LINGUIST List 14.745

Thu Mar 13 2003

Disc: "Deflation" and "Inflation"

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <>


  1. Mark A. Mandel, Re: Linguist 14.637: "Deflation" and "Inflation"

Message 1: Re: Linguist 14.637: "Deflation" and "Inflation"

Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2003 11:17:06 -0500 (EST)
From: Mark A. Mandel <>
Subject: Re: Linguist 14.637: "Deflation" and "Inflation"

In his original post on this topic, Ben Zimmer writes:

> I would also like to know of
> alternative descriptors that might be seen as preferable, in order to
> avoid possible confusion over the opposing senses of "de/in-flation".
> Dahl, for instance, also uses the terms "(rhetorical) devaluation" and
> "revaluation" to describe these processes.

That would be an unfortunate alternative, exchanging a problem for
another instance of the same problem. Economists understand the
direction of "revaluation" -- 'an increase in the value of a currency'
- but that is dependent on its opposition to "devaluation", which
might be seen as the natural tendency over time. Non-specialists
encountering "revaluation" for the first time have no clue that it is
directional at all: analytically, it seems to refer to any change (or
any deliberate change) in the value of a currency, whether up or down.

- Mark A. Mandel
 Linguistic Data Consortium, University of Pennsylvania
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