Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913) is one of the founding fathers of SEMIOTICS, the study of the processes of signs, symbols and communication. It's a branch of linguistics, which is the scientific study of natural language. According to semiotics, the meaning of language or verbal signs, comes from the codes surrounding that language. Such codes can include body language of the speaker, including attitude, facial expression and tone. But before any speaker of verbal signs can wield the weapon of language, the general community must be in agreement about the meaning of a verbal sign or word.
So, it is only because the general community accepts the word "bling" as a verbal sign meaning flashy jewelry that such a word, first coined in 1996, can even be used. A word like bling is hardly a weapon though. However, words like whore are another story.
We tend to forget the power we give to language, forget that language isn't just about conveying our wants and needs--but that language, as representative-signs of ideas, can be as deadly as any other man-made weapon.
To some degree, we are all trapped by language, a prison we've constructed ourselves, even if it's a prison without walls.
And the suffering can be great at the expense of language. If someone uses the language of cheater in association with your person, whether it is true or not, whether it is deserved or not, you will always be approached with more caution. You will never be viewed without bias. It's a Scarlet Letter. A branding. Words aren't just empty. They don't just float into the ether. They are powerful. They control us...even if it is us that utter them.
Language has us all trapped in a conundrum. But it can also illuminate; it can also elevate; it can also empower. And all of that contributes to the complexity of the language problem.
Until next time, dearest readers, use your language wisely....