Okay! Speaking E-Prime for a whole week can be harder than one might think! Yes, it may be! Or maybe it really is!
"To Be" in Their Bonnets
A matter of semantics
General semantics originated in the work of a Polish engineer, Count Alfred Korzybski, who first spelled out his ideas about language and other symbolic structures in 1933 in his book Science and Sanity. Korzybski had come to the United States in 1915 and eventually became a citizen. In 1938 he established the Institute of General Semantics in Chicago. The institute moved to Lime Rock, Connecticut, late in 1946. (The field has two journals. In 1943 a student of Korzybski's, the noted semanticist and one-term U.S. senator S.I. Hayakawa, founded Et cetera, which currently has about 2,500 subscribers. Korzybski's associate M. Kendig founded the General Semantics Bulletin in 1950.) Explanations of general semantics can become pretty elaborate pretty fast, but the basic idea sounds simple enough. Most of us think of language as something that reflects reality or at least allows us to express our perceptions of reality. Without denying this, general semanticists believe that the very structure of language can influence or distort our perceptions, and they contend that a failure to observe the many ways in which language can do this results in an inability to apprehend the meaning not only of other people's words but of one's own as well. This, of course, causes problems, the size of which can range from the most minor misunderstandings to complete metaphysical disarray, and the problems, naturally, spill over into the realm of behavior. Korzybski himself took a grave view of the actual and potential consequences of "semantic damage." Semanticists observe, tellingly, that the carnage of the First World War powerfully catalyzed Korzybski's thinking.