Pragmatics - Answers.com: The study of language as it is used in a social context, including its effect on the interlocutors.
Consider one's specific choice of words when posting at an online forum or writing an email. Some of us are aware, for better or worse, that the words we use could express something more other than their simple meaning or what would appear to be their intended meaing. I think posters and email writers are aware of this and choose to be tactful or not tactful for whatever their reasons may be.
Would anyone like to comment or add an opinion here?
Would anyone like to post some contrasting examples to demonstrate how even a minor alteration in one's choice of words can have a subtle, yet notable, effect on how a reader could interpret written expression?
Also, if you sincerely believe that this notion is of no value at all, please, do say so as well. I'm listening. The world is listening.
It doesn't happen often, but it could take years, at times, before one finally finds the correct words to say something. I could easily paraphrase all of the above down to a few words in one or two sentences, but that might not sound very polite.
Last edited by PROESL; 07-Aug-2009 at 16:43. Reason: spelling error
While the initial consideration here is one's chosen form of expression in written language, it's impossible to not consider spoken language as well.
These days people often refer to a problem as an issue. Whether spoken or written, "issue" is the safer choice, though sometimes it may seem to be a strange choice. Consider the following:
There are some issues with that copy machine.
Do you think it makes sense to say that a copy machine has issues?
What if someone said "What is your issue?" Would it make sense?
There are some issues to resolve in the customer service department?
issue: West's Encyclopedia of American Law (Full Article) from Answers.com
So once again, the world is listening and reading.
The point is that it is too direct to say "problem". One would not like to say that the machines this person's company supplies and services could ever have "problems".
So where it has been common practice, informally as noted in the AHD, to use "issues" when speaking of one's personal problems or difficulties, it now also seems to be commonplace to apply the word "issue" to material items such as a copier. This, as I said, is done in order to not draw attention to the idea that one's products and services could really, in fact, have a problem.
issue: West's Encyclopedia of American Law (Full Article) from Answers.com Informal. A personal problem or emotional disorder: The teacher discussed the child's issues with his parents.
It seems that politeness has won a victory over correct and good usage and that educated and intelligent native speakers of English - in the business world - have commandeered a word in order to avoid calling attention to an undesirable idea. The euphemistic use of "issue" is thus expanding.
Last edited by PROESL; 09-Aug-2009 at 20:07. Reason: spelling error