English and You: A Helpful Guide for Pulling Your Head Out of Your Bum
July 17, 2010 Leave a comment
I heard it once said that God sent Jesus at the exact time he chose so that the New Testament would be written with the precision of the Greek language. Not that anyone can peg out the motives of God, but it sounded interesting at least.
Semantically, the English language sucks. The words are not phonetic. There are countless words that have multiple spellings but different meanings (your/you’re, to/too, it’s/its, etc…). So, it should not come as a surprise that our language has frequent communication errors and misnomers.
The real question is, why are we making it worse?
Joe Somebody: “Dude, I LOVE this pizza.” Translation: Joe really enjoys the taste of pizza, but does not actually feel affection or sexual desire for the pizza.
Hans Irgendwer: “Man, I HATE splinters!” Translation: Hans dislikes the pain brought about by a wooden splinter, but does not actually loathe, execrate, or despise splinters.
John Doe: “Oh yeah, man, I’m totally coming to your party tonight!” Translation: John will only come to your party if he has nothing better to do, and if he does come, he’ll be an hour late.
Seymour Butts: “Oh you’re having a party? Yeah, I’ll probably be there.” Translation: Seymour is not coming to your party, but he doesn’t have the balls to tell you.
Brett Brosky: “Oh yeah, brah, that dude is a TOTAL fag.” Basing his self worth on how many girls he can hook up with, Brett feels threatened by “that dude”, so he uses a homophobic slur to call his opponent’s sexual orientation into question (a favorite of frat pappies down here in the South).
Ever sat around and listened to someone who’s vocabulary consisted almost solely of four letter words? Odds are you probably didn’t come away feeling enlightened by that individual’s prodigious wisdom. “Wow! You really impressed me with the broad strokes of your colorful language! Who knew f*** could be used as a noun and an adjective in the same sentence!?”
The examples are endless.
There is seemingly a disconnect between the words we’re using and what we’re trying to communicate. There are myriad reasons for people doing this—insecurity, fear, or whatever cop-out people use to justify themselves.
I don’t care what your excuse is because it’s not good enough.
I’m tired of hearing people be fake. I’m tired of friends flaking on each other because they found something better to do. I’m tired of ‘yes’ meaning ‘maybe’ and ‘maybe’ meaning ‘no’. I’m tired of the words ‘love’ and ‘hate’ being dumbed down to describe pizza and splinters. I’m tired of everything that sucks being called ‘gay’ or toolbags being called ‘fags’.
What would it look like if everyone you knew said what they actually meant? Would you not find it refreshing if you asked someone to come over, and rather than them saying, “Oh, sorry, man. I’ve gotta mow the grass.” (and then you see them on Xbox Live in 10 minutes), they said, “Actually I’m really tired and would really just like some alone time.” Refreshing, no?
Stop perpetuating the cycle. Grow a pair. Be real with each other, and I think you’ll see fruits from it. Stop using terms that treat other groups as less than human. “Let your yes be yes, and your no be no.” Don’t be another cog in the wheel of ignorance and superficiality.