Saturday, October 18, 2008

Weekend Repost: Building or Landscape (Semantics)

Two months have past. I know but I got too ambitious and found I was too busy to maintain a blog. But not too busy to look at others.

arkhi, chief + tekton, builder

So, I recently filled out a form that asked what my industry was. I looked for Landscape Architecture but it wasn't there and I looked under Architecture and it had two subheadings: Building or Landscape.

Now I find this interesting and I think that this language should be used more often. The next time someone says they are an Architect I will ask "Building or Landscape?" When I refer to what most people call Architects I will call them Building Architects. I plan to make this a normalcy in my vocabulary. After all both Building Architects and Landscape Architects are chief builders of their respective fields of the "Built Environment" A landscapes are often built just as buildings are.

My girlfriend, who is getting her masters in linguistics, always calls me on the use of terms and reminds that words are ever-changing. For example "orientate" was not a word until recently(Got a dictionary over a few years old? Look it up.), the correct term is orient but there is a growing misunderstanding that the root words for ALL words with the suffix -ation usually have the root suffix -ate. Hence Orientation causes Orient to become Orientate. Don't buy it? More examples... Conversation makes Converse become Conversate. Registration makes Register become Registrate. ( I actually expected orientate to have a red underline (indicating a misspell) when i typed this but it didn't causing me to change some terms on my post. (conversate and registrate still have red underlines)

The use of terms also change the way we think. In the past under forms, Hispanics were considered white when marking "white or colored" Asians were also grouped under one heading and even STILL we are often told to "mark only one". The differentiation of races is also a linguistic battle. Because Hispanics were no longer considered white a new minority was developed and it also helped to perpetuate prejudices because they are now "different". On the other hand this helped with the Asian cause because instead of grouping all Asians and assuming that their cultures, languages, and customs are all the same by using semantics on forms to differentiate Asians it is helping people understand that there are major differences (No, I don't speak Asian)

Architect is to Landscape Architect and Building Architect
Asian is to Korean and Chinese

So what I am trying to do is change the way we speak which will thus hopefully change the way we think. Architect and Architecture are the Suffixes, Building and Landscape are the Prefixes. Building Architects can't (or at least shouldn't) do landscapes and Landscape Architects can't (or at least shouldn't) do buildings.

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