How Words Change Meaning

 
 
 
 
Changes in the meaning of words often empower or oppress others. We might look to Naylor's depiction of the word "nigger" to see how words can serve to empower or impress. Racial slurs are often used to wound or shame. The word "nigger" was often used by whites toward African Americans in such a manner. However, despite the word "nigger" having this negative impact on others that is oppressive, subcultures that experience such oppression often become empowered by such words by co-opting them for their own use. As Naylor (p. 1) maintains, "The spoken word, like the written word, amounts to a nonsensical arrangement of sounds or letters without a consensus that assigns śmeaning.'" This analysis will show that more often than not subcultures are able to become empowered by changing the "meaning" of words originally intended to oppress them.

The use of the word "nigger" is considered racist when people other than African Americans use the word. The word is often used as a way of shaming or humiliating African Americans when used in this manner, something that serves to oppress them as a subculture. However, Naylor (p. 2) explains that in her childhood environment the word "nigger" was use "but it was set within contexts and inflections that caused it to register in my mind as something else." For example, in the context of her classroom, the word was insulting and considered "bad." Saying that "nigger," a real slacker, is not p

     
 
 
 
    

 

Related Essays

How Words Change Meaning How Words Change Meaning. How Words Change Meaning Introduction Changes in the meaning of words often empower or oppress others. .... (834 3 )

Use of Words .... which people want to eliminate or change--regression, lies .... These words are not losing power because their .... different people are questioning the meaning of the .... (808 3 )

The Bluest Eye .... but that would not provide the change in personality .... Play, Jane, play" (Morrison 7). The meaning is simple .... without punctuation and runs the words together as .... (1361 5 )

Linguistics and Semiotics .... a potentially infinite system of signs through which we make meaning. .... t-shirts or carrying banners that proudly hail "change." We all use words to define .... (719 3 )

Jacob's Name Change in Genesis .... In other words, the tightness and symmetry of God's .... Jacob first hears of his name change and asks .... preachers to derive and convey theological meaning from the .... (1949 8 )


Category: Psychology - H
 
 
 
Common Topics
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Click Here to Get Instant Access to over 32,000 Professionally Written Papers!!!
 
 
 
Join Now  
 
 
 
 
 
Saved Papers  
 
 
Save your essays here so you can locate them quickly!
 
 
 
Testimonials  
 
"Thank you for making such a high quality site! Your papers are the best I have seen around"
Debbie B.
 
"Your site was very helpful and gave me the details I needed in order to complete my essay!!!"
Mike F.
 
"This site is an excellent vehicle for quick referrences. Thanks a bunch!"
Carla T.
 
"Great site, I got a lot of new ideas I would have never thought of before."
Nate A.
 
"I love this site!!!"
Marie H.
 
 
 
 
Copyright © 2007 - 2014 Lots of Essays. All Rights Reserved. DMCA