AnimeSuki Forums

Register Forum Rules FAQ Members List Social Groups Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Go Back   AnimeSuki Forum > General > General Chat

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 2012-02-18, 20:16   Link #1
SaintessHeart
Ehh? EEEEHHHHHH?
 
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Age: 25
Art of Communication : The Use And Abuse Of Language

I have recently read alot of stuff and I am still sifting through the insane amount of words, quotes and information inside my head that it is starting to affect the way I function in communicating with others. Often my peers nowadays have given me the "WTF are you talking about" or "Never heard of that, where did you get that from" look on the face - this might be bad for me because I am having new colleagues next month.

I theorise that it is the way how our words are phrased - often the uglier the thing sounds, it seems to hold more truth; take for example this quote from George Bernard Shaw :

Quote:
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.
Is that really true? Or is it applied to how language is constantly twisted and invented by modern media to draw attention, or is language naturally flexible to draw attention to issues?

And do new terms become cliches faster, or are they cliches-to-be in the first place?

With the repetition of big words, is English slowly becoming "Ingsoc", or is it just that people are being taught to simplify? Or is it that cognitive dissonance encourages us to ignore and not understand what we don't like to hear?

What is language and the use of it exactly, an art, or the science of communication? Why is English universally used instead of maths, which is supposed to be a "universal language"?

How can we use language in an ethical way, efficiently to convince others, and to communicate in a way where we don't offend by using a specific choice of words?

@ TRL, Ascaloth and the other language mavens of this forum : Please keep things simple. Thank you. Especially you, TRL.
__________________

When three puppygirls named after pastries are on top of each other, it is called Eclair a'la menthe et Biscotti aux fraises avec beaucoup de Ricotta sur le dessus.
Most of all, you have to be disciplined and you have to save, even if you hate our current financial system. Because if you don't save, then you're guaranteed to end up with nothing.
SaintessHeart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-02-18, 21:12   Link #2
NoemiChan
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Philippines
Age: 26
Send a message via Yahoo to NoemiChan Send a message via Skype™ to NoemiChan
Sorry but this all I can say...

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintessHeart View Post
I have recently read alot of stuff and I am still sifting through the insane amount of words, quotes and information inside my head that it is starting to affect the way I function in communicating with others.
Same here

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintessHeart View Post
Often my peers nowadays have given me the "WTF are you talking about" or "Never heard of that, where did you get that from" look on the face - this might be bad for me because I am having new colleagues next month.
It's either they can't relate to you or they just don't agree with you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintessHeart View Post
I theorise that it is the way how our words are phrased - often the uglier the thing sounds, it seems to hold more truth
I don't think so... some uses "uglier" to put pressure on the listener. It's like how a two angry guys using "bad words" to convince the other that they are correct and the other is wrong. I believe in formal speech.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintessHeart View Post
Or is it applied to how language is constantly twisted and invented by modern media to draw attention, or is language naturally flexible to draw attention to issues?
I'm more on the flexibility plus the influence of other languages as they fuse with other other. About the "drawing attention thing" I really don't know but something new do get attention...sometimes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintessHeart View Post
What is language and the use of it exactly, an art, or the science of communication? Why is English universally used instead of maths, which is supposed to be a "universal language"?
Language is a verbal form of communication for me...it's more of an art. Why English? Hmmm.. it's more widely used I think... and I thought Music is the universal language.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintessHeart View Post
How can we use language in an ethical way, efficiently to convince others, and to communicate in a way where we don't offend by using a specific choice of words?
Frankly, avoid using the "WTF words" as much as you can... Personally I hate it... Convince them in a formal way like a psychologist talking to an anti social maniac.
NoemiChan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-02-18, 21:26   Link #3
Ledgem
Love Yourself
 
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Northeast USA
Age: 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintessHeart View Post
Often my peers nowadays have given me the "WTF are you talking about" or "Never heard of that, where did you get that from" look on the face - this might be bad for me because I am having new colleagues next month.
I've seen you mention things like this a few times throughout your posting history, and you usually infer that the topics you're bringing up are too complex for your conversation partners. Obviously I can't say what the case is, since I haven't been there to see it myself, but I wonder a bit... I mean, I've given the "WTF are you talking about" to certain people in my life, and it's because they are notoriously bad about getting lost inside of their own heads and not realizing that I'm not in there with them. They're talking as they get lost in thought, but they're leaving out critical connections between what they're bringing up, or they're not specifying what the topic is. I may be knowledgeable about the subject, but because I'm not a mind reader I really have no idea what they're talking about or what they're trying to get at.

Words. Use 'em.

