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Founder, Reverb Technologies/Wordnik


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How important is a common vocabulary for sharing ideas, and how do we arrive at one?

This Live Conversation will start on November 3, at 2pm ET / 11am PT.

Do we need to all be "on the same page" to have productive conversations? Do we have to use the same language or talk about ideas in the same way? What are some examples of vocabulary that's divisive, rather than helpful (e.g. "death panels")?


Closing Statement from Erin McKean

Thanks so much for all the great stories and suggestions -- such a big question can't be answered in an hour, but it's wonderful to be able to talk about it with the TED community! For more discussions follow my Twitter at @emckean. Thanks everyone!

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  • Nov 3 2011: The more you spend time with people from a certain geographical area, people from a certain profession or background, the more you share ideas with them in common vocabulary- in the language they understand and relate to . Vocabularies in communication has a lot to do with people's environment, background, culture, training and religion. Often times too, one word might mean one thing in one context and a totally different thing in another context. So context matters a lot. On the whole sharing ideas in common vocabulary is a function of time, understanding and awareness with the people interpretation of the world around them.

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