Our language has gotten less reasonable and more emotional says a study by researchers at Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and Indiana University. The study—"The rise and fall of rationality in language," published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America—found that the past several decades have seen a shift from the language of rationality to the language of emotion. Duh! I could have told them that prior to the study.
The study’s co-author, Ingrid van de Leemput, said "Whatever the drivers, our results suggest that the post-truth phenomenon is linked to a historical seesaw in the balance between our two fundamental modes of thinking: Reasoning versus intuition.”
According to a report on reason.com, “The researchers looked at the language used in millions of English and Spanish-language books published between 1850 and 2019, analyzing the use of 5,000 frequently used words. The rise of reasoning words like determine and conclusion and the decline of intuitive words like feel and believe could be seen starting around 1850 and lasting until the late 20th century. But over the past 40 years, this trend reversed, as words associated with intuition and emotion were used more frequently and words associated with fact-based arguments were used less frequently.” Especially by Democrats and “progressives.”
The way things are going, I wouldn’t be surprised if one day soon most of us communicate solely by emojis.
Or even by grunts and other primitive auditory clues.
So much for Shakespeare.
When facts are deemed “misinformation,” reason is considered racist, and speaking the truth is grounds for getting “cancelled”—or worse—it is no surprise that our language has been similarly degraded and stripped of meaning.
Ask a conservative why this has come to pass, and he or she might say: “Why? It is because, sadly, many people have lost the ability to reason, to process information logically.”
Ask a progressive the same question and you will likely hear: “Why? Like, you know fucking why you racist pig! Like, holy fucking shit, man, Trump supporters, like, loosed this deadly pandemic on us because they hate marginalized peoples!!! And, like, the world’s gonna end in ten years anyway ‘cuz it’s just gonna burn up ‘cuz of fossil fuels and Big Oil!! And the unvaccinated, man, like they should just do the rest of us a favor and die ‘cuz they are heartless and don’t care about others!!!!! Like, no shit, I’m serious, dude!”