Vivek Kulkarni at Stony Brook University in New York is analizing the web for changes in the way language is used.

“That’s a fascinating insight into the evolution of language that shows how our language is changing at every scale and on a wide range of media. “This effect is especially prevalent on the Internet, where the rapid exchange of ideas can change a word’s meaning overnight,” say Kulkarni and co.”



Language change

For example, in the 1950s, the word “gay” was close to words such as “cheerful” and “dapper.” Today, however, it has moved significantly to be closer to words such as “lesbian,” homosexual,” and so on.

Before the 1970s, the word “diet” meant the food consumed by an individual. But after the publication in 1972 of Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution, it took on the additional meaning of a lifestyle of food consumption.

Source: http://www.technologyreview.com/view/532776/linguistic-mapping-reveals-how-word-meanings-sometimes-change-overnight/

In the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1922), Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote that we use old words but with new meanings.tractatus_4027

4.027. It is essential to proposition, that they can communicate a new sense to us.

4.03. A proposition must communicate a new sense with old words.


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