Then there are the inappropriate topics, or topics that I really don't care about. The "WTF are you on about" expression may come about because my conversation partner has not picked up on the various cues about my desire to discuss something else, and is charging full speed ahead into a topic that clearly only they care about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintessHeart View Post
What is language and the use of it exactly, an art, or the science of communication? Why is English universally used instead of maths, which is supposed to be a "universal language"?
Language is just a way to transmit thoughts and concepts. Math is excellent at working through and transmitting certain ideas, but it is very limited in its ability to transmit others. English is probably used for its flexibility and relative simplicity (written, not grammar), but English lacks some of the transmission capabilities of other languages. Similarly, it has some capabilities built in that other languages do not. A basic example of what I mean: Japanese has many forms of honorifics and "formal speech" that English lacks (hierarchy denomination), yet Japanese lacks gender description that is practically inherent to English (and other Latin-based languages).

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintessHeart View Post
How can we use language in an ethical way, efficiently to convince others, and to communicate in a way where we don't offend by using a specific choice of words?
Impossible. Even though language is the process of transmitting concepts and ideas, everyone perceives the transmission differently based on their culture. Even within a culture, people's perceptions differ based on their individual personal experiences and thoughts. Some people will seem to understand what you meant exactly, while others will need elaborations, re-wording, analogies, etc. to understand what was intended.
__________________
Ledgem is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-02-18, 21:40   Link #4
yourfriendrick
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintessHeart View Post
take for example this quote from George Bernard Shaw :
Quote:
Quote:
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.

Is that really true? Or is it applied to how language is constantly twisted and invented by modern media to draw attention, or is language naturally flexible to draw attention to issues?

And do new terms become cliches faster, or are they cliches-to-be in the first place?
1. Yes, GBS was right.
2. Language is naturally flexible, but it is twisted by deceivers. The key phenomenon is called "conflict of interest." When someone has a vested interest that impels him to twist language, the resulting misinformation usually harms the community.
3. "Do new terms become cliches faster" is ambiguous. I assume you meant, "Do new terms become cliches faster now than they used to 100 years ago?" or something like that. I don't know, and I think the cliche issue is not central to your problem.
4. How do we use words ethically? Tell the truth. Whenever possible, tell the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

And furthermore, since truth often angers people, tell the truth quickly and then run away.
yourfriendrick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-02-18, 23:02   Link #5
LeoXiao
提倡自我工業化
 
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Vereinigte Staaten
Age: 22
Language can be warped, as 1984's Newspeak shows us. But in real-world application, the warping of language is not so important as the social environment itself being warped, because the environment changing is what necessitates lingual change in the first place.

In 1984, Newspeak was the language of Ingsoc and thus of the Party, which had a vested interest in controlling people as greatly as possible. Newspeak was simply another tool to cement the Party's influence, which in effect means that it was conjured to reflect the political reality. But I think that Orwell was exaggerating; as in real life a totalitarian government can just as easily change the way their citizens speak by means of normal propaganda, repression of culture, and so on. They do not have to reinvent the whole language for it.

Likewise, any major societal force can affect a change or warping of language, even in free countries. Advertising and TV (prolefeed) are prime examples of this. The forces behind them (companies) use language and media to create shifts in culture and thought with the root end of making money and thus getting more power. When the language and culture changes for what are often simple, inconsiderate, and narrow-minded ends, the result can be said to be "warped".

Quote:
With the repetition of big words, is English slowly becoming "Ingsoc", or is it just that people are being taught to simplify? Or is it that cognitive dissonance encourages us to ignore and not understand what we don't like to hear?
A large aspect of "big words" is the industrial complexity of modern civilization, which makes them necessary. An increasing degree of specialization is now required, which in turn makes it so that an endless amount of new vocabulary is required. Indeed, if the average person reads an article about economics, he will often be forced to consult a dictionary to figure out exactly what is going on and even then may not quite grasp the situation.

Quote:
What is language and the use of it exactly, an art, or the science of communication? Why is English universally used instead of maths, which is supposed to be a "universal language"?
English is used, as you probably know, because of the Anglo-American hegemony of the last couple centuries. Math is a specialization that is not workable for practical communication. I think that the length of the equations and stuff needed to sufficiently translate this post into "math" would be exorbitantly long.

Quote:
How can we use language in an ethical way, efficiently to convince others, and to communicate in a way where we don't offend by using a specific choice of words?
The way is not to change the language you speak or your words exactly, but to change the way you think. To change how you think, you need to change what you learn. If you want to use language more ethically, you have to cultivate yourself according to the definition of ethics that you agree with.

Last edited by LeoXiao; 2012-02-18 at 23:17.
LeoXiao is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-02-19, 01:00   Link #6
Masuzu
勝利のため
*Author
 
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: キセキの世代
Communication, to me, is transmitting your intentions in the form of words(language)/actions(body language)/etc.

