Why Does Communication Not Work?

     The other day I unearthed my high school Latin Class final paper.  It was written over 52 years ago. It was mostly ghost-written by my father who prided himself in his skill with Latin. I did not request the ghost-writing, but discussed the topic with him late into the night & upon feeling very sleepy went to bed.  Magically the next morning - voila! - there it was.  I of course got an A with some quizzical looks from Mrs. Gavin, a blue haired old school teacher who was very kind to me over the 3 years I took Latin. I had dreams about her several times after graduating, as a friendly & kind mentor who loved her students & teaching.
     In reading it yesterday I was stimulated to ask the question: Why don't words work? My fascination for etymology exists still to this day.  The other paper from that same year that I found was A Treatise on the Utopias of Plato & Sir Thomas More. That one I wrote entirely by myself. I mention it here because that topic probably is also a fascination of mine which has survived to this day & probably leads into my interest in politics & threefoldness.
     I think the question is answered in the preface:
source: ...
This paper is to serve as an introduction to the art and science of Etymology or Semantics, and, I hope, to inspire further research in this field. Languages incorporate the evolution of mankind. We cannot get at another's thoughts without use of symbols. Mistakes, usually, are due to inability to express exactly what one thinks. The remedy is better understanding of one's own language which comes from familiarity with several tongues. This will counteract narrow mindedness which mislead and confuses, surpass provincialism and show how to prevent evils which result from false propaganda
... Then too there is the Tower of Babel  mentioned on Page 1. There is the lack of listening while talking. There is the talking when others are talking. There is the PC factor - mutation of the language for political ends.
    En passant, I suspect that most of you think communication is working just fine! Is it?  I used to listen to my mother & father argue & whereas I could understand both points of view - neither could understand each other - quite sad.  this persisted unto the end in one degree or another (I have tapes (;-)) ). For some strange reason it is the same with my wife, T. - we're still working on it.  Going outward rapidly to national politics, wars, the shit on the Internet etc, & you may wonder if I might have a point.  Is there something wrong with words?
     I submit this last piece of amusement stimulated by the link in 14216 - the coin tolerance mongering as a piece of the PC pie; being a cut on the conscious attempt to pervert the language (see Page 3). Some sense of this was expressed in Rudolph Steiner's The Karma of Untruthfulness. Below is the etymology & definition link of the word mongering:
monger Look up monger at Dictionary.comO.E. mangere, from P.Gmc. mangojan (cf. O.S. mangon, O.N. manga), from L. mango (gen. mangonis) "dealer, trader," from a noun derivative of Gk. manganon "contrivance, means of enchantment," from PIE base *mang- "to embellish, dress, trim." Used in comb. form in Eng. since at least 12c.; since 16c. chiefly with overtones of petty and disreputable. The modern verb is first recorded 1928, from the noun (but there was a verb form in O.E.). Related: Mongering.

noted examples: fishmonger, gossipmonger, racemonger, & the like.

     The power of words & language is hinted at in the essay paper. We should use it wisely & for the benefit of All. Perhaps in conclusion the best way to improve communication is to improve our art of listening.

 

    

Tags

  1. latin
  2. communication
  3. words
  4. etymology
  5. semantics
  6. item 14275

Comments


Seth says
source: M above
If you follow only the Logos or rational part of the thread you may miss what may be being said. Perhaps, your desire for precision in 14275 is an urging in that direction, eh?
I don't know to what you refer when you say "my desire for precision", but there is truth to your sentence "If you follow only the Logos or rational part of the thread you may miss what may be being said" and it is true that 14275 wants to head in that direction.   Logos and rationality seems to me to have general terms.   But we all know that general statements are never 100% true ... there are always exceptions.  "So if you are in pursuit of the elusive true sentence, you need to avoid general sentences" ... or perhaps i could say that with a better truth were i to say it only about myself ... "When i am in pursuit of true sentences, i avoid sentences with general terms" ... because that rule may not generalize all that very well from me to you.

Seth says
Well i had no intention of debating racism on this item.  I just though that the evolution of the word in current history is interesting ... even including its spelling ... i just happened to learn about that new change yesterday.  Those changes, along with their political context, rightly, me thinks, belongs in etymology.  

WB, bro ... where did you go?

