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The written word: evolving?

Lethologica's picture

 In class on thursday we briefly discussed one of the issues inherent in our understanding of any given work or piece of text, especially older ones: the fact is, words evolve just as much as anything else does. The definition of any given word can change over time, but more than that, the connotations of any given word will change over time, and quite quickly. Because of this, when reading just about anything, one must understand and remember that there is no single, definitive meaning  for the words on the page. The connotations of that word might be different for the author than they are for the reader, or even for general society. This problem will often become compounded as time goes on, as the definitions and connotations of the words evolve more and more, until the original connotation of the word, what the author really meant, is lost to the popular, present social connotation of that word. I suppose that I simply found it interesting, that what I get out of a word might be completely different from what the author put in. I guess that this just confirms the idea that it's all relative. 

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