Banished Words

Linguists will tell us that words are simply strings of sounds, and that those sounds in no way determine the words’ legitimacy. An opera in Italian is not better than one in German because you dislike the supposedly “harsh,” guttural, deep-in-the-throat sound of German. Being put off by the soundscape of a language is a matter of taste, a subjective experience of its words, not an objective fact about them. The bickering such judgments foster leads nowhere, for every person’s experience is, finally, true. Still, it is interesting that we do more than see and hear words; we feel them. Language is embodied, not just a baked-in set of abstract principles. Words have physical impact, a texture, a sensation. They are visceral, and perhaps this helps explain linguistic conservatism: any change is felt, not simply noted.

Jerry DeNuccio takes a look at banishing words and the role of slang in the evolution of language. In the passage above he manages to make me consider something I had not before, the idea of words as food, that words like food have a taste, a texture and combinations that please us and nourish us. As such we then have the equivalent of words that are comfort food, words that are nutritionally sound and words that are special treats


Antonio Ortiz

Antonio Ortiz has always been an autodidact with an eclectic array of interests. Fascinated with technology, advertising and culture he has forged a career that combines them all. In 1991 Antonio developed one of the very first websites to market the arts. It was text based, only available to computer scientists, and increased attendance to the Rutgers Arts Center where he had truly begun his professional career. Since then Antonio has been an early adopter and innovator merging technology and marketing with his passion for art, culture and entertainment. For a more in-depth look at those passions, visit

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