Word #5: “verbalism” (n.)


  1. Predominance of what is merely verbal over reality or real significance.

Paulo Freire reads a more political dimension to this dampened significance of words:

An unauthentic word, one which is unable to transform reality, results when dichotomy is imposed upon its constitutive elements. When a word is deprived of its dimension of action, reflection automatically suffers as well; and the word is changed into idle chatter, into verbalism, into an alienated and alienating “blah.” It becomes an empty word, one which cannot denounce the world, for denunciation is impossible without a commitment to transform, and there is no transformation without action (Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 75-76).