PAGE IN PROGRESS What you see here is a page of my hypertext book POWER of meanings // MEANINGS of power. Initially empty, this page will slowly be filled with thoughts, notes, and quotes. One day, I will use them to write a coherent entry, similar to these completed pages. Thank you for your interest and patience!
This entry is about how we speak about social power is different languages.
when I analyze “power” in language, I keep reminding myself that language has power over us
sometimes language can help, give hints to understand power but sometimes it can throw me off. For example, I find myself wanting to use all the time phrases with “can” and “be able to” that may or may not refer to power as aspects of social relations.
On this page, I explore "power" from the linguistic point of view. This word has become very special for me, because I have been thinking about it a lot. To begin with, my relationship with languages needs to be clarified. My mother tongue is Russian. I can also communicate in English, Spanish, French and German. My talent and love for languages may be explained by my synesthesia, which, according to WebMD is "a fancy name for when you experience one of your senses through another" (see My synesthetic perception of "power"). In French and Spanish the noun meaning power is the same word as the word meaning can. That is pouvoir in French and poder in Spanish. The origin of the English word power can be traced back to Anglo-Norman French poeir, from an alteration of Latin posse "be able".
Spanish: use of subjunctive to express influence: subjunctive triggers of influence - querer, preferir, insistir en, mandar, permitir, prohibir, desear, pedir, recomendar, sugerir, es necesario, es urgente, es importante, es mejor + QUE + SUBJUNCTIVE
Look at Megan Perry's Alfraed Grammaticus when published: In old English, different words were used for "may", "am able to" and "know how to". Nowadays they are all translated to the modern English as "can"
Can = may, am able to, know how to
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