Coincidence and irony. Some thoughts about the evolution of language

#1
So as most of us are aware, the misuse of the word 'irony' is rampant. Every funny little coincidence is labeled as ironic anymore and most people no longer know the true definition of it. My question is that if enough people misuse it for a long enough time, does/will that change the definition of irony?

Notable examples of words that have changed meanings over time that are not slang:

Artificial
Nice
Awful
Brave
Manufacture
Counterfeit

And most recently: Gay.

Thoughts?
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#3
You should add emotive hardcore to the list.

OT: I do not believe that the definition of the word irony should change just because people cannot get it right.
#5
if its awful, it isnt very good, if itis awesome it is very good. if my gas tank is full, its very good, if there is only some gas left, its not very good.
#6
Words have no inherent value or essence past the meaning people give them. If the majority of people who speak a language start using a word to mean something different than what it used to mean, then the definition of the word will have changed.
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#7
Quote by blake1221
You should add emotive hardcore to the list.

OT: I do not believe that the definition of the word irony should change just because people cannot get it right.



But we use those words in the OP and their modern definitions aren't at all what they used to mean. In fact, some, like 'awful', now mean the exact opposite.
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#8
This thread topic seems artificial. It's nice of you to think outside the box, but some people are going to say some awful things, but I bet you're brave enough to withstand it. People are going to manufacture some counterfeit arguments that will be just plain gay.
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#9
Quote by StewieSwan
My question is that if enough people misuse it for a long enough time, does/will that change the definition of irony?

Eventually, probably. That won't happen though, because irony is a literary tool that is taught in schools at a level where it is compulsory to understand. That makes it pretty much impossible to have the widespread ignorance and stupidity that is a requirement for the definition to change.
#11
Gay: StewieSwan

Cool and totally not gay: me

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#12
How has artificial changed? Honestly just curious.
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#14
Quote by StewieSwan
But we use those words in the OP and their modern definitions aren't at all what they used to mean. In fact, some, like 'awful', now mean the exact opposite.


Good point. I don't know, I don't really agree with the change, but if it happens it happens. It does happen, obviously, so there's no point in trying to fight it. I just won't contribute to it myself.
#15
Quote by JohnnyGenzale
How has artificial changed? Honestly just curious.



Used to mean 'full of artistic or technical skill'


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Gay: StewieSwan

Cool and totally not gay: me



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Last edited by StewieSwan at Nov 30, 2011,
#16
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#18
I'm curious what the original definitions of the words in the OP were.

I think that words are given meaning by the people who use them. Otherwise, they are merely a collection of sounds. If an overwhelming majority of people uses the word "ironic" to express something other than its original meaning, then its meaning will change over time.

Having said that, I think irony is not an easy concept to grasp. While I agree that it is often misused, I find it difficult to accurately determine what is and what is not ironic.
#19
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#20
I think it will take a lot more to change "irony" because it's more of a concept, while the others that TS listed are more descriptors.
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#21
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Right back at you sweetheart/

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#22
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Because I realised that had no context in this thread.

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#23
Quote by StewieSwan
So as most of us are aware, the misuse of the word 'irony' is rampant. Every funny little coincidence is labeled as ironic anymore and most people no longer know the true definition of it. My question is that if enough people misuse it for a long enough time, does/will that change the definition of irony?

Notable examples of words that have changed meanings over time that are not slang:

Artificial
Nice
Awful
Brave
Manufacture
Counterfeit

And most recently: Gay.

Thoughts?

2+2=5
#24
Quote by StewieSwan
imaDICK.jpg


...modes and scales are still useless.


Quote by PhoenixGRM
Hey guys could you spare a minute to Vote for my band. Go to the site Search our band Listana with CTRL+F for quick and vote Thank you .
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Voted for Patron Çıldırdı.

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#25
That's exactly how language changes. The only time it's ever even thought of as a problem is when the word has an established, precise, niche definition (irony) or when it's how someone refers to themselves becoming an insult (gay)--you'll notice the opposite isn't true there (nigga).

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#26
Quote by Extra Ordinary
2+2=5



This is completely different.
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#29
Quote by Extra Ordinary
Enough people believed it. It then became true.

There's social constructivism, and that applies to language, and then there's moronic hyperbole. 2 + 2 = 5 can only become "true because enough people believed it" if we started counting 1, 2, 3, 5, 4, 6, 7... You'll notice that's a language change.

[IN PHIL WE TRUST]


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#30
Quote by Extra Ordinary
Enough people believed it. It then became true.

Math is different than language.
^^The above is a Cryptic Metaphor^^


"To know the truth of history is to realize its ultimate myth and its inevitable ambiguity." Everything is made up and the facts don't matter.


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#31
Quote by SteveHouse
There's social constructivism, and that applies to language, and then there's moronic hyperbole. 2 + 2 = 5 can only become "true because enough people believed it" if we started counting 1, 2, 3, 5, 4, 6, 7... You'll notice that's a language change.

Good point.
#32
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Math is different than language.


Meth is different than language as well.
#33
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I'm gay.


sigged
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theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#34
If the definition of the word irony changes, the concept currently called irony will still exist, so another word or group of words will be needed to describe it, and that need will most likely be met.
#36
Quote by Hoodoo Man
If the definition of the word irony changes, the concept currently called irony will still exist, so another word or group of words will be needed to describe it, and that need will most likely be met.

True.
Quote by StewieSwan
Notable examples of words that have changed meanings over time that are not slang:

...

And most recently: Gay.

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