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Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Telesis of terminology and the creation of contrived expressions.


The Telesis of terminology and the creation of contrived expressions.

When good quality milk is available in a sachet why bother owning a herd of cows and milk them followed by a hoard of other concomitant tasks before you get a cup of milk to drink.

Similarly, when certain single words are available that can convey a simple or complicated idea/ideas, thought/s, concept, philosophical approaches why resort to use multiple words and expressions to convey the same thing.

Personally, I feel the beauty of, grandeur of and the maximum number of users and domains in which the English language is used are attributable to a very great extent to its willingness and ability to absorb, assimilate and adopt words and expressions from many languages and allow them to permeate permanently in certain contexts.

I also feel that the recipient or reader must take the trouble of finding out the exact meaning new words and expressions that he/she encounters.

I have gathered, like many addicts of linguistics, etymologies and lexicology many excellent expressions in many languages which are so nice that there is neither any harm in adopting nor in using them in any context.

For example an Italian friend of mine admonished me for using words like bribe and corruption during UPA regime, instead he asked me to say, “ Busterella” [Italian term for ‘Envelop stuffed with money given as bribe] and I said it is a
“Mokita” [ Word from a language called Kivila, spoken in Papua New Guinea meaning  “the truth we all know but agree not to talk about.”]

There are many ways of attracting and appealing to sensitivities and sensibilities of the receiver.

 It is done by adding aesthetic aspects to any art either through individual improvisations or imaginations or innovations or through repeated and refined reuse of some abstract elements or bombastic frills to project a style and create a niche of elitism or identity.
Even within the same language certain new expressions render as endangered species certain very easily and universally comprehensible generic expressions.

For example the mere term ‘Changes or changing trends’ have been replaced by ‘paradigm shifts’.

In additions to naturally evolving changes required to adapt to emerging new contexts and newer domains of human activities, there are also these types of affected usages [like paradigm shift] to replace the existing words and expressions.

This arena is further crowded by the ejection of multitude of carefully crafted nuanced new connotations [too far removed from the denotation, and devoid of any etymological justification] assigned to certain terminologies by the new breed of professionals known as ‘agenda setters, the dinosaur like predatory [but selective in their prey] mass opinion molding narrative peddlers who contradictorily are moving in the safe sanctuaries of main stream media [MSM] houses and they also go about appropriating lofty terms like intellectuals, scholars, liberals and so on.

There is no counter to this terminological terrorism because it operates from safe sanctuaries.

The nibbling of terminologies portraying greatness by these termites or bugaboo
[Media sponsored opinion nibblers] has squeezed out the sap of greatness attached to those terms. [‘Bugaboo’ is an American English term for an object of fear or alarm in both the literal and figurative sense is from Jamaican word for scary insects]

There are, and preferably there cannot be or must not be any hard and fast rule, either in punctuation or usage of words and expressions, especially if they restrict the free flow of thoughts and ideas in specific contexts.

However, we cannot totally ignore the importance and role of certain reasonable [a highly relative term in this context] broad guild lines in punctuation, grammar, and word usage that enable and enhance the recipient or the reader to understand better without too much of ambiguity.

Having said all the above there are certain inherent inadequacies and illogicalities in every language in some aspects of every language and they get further mutilated when a non native speakers use those languages.

Let us confine ourselves to English, which is not a native language of most Indians, most struggle, and rightly so, the illogicality of prepositions in many expressions and the real meaning of certain idioms.

Neither the usage of words and expressions nor the evolving connotations beyond and besides strictly etymological justifications can be stopped and let the language to get petrified, if that had happened then the language would not have expanded its influence and superior importance. I am tempted to quote what David Crystal writes in his books WORD, WORDS, WORDS and THE STORIES OF ENGLISH wherein he shares certain interesting of information like these:- “ words science, conscience and shit all had originally common etymology”, and  “It remains a lexicological puzzle why some words were accepted and some rejected. We do not know how to account for the linguistic ‘survival of the fittest’. Both impede and expede were introduced during the same period as well as disabuse and disadorn, but in each of these pairs the first item stayed in the language and the second did not”.
  

Yes indeed words have eternal wings, enormous power and phoenix like survival instincts.

