Words Are Hard - in different ways

Discussion in 'Braaaaiiiinnnns...' started by Lissa Lysik'an, May 23, 2015.

  1. Lissa Lysik'an

    Lissa Lysik'an Dragon-loving Faerie

    I wrote a post on tumblr (y'all follow my random babblings there so already read it - what? you don't? - oh dear, now I am devastated - but here's the link {Words Are Hard} so you can grasp the context of part of the following babble).

    There is a disconnect between people that use words and people that don't. I recently had a unfun run-in with a person here and a large part of it was based on different perceptions on what "words are hard" means. The other person was using the idea that making words into proper sentences with proper nuances and implications was hard, having experienced (implied, not stated) the misinterpretation of words they had used in the past. It had not occurred to them that it could be as literal as I mean when I say it - that the act of making/reading words itself is hard for a person of education.

    Formulating a sentence to properly convey an idea is child's play compared to finding the words to put into that sentence in the first place. It is still very difficult and one most tumblr posters fail at, but it is much easier once you have words to work with.

    Compound that with writing to someone that has to actually think of each word as a piece and then as part of a construct (the sentence) and then put it together into an idea ... They had a very difficult task.

    I am not trying to say "well, I have it worse than you", I'm trying to babble into something that resembles saying that disconnect on that fundamental difference can lead to 'mean' words (as it did) and we (as in including myself) need to be aware of here in a place that is community, not just a platform.

    Now my brain went off to find a Guinness so I can't end this properly, with a suitable summary and bibliography, but I hope I wasn't as random as I think I was. Babble over, Guinness found!
    • Like x 2
  2. Fish butt

    Fish butt Everything is coming together, slowly but surely.

    I agree with you completely about looking for words and I'd like to share my experience.

    So here's the thing, I speak four languages. None of them particularly well, except for perhaps English. Grammar rules are hard and not easy to implement (d and t in Dutch, anyone? Passé composé??) for me. But these are all forgiveable for most people - native speakers generally use their own colloquial grammars that are considered 'wrong' by the language authorities. Also because I look and act like a foreigner no matter where I am (even in my native country) a lot of people forgive my errors because it's obvious to them that I'm Not From Here, and sometimes they even appreciate the effort that a foreigner is trying their best to speak in their language. (Which is infuriating to me sometimes, when a Dutch person starts speaking English to me because they assume Dutch isn't my first language)

    But when it comes to words, that's a whole different thing. Every culture has a whole history of nuance to their words that makes it very hard to integrate into said culture. The thread about similar words meaning different things jn different languages is an EXCELLENT example of that. Americans and Brits speak the 'same' language, but they're aliens to each other as far as they are concerned, using words in their own way that the other party considers to be 'wrong'. Now add to that nuance also a whole troop of social connotations like class and you've got yourself the clusterfuck of culture. In Dutch there are words that mean the same thing but show the class of the person using them:

    Plee - lowerclass
    Toilet - middleclass
    WC - upperclass

    (Source: my upperclass father married to my middleclass mother)

    The same certainly goes for Spanish, English and French. And then there are the phrases and metaphors each culture likes to use to communicate ideas and concepts in their languages, but make it harder for foreigners (or brainweird) to cope with:

    Heart on your sleave
    Nou komt de app uit de mouw (now the monkey comes out of your sleave - now everything becomes clear)
    Morocoy no sube palo ni cachicamo se afeita (turtles don't climb poles and armadillos don't shave - if pigs can fly)

    So I completely agree with you and I wanted to show how much MORE difficult it can be. Enjoy your guiness!
  3. Chiomi

    Chiomi Master of Disaster

    When I am very tired, or, when I was starting my current medication, whenever, I have aphasic episodes. Usually I cannot access concepts around words, either, when that happens. If I want to communicate, I need to do it differently. But . . . I speak English and French with some degree of comprehensibility, and smatterings of several more languages. When I was out walking with my uncle in the rain and got an awful blister, I couldn't access 'big toe' or 'foot' so I had to explain that the blister was on my proximal phalanges. Gesturing or demonstrating would not have occurred to me, because words are what I do. The aphasic episodes from my meds were bone-deep terrifying, and were the only side effects I mentioned to the doctor because the crippling headaches, nausea, and digestive horror were not as important.

    Which is a rambling way of saying both that I understand that finding words at all can be difficult, and don't brains suck, and also that I think we would find spending time in proximity in meatspace a mutually upsetting experience because of communication differences.
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