Language Posts Revisited

December 4, 2009
Posted by Jay Livingston

1. Last month, I noted that although Gemeinschaft was usually translated as community, the English word has been stretched to include groups that were much larger that what old Tönnies had in mind.

How large can a group be and still be a community? Oh, I don’t know. How about 350 million?
If you logged in to your facebook page today, you saw this at the top of the page:
Facebook has just reached 350 million users and will soon be making some changes to serve our growing community.
2. Back in April, I suggested that phrasing something in the positive made it easier to understand. Negative constructions invite confusion, and the more negatives you use, the harder it becomes to figure out the meaning. An op-ed piece in the Washington Post last month centered on “this most basic culinary question: Is eating personal?”

Good question. Here’s how the author, James McWilliams answers it:
“So it's hard to avoid concluding that eating cannot be personal.”
I still can’t figure out what he means.

1 comment:

Aftersox said...

Could 'community' be redefined by connective distance? All 350 million facebook users are but a short note and friending away.

Otherwise, I agree. It's an almost ironic use of the word with 350 million. Facebook is actually a complex layering of different communities.