Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Made-up words?

Since when did "out-migration" become a word? I've been seeing articles in the paper this week, and they have been using this word. It sounded to me like it was yet another grammatical issue the TJ should be dealing with.

I did some research and found out that it is actually a word. I thought "emigration" was more appropriate, but there is a subtle difference. Emigration is leaving your home country to go to another. Out-migration seems to refer to leaving a region for another region in your own country. It seems like both can be used interchangeably, though, depending on which dictionary you read.

To answer my own question, out-migration has been in use since the 1950s.

That's what I learned today.


mare said...

Out-migration is a sociological/historical term that seems to be seeping into the cultural consciousness. It refers specifically to the movement within the country to a different area. There have been several out-migration movements over the past 150 years of Canadian history.

For further information, please consult your local library.

Scum said...

That said, the Telecrap Urinal is still a poorly edited newpaper.

John said...

And yet "migration" means the movement of people from one country, place, or or locality to another. So we already have a word that means the exact same thing, so adding the qualifier "out" to it is superfluous.

From what I see is that "out-migration" has the conditional clause of "large-scale and continuing" movement of people. So, for example, all the people constantly moving from the east coast to California would be both a migration but also out-migration, as it is large scale and has been and is continuing.

This is sort of the same aggravation I have with "persons" versus "people." Persons is used to mean more than one individual. But we already have a word that means that-- people! The connotative difference is on the more than one individual. The term people has more than just one definition (especially legally) including family, or a group with similar ideologies or common interests, etc., so they came up with "persons" for legal reasons.

It sounds like people (or maybe persons?) thought "migration" by itself was not specific enough, so they came up with in- and out-migration to be even more specific and detailed to explain a very precise form of migration.