Jump to content
Linguaholic

Why does repeating a word devalue the word?


JoanMcWench
 Share

Recommended Posts

You know how it goes. You have a word that means something: Apple. A delicious fruit that grows on trees of the same name.

Then you have written that word or said that word ad nauseam and the word is nothing but a collection of letters now. Be it in the form of punishment, work, or boredom it seems repeating a word devalues that word. Why the heck is that?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure I understand what you are saying here, but I will give it a go.

Ultimately words are just letters jumbled together. They only have meaning because we decided they have meaning. So it is all how you look at it. You can look at "Apple" and see a fruit. Or you can look at "Apple" and just see the letters A p p l e.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am not sure I understand the question either.  But Apple as I see it so frequently used now is so associated with electronics that it lost the distinctiveness when I first heard of the company.

As to repetition, I think what really devalues a word is when it is so overused, such as in a slang context.  I am really "sick" of hearing the word used to describe what we in the olden days called "cool".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Repetition and abundance always has a negative effect on every thing you can imagine. As you said many same words in the same text, devaluate each other. Same goes for exclamation marks. If you end each sentence with an exclamation mark, in the end it will seem as you are not excited at all. Too many adjectives defining a noun devaluate each other.

This can go really far. Think about money. When a nation has a lot of money, the individual coin loses it's value!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't say that I understand what you mean one hundred percent, but if I get it correctly, it's like everything else in life. I'll give you the example of driving. When you first learn, you love it and can't stop doing. With the years it becomes something normal and part of your routine. The samething happens with the words, I guess. The more you use them, they stop being special and unique.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll try again:

The word is not relevant. If you say the word 'space' over and over and over again it seems to lose its meaning in the repetition. The word 'hair'. The word 'Jersey' (example people).

I found this also applies in the writing. The same can be said when as a child you can be forced to write something again and again as punishment. What you are writing starts to lose the impact it was meant to have. So as opposed to lingering in your mind because of the repetition it becomes meaningless. Maybe using the word devalue misconstrued my meaning?

Here's a quote that may help me:

I began to indulge in the wildest fancies as I lay there in the dark, such as that there was no such town, and even that there was no such state as New Jersey. I fell to repeating the word 'Jersey' over and over again, until it became idio-tic and meaningless. If you have ever lain awake at night and repeated one word over and over, thousands and millions and hundreds of thousands of millions of times, you know the disturbing mental state you can get into.

~ James Thurber (My Life and Hard Times)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I used to play this too, and I never really understood why this happens myself. I think it might have to do more with neurology or psychology than actually being about the words themselves, but I agree, it is very interesting. I hope someone here could shed some light on this, but as for my take, OP, you might want to look into the term "depersonalization" in a psychological context. It doesn't completely answer it, I don't think, but it might come close or at lease it might lead you/us to the answer. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think your wording confuses me. Anyways, I would say yes if there are too many repetitive words in the paragraphs. I wouldn't think it will devalue the word because every word is unique in its way, not because it devalues by repeating it too many times.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...