Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Right Words

Do you ever struggle to find the right words to convey what you mean without it sounding wrong? I do and it can be so frustrating. It is amazing how many phrases can be technically and linguistically correct but sound completely wrong when used in conversation. I find it especially hard to give someone directions to perform a set of tasks without sounding either pedantic or like a control freak.

I am the type of person that might utter a phrase like "'Preparation H' sounds like a tax form, but is really a medical ointment. Either way, it's a pain in the ass." I truly appreciate the word play and double meanings implicit in such a phrase. I am also prone to misinterpretation of intent - primarily because of my deep seated sarcastic nature. Thus if I tell L that I "love her legs," it is likely to be interpreted as a criticism rather that the loving compliment intended. So I have to work hard and curtail a lot of my normal volubility or else convince Molly to let me share her doggy space with her.

I often wonder if languages other than English suffer from this problem. Is the problem due to the polyglot nature of the English language, allowing shadings of meaning well beyond the strict intent? Do languages like German with a stricter organization and tighter constraints on structure have the same problem? Is sarcasm different or harder to misinterpret in other languages? Inquiring minds want to know.

Now with that out of the way, back to reality. Remember that it was in the 80s on Saturday and then snowed on Sunday? Well today it was warm and windy, so of course there were wild fires in the area being pushed along by the wind. I can't wait to see what the rest of the week brings. {*grin*}

Well, off to get some more real work done.


  1. I think email is worse when it comes to the double meaning or misinterpretation of a statement.

  2. Oh -- I've wondered this, too! Sarcasm runs high in my family. If you find an answer, let me know!


You know you want to ... so just do it!!!

Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin