A Word on People

Do you wonder how the expectation of the words we use as writers?

Take people, for instance. Normally it means humans, but is that only because we haven’t met other species yet? Sometimes I find I need new words, or at least new connotations, in my science fiction.

We have limitations in our language because of our experiences. Other species, other creatures, other intelligences inhabit the imagination, but until they’re actually found, or someone writes a convincing story from another point of view, we lack words to describe some things. Making do seems the only good course.

Heinlein created a word in his book, Stranger in a Strange Land. I can’t say everyone knows it today, the word ‘grok‘ that the Martians had, but it is in the dictionary as the link shows. That’s a sign of success, influencing enough of the population to change language in that way.

To think, most people measure success by dollar signs.

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2 Comments

  1. Sarah said,

    28 February 2009 at 08:06

    I would LOVE to someday have that kind of influence on language! How amazing would it be to have some little thing that came out of your head wind up in the dictionary, as an ongoing part of the language. Talk about a legacy!

    (Glad I could provide the topic 😉 )

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