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Re: Evolution of Language



Ed Summer wrote:

> There has been a lot of ruckus about "raptor" in which the
> scientifically correct definition has been put forth as the only
> standard. These popular misappropriations are particularly grating on
> the nerves of dedicated people, but what I'm suggesting is that there is
> some inevitability to all this.  Android, a venerable science fiction
> term, was "fuzzied" up to "Droid:"  words evolve all the time and get
> their meanings shifted.

Sorry, Ed, but you've missed the point. Raptor is already a common term
(*not* a scientific term) in science for birds of prey. Your example above
is not analogous. Allowing the use of "raptor" to mean dromaeosaur does
nothing but lead to confusion. Language is also about economy of
communication: raptors is more concise than birds of prey. How can I have a
discussion with school age children and use the word raptor (in its correct
sense) and not confuse the hell out them if they think I'm talking about
dromaeosaurs? Why should I have to keep explaining this every time I give a
talk? Why should I have to give up a perfectly acceptable, long-standing
common term in favor of one invading from pop culture? And read my article
RAPTOR WRONG again. What about _Eoraptor_, _Conchoraptor_, _Sinraptor_, and
_Oviraptor_? Where do they fit into the "raptor family" of dinosaurs?
Sorry, I can't give in on this one. The evolution of language is a given,
but in this case, I think it's just an excuse for sloppiness.

Brian (franczak@ntplx.net)