Re: Words Have Meaning..the sequel
posted at 8/30/2013 7:25 PM EDT
In response to MattyScornD's comment:
In response to miscricket's comment:
Words have meaning. Sounds so simple, doesn't it? Words are nothing more than symbols used to convey meaning. How they are interpreted can be affected by experience, perspective and context.
In anonymous discussion forums words have an even bigger meaning. Why? Well, because the words we type provide the only basis by which our online compadres can form opinions of us. For exampe, I imagine if this post contained a cartoon, some might view me as childish or immature depending on the cartoon of course.
How we choose to use words..and what kinds of words we focus on tell people a lot about us...no matter how we may try to hide it.
Take the word "friend" for example. Who do you call a friend? Some people call their significant other their "friend"...some people call acquaintances "friends" and some people call those who really matter at the heart of it "friend". Sometimes our differing definitions of words can get us into trouble. I fall into that third category when it comes to the meaning of the word "friend". This once got me into trouble when someone who used the term to refer to someone whom they really felt was more an acquaintance called me "friend". Differing interpretations of the word meant differing expectations which..looking back..spelled doom from the beginning.
So yes..words do have meaning..but they may not always mean what you think they do...especially in an environment where we have no other information (tone of voice, expression) to go on.
One thing I have learned in life. You should choose your words wisely. One can never "unread" or "unhear" something hurtful or insincere or mean. You can try to take words back..but you really never can.
...and sometimes the right words can make all the difference in the world.
In other words:
"If you cannot say what you mean, you can never mean what you say."
Sadly, proper use of the english language is a casualty in our culture...something oft-noticed by its progenitors, the English.
Worse, the inability to use the language extends into the use (or misuse) of rhetoric to speak logically and draw supportable conclusions, much less debate issues in a civilized and coherent manner. These boards are rife with logical fallacies, charged language and naked insinuation...habits gleaned from our talking heads of the media, I'll wager.
I acknowledge my own faults when my writing gets lazy and vague even while I try to set a positive example.
That said, words still have meaning even if they fail to communicate the author's intent, IMO. Just far less meaning than they would have if used correctly.
Matty..you are almost always pretty clear about what you mean..at least in my opinion. There's only been a couple of times when I haven't quite gotten your point. I know this type of writing is very casual, but I wish some people would at least put a little effort into trying to articulate instead of just regurgitating what some other website has told them.
Your last line is true for sure, but there is a always a danger in being misunderstood.