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Language is a strange thing.The connection between language and conflict is not as far removed from the social sciences, including game theory, as many think. Some scholars have already provided critical insights into the political economy of language, such as Princeton University's Stephen Morris on political correctness. But there is much more to be done, particularly on the connection between language and conflict.If, for example, people regard the words "socialism" and "communism" as synonymous, rather than describing different systems of political economy, then it can become impossible to talk about the former without stoking fears of the latter.Digital technology and the continued growth of social media are increasing the scope for conflict and political mischief by bringing together large numbers of people from different cultural and political backgrounds. For many of them, the same word may have a different emotional or political valence, and the same sequence of words may be interpreted in different -- even contradictory -- ways.As words acquire new meanings, many people stop using certain words in order not to be seen as sitting on the fence. The world is changing as rapidly as it did during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, if not more so.
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