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    #11

    Re: Social Distancing

    I don't think that dynamic is operating here. The preferred term for those who object to "social" always seems to be "physical distancing", which I see as imprecise. I think my position is more pedantic; only a logophile grasps the logic behind the choice of "social" without further explanation.

    I'm going to ask my friend exactly what he dislikes about "social". I have a feeling it has to do with the sense that we're being asked to increase our emotional distance. I'll report back.
    I am not a teacher.

  2. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #12

    Re: Social Distancing

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    I'm going to ask my friend exactly what he dislikes about "social". I have a feeling it has to do with the sense that we're being asked to increase our emotional distance.
    Yes, I'm sure that's it. We don't have to distance ourselves socially—only physically.

    I'm with your friend. 'Physical distancing' is much the better term. (Though to be honest, the issue hadn't occurred to me before reading this thread.)

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    #13

    Re: Social Distancing

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Yes, I'm sure that's it. We don't have to distance ourselves socially—only physically.

    I'm with your friend. 'Physical distancing' is much the better term. (Though to be honest, the issue hadn't occurred to me before reading this thread.)
    In the abstract, physical distancing is weak because it doesn't say who or what should be distant. But everyone knows that it's you and me. Once a term has been adopted, its precise origin no longer matters.

    My Facebook friend liked the comment I made about my surmise, so I apparently guessed the source of his discomfort correctly.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #14

    Re: Social Distancing

    I understood it as "in social situations, maintain a distance."

  5. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #15

    Re: Social Distancing

    Everyone obviously understood it in the same way.

    The argument against using the word social is a linguistic one. It's clear that there's a contrastive semantic difference between the following two noun phrases:

    social distance
    physical distance

    These are two very different notions. The 'problem' (for those that see one) with the term social distancing is that it seems to relate to the notion of social distance, not physical distance. The fact we're talking about distance between people rather than things is not very relevant, I think.

  6. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #16

    Re: Social Distancing

    Isn't that the point, though? The distance we had before socially, involving touching and kissing has to change to stand a few metres apart. It's social distance that means we don't shake hands.

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    #17

    Re: Social Distancing

    To me, the term is a telegraphed version of social physical distance: maintaining physical distance when engaged in social interactions.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #18

    Re: Social Distancing

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Isn't that the point, though? The distance we had before socially, involving touching and kissing has to change to stand a few metres apart. It's social distance that means we don't shake hands.
    Yes, I think that's a great point. A lot of the things we do as social creatures involve close physical proximity.

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    #19

    Re: Social Distancing

    I've seen it called antisocial distancing.
    Not a professional teacher

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    #20

    Re: Social Distancing

    Quote Originally Posted by Iliaa View Post
    But I'm a non-native speaker, so there might be another perspective from which to see this term.

    NOT A TEACHER


    1. I have just stumbled across an article from the Guardian, a British newspaper.

    a. It explains that the term "social distancing" was coined in the 1950s by a social scientist.
    b. He meant it in the sense that the upper classes kept their distance (both literally and figuratively) from nobodies like me.

    2. When you get time, just google these words to read the short article: "Social distancing. How a 1950s phrase came to dominate 2020. The Guardian." (Excuse this computer-illiterate senior citizen [old man] for not linking to it.)

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