Wednesday, March 11, 2020

coded & codes


A Zizzer-Zoof Seed salesman, as depicted by Dr. Seuss,
in The Sleep Book, RH Childrens Books, 2013.

Dear Language,

I have been trying to raise my awareness- I know, what else would I do with it: try to 'lower' it!?  My success or failure at raising my own awareness is not really possible to quantify at this point, but I found some things that I wasn't really aware of, so I think that is an indicator of being on the right track. 

You probably already know that people are calling out uses of language as coded, or codes.  This stuff is what I refer to as 'doublespeak;' as defined by Orwell's 1984.  This talk uses one or two words to mean a whole lot of specifics to certain groups of ears, and it takes time to establish the meaning across culture.  For example, here at the Dodo, useless things are 'Zizzer-Zoof Seeds' because nobody wants them and nobody needs them.  It is an example of what they call high context language. 

For my research on coded words, I wanted a list; I wanted something concrete, something now, and topical, so I looked it up on the Internet, of course.  I found a decent list and I offer you some of it here;  use these words with extreme caution!  They are saying more than you might intend.  To better know what your intentions might be, put your definition of these words in the blank space provided.  As a further exploration, consider how our culture and media defines these words and phrases.


Urban/Inner City

Radical Islam

Middle Class

Illegal Immigrant



If you'd like to read more about Zizzer-Zoof Seeds, visit the book online, or better yet, get The Sleep Book by Dr. Seuss from your local library.