Mark de LA says
seth 2010-09-02 04:39:59 14258
Well CFR's paper was certainly interesting ... a great find!  What's even more interesting is that Mrs Gavin accepted it ... i mean she must have known ... did she have any conception of the man behind the pen?  He wanted to write mine about "The Scientific Method" ... but i resisted ... now i almost wish i let him do it ... i mean 52 years later i could be reading it ... and i'm sure it would be much more interesting than the one i ended up writing.
I think that Mrs. Gavin got something out of the paper too! Something you normally wouldn't expect from one of your student's papers today.  Perhaps that's why she accepted it. Maybe, she recognized someone who appreciated the Latin language behind the veil. Znuz is Znees is full of Latin quotes, yet in the archives I have not found the source for the Ovid & Cicero quotes.  I watched her read part of it.  There was something that startled her as she read it.  She never said what it was. She did ask if I had help & I admitted it.
 

Mark de LA says
seth 2010-09-02 04:54:53 14258
source: M asks above
En passant, I suspect that most of you think communication is working just fine! Is it?
not really !  Sometimes i wonder how it ever really works at all.  Not only  does the meaning of words change over time, but they mean entirely different things to different people.  It is truly wonderous that we actually end up communicating meaning from mind to mind ... or do we?

I think the meaning of words is not at all in their etymology ... it is in their use ... in how they are used.  If i use a certain shaped rock to beat an animal over the head ... then draw that shape to you, that shape refers to beating animals over the head.  A study of the etymology is  a study of the history of usage of a word ... but it does not get you any closer to its current meaning to the person who is using in in some specific context ... to get closer to that meaning, you  must needs delve into that context.
     Well, ebonics, rap, acronyms, government-eze, jargon, are all vortexes of word creation. One has to start somerwhere besides a grunt.  I remember CFR reading us a book abour some Russian peasants whose entire vocabulary was 60 words. It was quite amusing.  In that same moment of archeology into the archives I found a copy of Creative Speech - the nature of speech formation - by Rudolph Steiner & Marie Steiner-von Sivers.  It may be interesing & relevant - I haven't started it yet. The copy I have is a different edition than the linked one.
Perhaps the primeval grunt of some words just indicate to one another that there is a distinction being made. Some would say that an impulse from the Soul is coming forth into the sound-ether in the form of a word. The spoken word & the written word, of course,  communicate different things differently.  NLP says that only 7% is the word itself; body language & tonality contain the rest.
     What would it be like if the words disappeared shortly after they were spoken & we had to reinvent them with each communication?  Then too there is thought that future evolution of the human larynx will turn it into a sex organ with that kind of power to create!

Mark de LA says
We took a trip to Trinidad, Samoa & Patrick's Point  - all places just south of Crescent City in California. It was comfortable weather as compared with the 90+ weather in Paradise. BTW, you can type a date into Wolfram Alpha here and get it's info relative to today. It also gives you differences between 2 dates & lots more.


Mark de LA says
seth 2010-09-02 09:28:45 14258
M 2010-09-02 09:14:12 14258
seth 2010-09-02 09:06:10 14258
source: M above
Perhaps the primeval grunt of some words just indicate to one another that there is a distinction being made. Some would say that an impulse from the Soul is coming forth into the sound-ether in the form of a word.
I'm not so very sure that the latter, even assuming that it is true, communicates    something essential that is not already said by the former.
Precisely! & yet they communicate different things in different ways with different distinctions.  One might say that there is a different sleeve at work on the same job in the two cases.

Well the latter contains several assumptions, which are not present in the former.  Me thinks, then, that those assumptions are what is being communicated rather than the simple message itself. 
Strangely enough they are not assumptions. They are words I use to describe some distinctions that I have & maybe, you don't. Actually, they are assumptions if you follow the etymology of the word assumption. OTOH, the communication is what it is. Rhetoric (Ethos, Logos & Pathos) - now a dirty word - is but one facet of communication. If you follow only the Logos or rational part of the thread you may miss what may be being said. Perhaps, your desire for precision in 14275 is an urging in that direction, eh?
 

Mark de LA says
Niger is Latin for black hence the African country of Nigeria & the Niger river in Africa. Throwing the extra g in there is the rest of the apple including the acceptability of using the pseudonym n-word instead of the word itself & the word itself being OK for blacks to use; the rest of the story being shaped by the PC crowd.  I'm not particularly interested in debating any particular etymology on this item.  Comments on the n-word belong in the [tagrooms: tags racism].


Seth says
seth 2010-09-06 05:23:39 14258
If your into an interesting word to study the etymology of ... try "nigger" ... and it's evolution to "nigga" ... and then to "nicca" ... as in ...
source: fb comment
"Your mistake is not tell them upfront "Nicca I just want some dick, no conversation, no hook-up later, no call u tomorrow, just dick."
...
No reason not to hyperlink this context ... apparently it's not private.

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