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subject, object, vehicle, person

2021-10-21 17:31:24.99199+02 by Dan Lyke 1 comments

Language Log: Passive voice: two out of three isn't good enough, which I got to by this Tweet about Lorry falls into water at Bristol harbour.

Elf Sternberg quoted a tweet with:

"In one study, subjects looked at photos of traffic. When shown a photo of a car they were more likely to identify the subject of a photo as a thing. When shown a bicyclist, they were more likely to use language describing a person."


This gets at the heart of why drivers typically hate bicyclists. Drivers don't even think of themselves as human, but superhuman, wrapped in steel, and are annoyed to have to share the road with mere flesh and blood.


This puts some interesting color on the post-humanism versus transhumanism debate. There are already transhumans in the world, and have been since the invention of the motorized vehicle. And they quickly adopted a language and attitude that puts ordinary people at risk.

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#Comment Re: subject, object, vehicle, person made: 2021-10-22 14:24:35.692944+02 by: DaveP

I had glimpses of that thinking when I used to refer to my car as a “car-suit” (which had Very Big Pockets). When I spoke that way for the first time around someone, it was possible to watch the gears turning as they processed the idea of a car-suit, as opposed to the normal thinking of a car. I never put it together with trans-humanism, but it makes sense.

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