USING WORDS TO DENIGRADE – Dr Dawn Gould

SENSITIVITY NEEDED!

Reading does not appear in South Africa to be top of an attraction in the minds of some people – the young in particular. Efforts by schools are made to change this view point; libraries do their best with story telling during school holidays,  posters are placed indicating the pleasure of reading.  This problem appears not only here but in other parts of the world as well.

One wonders if perhaps the lack of interest has something to do with the stress put on certain words.  Consider the word BOOKISH  which, when spoken and written, suggests a disapproving attitude towards those interested in reading and studying rather than being interested in active or practical things. Another word EGG HEAD referring to a person who is intelligent and interested in studying.  While this word has an air of informality and humour, there is also the perception of a disapproving manner.