May 7, 2008

debatable language use

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:18 am by changisme

I was corresponding with a friend, and we wound up talking about whether using coloquial language can express as efficiently as "weird" languages… okay I’m not putting it very well here. Basically, I was reading something that I felt the language is not what people would use comfortably. He said that using everyday language is like putting a mask on or puttin gon extra weight, so that when wanting to "cut the bone" of the issue becomes very hard. Whereas usinglanguage that is not commonly used is as if a person is bony and can be caught in the bone very easily.
I quite like that analogy, although I’m not quite sure if I agree. At this point, I have to say I really don’t have a conclusive opinion yet. It’s probably true that if I use some expression that I directly relate to my "normal" day to day life, I would end up pooling some of my irrelavent experiences with the point the author is trying to make. Inevitably, I would even have preconceptions of what the person is like. However, is that necessarily a bad thing… If a story is a one way communication, maybe it would be better if I were a sheet of paper, but if it’s a two way communication… meaning my response to the characters and plots also effect changes in mothering the child, then… maybe I shoudl have preconceptions.
Then he talked about poetry, saying that poetry is effective, because it strips away what I have wrapping around my understanding of the world, namely my "fat" around my language. That’s just like what I was recently reading about the language producing abstract thinking, by Oliver Sacks (though I don’t really think his evidence is all that clear, but that’s for another thread). My understanding of the world is shaped by my language, and I wonder if stripping away the coloquialism… is more effective or less so. It’s quite hard to compare, because for example, I was quite touched by the play we were discussing, but I can’t quite tell if it’s the language or the character discription or both. I wondered what effect it would give me if the story were set in a different context, one that I maybe more familiar with.
Okay… this post, is quite confusing, but it’s because I’m actually pretty confused now…

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