Letters & Opinion

Sadly, words no longer mean what they used to!

Image of Carlton Ishmael
By Carlton Ishmael

Let me start this article by saying to all that I am no Word Guru, nor am I a language specialist, but I know that how we interpret words can affect our lives.

In the old days, words like ‘compere’, ‘macoomere’ and ‘nennen’ were supposed to represent people who were like your extended family and if you needed help you sought them out. The word ‘coudmain’ meant finding friends and family who would assist you, for free, to build your home, if help is needed.

‘Jean Mwen’ (‘My Friend) was about a real friend who assisted in your time of need, especially if you were desperate. ‘Doodoo’ meant ‘My Love’, ‘My Darling’, ‘Sweetheart’ — all being words that meant total love and devotion. But unfortunately, more and more people are not using those names in the originally-tended meaningful way.

The word ‘respect’ had meaning, ‘sorry’ meant you cared, ‘sipportay’ meant to offer help unconditionally, ‘fain’ meant you were hungry, ‘tooni’ meant you had no clothes, ‘forgive’ meant to bury the hatchet, ‘twistesse’ meant a sad occasion – and all these words were used to comfort, to assist, to find and share genuine love, to trust and get support. But sadly, all these words have now almost lost their original meanings and all seem to have disappeared in our modern-day vocabulary.

Now, today, what is common is ‘voleur’, ‘wajj’, ‘hayee’, ‘chway’, ‘destroy’, ‘kill’, ‘condemn’, ‘abuse’, ‘deceitful’, ‘connay’ — and ‘doggy’ has replaced ‘friend’.

I say all that to express the view that words in the past had meaning and you could count on them to gain sympathy, love, support, help of all types, even in death. But all these words have vanished, also their meaning, and what we say now and the words we use can no-longer be trusted or relied upon.

I remember the time when a man’s word was meant to be genuine and dependable, to the point you could take it to the bank. If one said ‘I will return’, or ‘I will pay you’, or ‘give me until tomorrow’ or asks for ‘some more time’, you could depend on these words to have come from the heart. But fast-forward to today you cannot trust what any one promises.

It is like words have no more meaning, they cannot be dependable, cannot be trusted, nor can you believe in them anymore, as they are used only for excuses or lies, and seldom are genuine.

Especially in this political climate, words are used to give hope, but are usually false. A promise is now usually a comfort to a fool and what you hear does not always mean truth — and to believe all you hear can be misleading.

Then there is false information, words used to deceive, untruths meant to hurt, to confuse, to do more harm than good, even to the point of destruction. We speak deceitfully, we take pleasure in confusing each other, we enjoy giving one a six-for-a-nine — in fact, all you hear needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

Why these changes or the reason why we can’t trust what we hear or is said still baffles me, but it is a sad reality. Even our children don’t believe in what we say or mean; and a guy would promise the world to a girl, just to get into her private parts; and your legal representative would say all the right words to comfort you in your time of distress; and don’t talk about preachers and men and women of the cloth, who all use words to ensure you stay humble and satisfy their needs.

The Church changes its words, the Pope changes his beliefs, the System depends on words to keep us suppressed and not even the word of God is considered sacred anymore.

Worthless words make-up our times, and it’s sad that we live in a time when words matter not any more.

And talking of words, so few find the time to read, to get facts to gain knowledge, do research, to compare notes, to just become more savvy and determine what is truthful or should be disregarded.

Mark my word: It is purely heart-breaking.

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