmanthan.wordpress.com)