Monday, June 27, 2005

Language games we play

John Leo notes at the end of an article about double speak:
In America’s clone wars, politicians have argued for years over the alleged distinction between “therapeutic cloning” and “reproductive cloning.” But the only difference is in the intent of the scientists who manipulate the embryos. The procedures and the biological entities created are the same.

The problem for euphemizers is how to get rid of the scary words “clone” and “embryo.” Early efforts to create soothing new terms such as “ovasome,” “embryolike entities,” and “activated egg” failed to catch on. So the International Society for Stem Cell Research opted for jargon. The word “cloning” was dropped in favor of “somatic cell nuclear transfer” to produce “human NT blastocysts,” from which scientists in South Korea, who did not utter the word “clone,” recently extracted “hESC.” Sustainable language added. Linguistic problem solved. (source)