Developing neologisms is how languages survive, according to research by Ryan Denzer-King at the University of Montana. “If people are going to continue to use a language, they must be able to say what they want to say,” Denzer-King wrote in a 2008 paper. “A language with no word for ‘cell phone’ or ‘computer’ is less likely to be used by younger generations than one which innovates.” These new terms can reference tribal myths in wry ways. Among the Umatilla of Washington, there is a story of a black cloud that hovers over the coyote, foiling the coyote’s schemes by given away his location. Smartphone in Umatilla is thus “the black cloud that is always following.”
related words (frog, pond, slimy, green) are 10% better than
random words (frog, office, risky, taxi), which are 35% better than
similar words (frog, lizard, fish, toad)
When the terms used are English ones, defined in English and seen through the colonial lens, much is lost. If some of our hunting activities are being defined as ‘trapping’ and this definition results in the erosion of our indigenous rights, which has indeed been the case, then it is important for us to challenge these terms.
such a good, quick overview :)
‘”solastalgia,” which describes this phenomenon of ecological sadness’