Articulation is one of the greatest arts which can enhance or extinguish anything.


But equally powerful are the interpretations, connotations with contextual relevance, perceptions, frames of references used to perceive and perspectives, ability look beyond and beneath the words and many other factors.


It is therefore, important to pay very minute attention to the nuances and learn the art of diplomatic articulation.



At the end of the day, even if we are not able to create a great impact or convince and make others accept our stand or a particular stand, at least we must be able to get across what we intend to convey to others in a way that they can grasp or preferably how we want them to grasp.


The earth may be rotating on its own axis but the world is getting rotated by multitude of axes of various versions and carefully crafted narratives.

Words evolve and live only in an environment created by literature and other contexts that involve dominant human activities.

That’s why, if we travel with or through the words we will know that many centuries ago vocabularies in most languages were dominated by mythological, religious and hunting terminologies, then wars and battles, followed by philosophical discourse, science, economics, politics, advancing technologies like internet and so on.

Mathematician Theodor Molien was fluent in German, Estonian, French, Swedish, Greek, Hebrew, Latin, English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, and Norwegian.  He said, “Read a hundred novels in a language,” he liked to say, “and you will know that language.”

In political arena very few focus on economic development, social engineering for improvement of living conditions for as many as possible and instead some of them are concentrating on verbal articulation.

So, in that process, we are bound to encounter variety of styles including bombastic language and using obscure terms etc.

The Telesis [n. the intelligent direction of effort toward the achievement of an end] decides the curve of articulation and the nature of vocabulary used.


I wish the readers to also read authors like Steven Pinker, David crystal on linguistics besides the usually prescribed linguistics books and authors.

Further dressing of appreciation of language can emerge through reading of ‘Aesthetics and the Theory of Criticism: Selected Essays of Arnold Isenberg’ By Arnold Isenberg






Two of my own write ups on the same topic ‘Marriage’, first one written in a totally affected style when I was in the final year of my schooling as an exercise of challenge among our friends as to who can write a free verse with maximum number of difficult words and the second one really what I felt after attending a wedding a few years back.


Neither fastidious scrutiny of grammatical correctness nor the most easily comprehensible expressions can act as sanctifying authority to impose any specific style as that would stifle free flow of expression.

Usages of specific terminologies depend on context, purpose and individual style.

However, if you want to know anyone’s natural reaction and spontaneous language, take him out of the comfort zone and making him take a walk in beach and unleash some ten [10] hounds and then record the language or screams that he utters in any language or ask him to take ten [10] rounds of rum on the rocks and let him speak.



Thursday, February 1, 2018

Major socio-psychological disorder is attention seeking sensationalism

Major socio-psychological disorder is attention seeking sensationalism

In the present day atmosphere of  overcrowded and over enthusiastic free distribution of opinions by anyone with access to some media be it the totally biased multiple MSMs [Main Stream Media houses both in print and visual] or the billions of SM [Social Media] avenues, attention seeking sensationalism is a very hard to resist temptation.

However, the other side of this issue is that everything and everyone gets evaluated and judged through multiple frames of references with various motives and in various aspects.

Invariably in most cases reason gets bypassed in the din of opinions, counter opinions, evaluations, judgmental sweeping provocative statements, ideological identity based narrow cherry picking of issues, words, statements, actions and reactions etc which get selectively magnified for mass consumption and spiced with an attractive aroma of sensationalism which is predominantly superficial .

These are done intentionally for mass consumption by masking many complete and comprehensive in depth view of reality and ramifications.

The most overpowering spices in this are well nuanced and clich├ęd coining of slogans and statements which keep on recycling and repeating ad nausea and provocative visuals both of which have the potential to prioritize in such a way that they can to turn a very calm issue into a catastrophic crisis or at least preoccupy the mind space of every individual.

This is a major socio-psychological disorder that the very perpetrators must stop, which is very unlikely, as it provides the fodder for their hidden agenda or remote controlled manipulators.

However, some seriously concerned people can and must educate the victims to this disorder suitably or divert by prioritizing sanity and humane values over these sensational superficialities.


It becomes really sad when this disorder permeates into even institutions and individuals who are looked upon to maintain order.