Appropriate means suitable or proper in the circumstances.
Appropriation means the action of taking something for one’s own use, typically without the owner’s permission
You would think those two words would be closely related, but that only works if you twist it a bit. They can relate if you think of appropriation as taking something that already exists and make it into something that is appropriate for you.
Of course, in this context it isn’t about stealing. It’s about bending the rules, it’s about making do with what you have access to. Like this picture.
It’s really clever. Someone has made a LEGO collection of different tv shows and cartoons. The list goes as follows:
- The Simpsons
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
- South Park
- The Smurfs
- Asterix and Obelix
- Bert and Ernie (I’m pretty sure thats the English names, in Norway it is Erling og Bengt)
- Donald Duck
- Lucky Luke
Someone has used established cartoons, which are so famous and established that I could recognise them from looking at lego figures. They have done an appropriation of the cartoons and made it into something else.
This leads me to think about if I ever use appropriation in everyday life.
Of course I do. Everyone does.
I have friends in Norway who actually use LOL in their daily language. Not only in writing, they actually say LOL. It sounds almost like lull. First of all, the shortening doesn’t even mean anything in Norwegian. Second of all, since when did people start using shortenings in their oral language?
I guess this is an appropriation of language. I could only imagine the look on my grandmothers face if I said “LOL” in a conversation.
But like Adrian mentioned, you can’t just ban certain words from a language anymore, although they try to maintain that in France.
He also mentioned an ad, which I of course haven’t seen, but which has become an appropriation in language. It no longer references the ad, or the products the ad tried to sell; people use it as a joke, a catchphrase.
An example of an appropriation in language which is not very pleasant, is the word faggot. The word originally means “a bundle of sticks”, but was used as an offensive word for women already in the 16th century.
“The application of the term to old women is possibly a shortening of the term “faggot-gatherer”, applied in the 19th century to people, especially older widows, who made a meagre living by gathering and selling firewood.”
Mr. Wikipedia suggests that it was referenced to homosexuality since female terms are often used as derogative names on gay people. It is sad to say that I didn’t know that the term meant “a bundle of sticks” until recently, I only knew of it as a nasty word which gets used by dickheads to describe gay people. The word was appropriated so thoroughly that for many it now means something completely different from it’s original meaning. (Please let me know straight away if this example is completely wrong)
Or is it taking something as it is, like the shopping mall Adrian used as an example, where hanging out there without spending money there is an appropriation of that space?
Maybe it is both. It is a tactic which lets you benefit on the strategies that has created the system that surrounds you.