Who owns language?

Everyday my Twitter timeline contains instructions how to speak. This week it was ‘stigma’, ‘discharge’, ‘commit’ (which is a standing item in such discussions), ‘patient’ and probably a few others which I don’t remember.  So, I started wondering who owns language and, more particularly, who has the right to tell me how to speak.

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Reality outside language, anyone?

A few days ago, I entered into yet another discussion about ‘language of medicine’, brought about by a tweet about ‘language shaping culture’, and in particular about the word ‘provider’ which is used to describe doctors. The thread contained a reference to another article which had taken up exactly the same issue. The authors don’t like the word ‘provider’ and say that the new language of medicine must be changed. I think they have it upside down.

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Why I keep using the ‘ń’

When I arrived in the United Kingdom all these years ago, I faced a problem I had not thought of.  The problem was of what name I would be using. Dariusz Galasiński, the way I pronounce and write it, very quickly appeared not to be an option….And so, I immediately started anglicising the names. Dariusz became Darius, Galasiński lost palatalisation and acquired the non-palatalised ‘s’ and ‘n’ and Bob became my uncle. Who needs palatalising anyway?!

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