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Reclamation and the Power We Give to Words

Words interest me, which I suppose makes sense given that I do a lot of reading and writing. I’m particularly interested in the power that some words have, how we decide how much power to give them, and what informs our choices about what words to use. The idea of language reclamation seems quite appealing …

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What Is... Series (Insights into Psychology)

What Is… Concept Creep

In this series, I dig a little deeper into the meaning of psychology-related terms. This week’s term is concept creep. The term concept creep was first described by psychologist Nick Haslam in a 2016 paper. He wrote that there’s been semantic expansion (i.e. expanded definitions) of words representing various phenomena, so those words now encompass …

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A Fan-fucking-tastic Word: The Linguistic Versatility of Fuck

While fuck is one of the more aggressive swear words in the English language, there are a lot of other ways to use it, and it’s pretty high in cathartic value if you’ve happened to, say, drop something heavy on your foot. It really is remarkably versatile, even if remains taboo as an imprecation (a …

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How we talk about mental illness: definitions and connotations

How We Talk About Mental Illness: Definitions vs. Connotations

Recent discussions in the blogosphere have got me thinking about the different ways that different people may use the same words. When it comes to mental health conditions, there are technical medical/psychiatric/psychological definitions of terms, but those aren’t necessarily the definitions that people are using in casual conversations. Then there are connotations to words that …

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Is it useful to talk around mental illness?

Is It Helpful to Talk Around Mental Illness?

Mental illness can involve feeling really crappy and having a lot of difficulty functioning. That’s not the experience of everyone with mental illness all of the time, but it’s there in the mix somewhere. Yet sometimes it seems like people want to avoid the ugly bits, and talk around mental illness rather than talking about …

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