What is the difference in the definition of “people” and “peoples”? When I was in grammar school, I learned that the singular form of the word was “person” and the plural was “people”. But suddenly, as an adult, I’m seeing professional publications all over the place with the word “peoples” in it. Like the word “people” isn’t quite plural enough any more, we have to add an “s” to the end of it.
I did a little research and discovered that the dictionary allows for an “s” on the end of the word if it refers to an entire community of people, like “the Aboriginal peoples.” But tell me, doesn’t it mean exactly the same thing if it says “the Aboriginal people”?
This probably is particularly bugging me because the Bible translation I’ve been using recently (English Standard Version) constantly refers to people as peoples. Grrr…. And it’s THE BIBLE, so it can’t be wrong, can it? Well, I don’t think the Bible is wrong, just the editors who decided to put an “s” on the end of all references to people in it. Even if the editors are adhering to the principle above, they’re still getting it wrong. When David writes in the Psalms about “all people”, he’s referring to everyone – not a particular group of people, yet they consistently write “all peoples”.
I maintain that the word “peoples” is not really a word and all use of is should cease and desist now.
Now that I’m writing about it, the word just looks weird to me. Don’t you hate it when that happens?
I’m reposting this entry because my life got really crazy in the last couple weeks and I like to remind myself and others of my position on dealing with difficult people and situations. This short post really explains my philosphy of life.
In my twenties, I moved away from home and realized just how disfunctional my family is (whose isn’t?). I went to counseling and learned a lot about how to handle my own reactions and how to see things more clearly. Those years of counseling also helped me see just how disfunctional almost everyone around me is. I began to get discouraged. No matter how much work I did on myself, trying to get emotionally healthy and balanced, the people around me were rarely doing the same hard work and I still had to deal with them. Ugh.
So should I get bitter and judge everyone harshly? Should I become sarcastic and jaded and mean? That doesn’t sound like much fun either. I’m really trying to avoid that yucky line that is creasing the spot between my eyebrows. I wonder if I can reverse the work it’s already done if I learn to relax?
Now in my thirties I’ve decided that I can’t go through life constantly looking for the crazies in people and discarding them if they disappoint me. No one would be left! And if I get discarded every time I disappoint someone, well…
So I’ve decided to try to embrace the messiness of other people. They aren’t like me; they probably don’t want to be. Other people aren’t typically going to make my life easier or smoother, but they often make me happier. It’s when I get all tied up in knots because their crazies come out that I get unhappy and that blasted line appears again.
Don’t get me wrong, if you add more insanity to my life than the joy you bring, I’m not stupid. I’ll withdraw myself and allow you to create your own chaos without me. But if you bring anywhere near as much joy to my life as you bring craziness, I’ll probably keep you. I’ve decided to like people.