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From 'deadly enemy' to 'covidiots': Words matter when talking about COVID-19

By Ruth Derksen, PhD, Philosophy of Language, Faculty of Applied Science, Emeritus, University of British Columbia
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So much has been said and written about the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve been flooded with metaphors, idioms, symbols, neologisms, memes and tweets. Some have referred to this deluge of words as an infodemic.

And the words we use matter. To paraphrase the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein: the limits of our language are the limits of our world. Words place parameters around…


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