This year’s presidential contest has once again started me thinking about language – specifically postmodern language theory.
I know that must seem odd. Most people quite sensibly go straight to the content of a candidate’s statement. What candidates say is considered much more important than how they say it.
Language philosophers, on the other hand, claim that language choices can be just as interesting as the content of a statement. Sometimes those experts are dismissed as ivory-tower types who are playing an academic game with no relevance to real life.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
My musings about postmodern language issues began last week when candidate Donald Trump took a controversial position about abortion in an exchange with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews:
Trump: “There has to be some form of punishment.”
Matthews: “For the woman?”