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LINGUIST List 25.668

Sat Feb 08 2014

Qs: Generalized Symbolic Innovation

Editor for this issue: Alex Isotalo <alxlinguistlist.org>

Date: 06-Feb-2014
From: Leah Sheline <leah.shelinegmail.com>
Subject: Generalized Symbolic InnovationGeneralized Symbolic Innovation
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I am interested in a specific type of linguistic manipulation in which a person adopts new terminology and applies it to his/her existing behavior/process in order deceive others into believing that some real change is occurring.

This is intended to lead others to believe that some real innovation has occurred, when in fact the only change is in the language used to describe the behavior. In specific contexts, such as the acceptance of new technology, some have termed a similar behavior ''symbolic innovation'' but it does not seem to be a general concept of human behavior that is applied to any case.

It seems that politicians, business leaders, and others do this frequently, and even if there is no general term for this linguistic sleight of hand, any scholarly literature on this would be appreciated.


Linguistic Field(s): Cognitive Science
                            Discourse Analysis
                            Pragmatics
                            Semantics
                            Sociolinguistics

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