Winners and Losers

Back in the dark ages of the mid 70’s when I was in grad. school and learning about something called structuralism, I kept coming across the words “diachronic,” and “synchronic” and for some reason I kept getting them confused.

But today driving home, I thought of a good example that might explain it a bit better.

Take the saying:

Winners lose, losers win.

This seems pretty clear.  No problem.  Actually, the meaning can change depending upon whether you read it synchronically or diachronically.

Synchronically (with in the context of a present), it means people who are winners in this society, at this moments, are losers (see the working class saying: s…t rises to the top), and people who are in fact losers win (see: Paris Hilton).

Diachronically, it reads: over time, history has shown, that winners become losers (see: The British Empire or the USA) and losers (let’s say Japan or Germany) become winners.

 When applied to Bobby Bonds, this may be read both ways at once.

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