Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
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Jay Conne

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May 16, 2011

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PS - I like the idea of people taking pride in having chosen where they want to live and expressing that as them being of that country now, i.e. a first generation in the new country.

I've read most of this thread and it does a thorough job of documenting the ambiguity. So further thrashing on this not helpful.

If a term is ambiguous, simply meaning people use it in conflicting ways, the responsible thing to do is to define your terms when you speak or write. Period. Changing the culture to eliminate the ambiguity is a long term effort that may or may not be worth the trouble.

To bring in a different context, consider the political categories of liberal, conservative, progressive, etc. I find more diversity in each group of self-identified people that between them. My solution is to ask people:
- what do they want to conserve and why?
- what do they want to liberate from what and why?
- what do they consider progress vs backward and why?

In each case I want to cut through the slop and find substance.
Often I find small minded people who can't reason beyond labeling - and I walk away.

Likewise with insisting on one definition of a term when a dictionary or experience demonstrates ambiguous usage. I is our responsibility to own disambiguating the potentially ambiguous. Many words have multiple definitions in the dictionary. My job is to indicate which one I'm referring to in my use of the term - and perhaps just for this conversation and context.

Does that help get this discussion grounded?