The loss of a shared vocabulary

Recently I heard someone say, “All words are made up.” Well, technically, yes. All words have an origin, and words are just used to convey something else. The word rock isn’t a rock. The thing, “rock”, is the rock. Some philosopher somewhere definitely went into this. I’m guessing Wittgenstein, but I’ve yet to read any of his work.

Anyway, something that I was thinking about is when technology moves us past the meaning of certain words. Nearly no one has a wired, cradled phone landline in the house any longer, but we still say “hang up the phone”. I don’t hear “tune in” as much anymore, but it is still common enough, though we know longer tune a television to a channel.

That just leaves me wondering, what bits of our lexicon will the next technological achievements make obsolete?


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