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"Loading the language" is a manipulative technique for persuasion, public relations, marketing, and political advocacy. At its core is nonstandard vocabulary: new words or phrases, or use of words and phrases in ways that are outside their traditional meaning.

For example:

Loading the language provides, at best, a short-term benefit to the perpetrator. Once the new usage of the word or phrase becomes standard, the connotations are lost. So many "homes" have been bought and sold that the original meaning has largely been lost, so the term no longer invokes the desired warm, fuzzy feeling.

There is a loss to the community with such usages, because of the confusion that comes with imprecise usage. Recovering cult members are an extreme example, in that they often have difficulty communicating complex ideas to others because of their extensive reliance on nonstandard meanings.

Loaded langauge differs from euphemisms in that euphemisms are used to avoid a distasteful subject, while the goals of loading the language are more subtle.

I'm not sure that there is such a loss to the community from Loaded Language. Language is an odd beast, and tends to redirect around "damage" if the speaking community requires it. Loading the Language is probably more correctly a form of language evolution. At any rate, Most languages embrace imprecise language usage anyway, seeing as it allows people to build new meanings with old words. We love to play with words, and though some of us are uncomfortable with it, it's an important way of expanding the language. Making up new words is hard - far better to use the words we already have.

Language is not some static entity, it is in a constant state of flux. If Language users feel the need to use more precise terms, they'll fairly quickly come up with some from the language they have. If "baby" encompasses "foetus", people will choose to use "unborn baby" to distinguish. We don't often lose concepts just because the words become fuzzy.

Of course, other than this I agree with the article's tone. -- LeeDavisThalbourne


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