Now if we go by this definition, we cannot prevent others from misunderstanding when we try to transmit our intentions. In the process of converting your intentions to language, you end up creating room for various interpretations--these interpretations give birth to misunderstandings simply because you sent your intentions through a medium. When you send a letter, you are not sure what happens to the letter on its journey, and you do not know how the receiver will interpret your message.

That being said, I'm not entirely sure what this thread is about.
__________________
Masuzu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-02-19, 01:47   Link #7
Tempester
AS's "Love Live!" Fanatic
 
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Listening to "SENTIMENTAL StepS" on repeat
Age: 23
Warning, elitist ranting and some hypocrisy ahead.

I sometimes get the feeling that there is a big wedge between the people who write and read high literature and the people who don't read much at all.

I consider my own English skills to be above average. I've been praised before for using apparently "complicated" words. I get frequently turned off by the butchering of the English language on the internet and real life. There are way too many people who don't capitalize the correct words, don't use punctuation, overuse emoticons, and use the wrong words. It rubs on me the wrong way, especially in this day and age when free dictionaries and grammar guides are a single Google search away. Just check the MAL forums if you want some examples.

Despite all of this, when I pick up certain classic pieces of literature, I have no idea what the author is saying. I'm slowly getting more used to it, but much of high literature is written in such a roundabout and alien way, and with a huge amount of obscure words. I stopped reading Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame because I couldn't follow anything. The book felt like it was written on a higher and superior level of English that my mind couldn't yet comprehend. I know it's not good for me to feel this way, but I get the feeling that a lot of these books are deliberately written in such a way to turn off casual readers and to appeal to a small demographic.

I feel alienated when it comes to the English language, like I'm too smart for the casual normal people but too stupid for the literature community.
__________________
MyAnimeList
- - - - -
Visual novel list
- - - - -
Recently completed anime:
Girls und Panzer: Kore ga Hontou no Anzio-sen Desu!
Sakura Trick
Love Live! School Idol Project 2nd Season
Selector Infected WIXOSS
Mikakunin de Shinkoukei
Nagi no Asukara
Tempester is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-02-19, 03:41   Link #8
Irenicus
Le fou, c'est moi
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Las Vegas, NV, USA
Age: 25
^Which translation were you reading Hugo on, Tempester? There are many translations over the years, and some date from more than a century before. Those are naturally difficult to just about everybody.

Even then, do note that Monsieur Hugo is infamous for being one of the most extravagantly verbose major authors ever. His Les Miserables is an exercise in indulgence, forgiven and loved only because of the scale of his vision and the occasional moments of extraordinary sentiment in the language. I do not think Notre Dame is as bad, nor, for that matter, as extraordinary, but the original French might still be a major part of why you found him difficult.
Irenicus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-02-19, 04:03   Link #9
Archon_Wing
Hater
*Author
 
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Being totally ebillll
Age: 30
Send a message via MSN to Archon_Wing
Language is an abstraction. We're not very good at processing tons of binary code rapidly (that would truly be tl;dr), so we need more abstract things to transmit our ideas. That is why we don't just use numbers.

People are also inherent lazy, so they must pick the most direct and easiest way to get these ideas across. Just take the internet where we seem to constantly find shorter ways to type things. It's also easier for me to say "Fuck you" then to write a 30 page essay about why someone sucks.

Different words can have similar meanings, but the ability to attach meaning, emotion, and intent can make them all useful. Big words are not just to sound intelligent but to reach another level of precision with the idea you are trying to imply.

To convince others, you should avoid using especially strong language such as "trash". It's best to know your audience in all cases, and to adapt your language to pander to their sensibilities. Remember you can express the truth in many different ways without actually lying. It's why we come up with shit such as "Collateral damage". In the ethical sense you should avoid these tactics. Also, don't waste people's time. Don't prefix sentences with "No offense" because they know you are bullshitting them anyways.
__________________
What appears to be a moment for the helper feels like an eternity to the helpee.
Avatar and Sig courtesy of TheEroKing
Guild Wars 2 SN: ArchonWing.9480 (Stormbluff Isle)
MyAnimeList || Reviews
Archon_Wing is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-02-19, 04:59   Link #10
TinyRedLeaf
. . .
 
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Singapore
Age: 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintessHeart View Post
With the repetition of big words, is English slowly becoming "Ingsoc", or is it just that people are being taught to simplify? Or is it that cognitive dissonance encourages us to ignore and not understand what we don't like to hear?
Since you brought up George Orwell, you may as well read his views about Politics and the English Language.

More importantly, refer to his Six Rules for clear writing:
1) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

2) Never use a long word where a short one will do.

3) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

4) Never use the passive when you can use the active.

5) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or jargon if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

6) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

Keep it clear, keep it simple, keep it short.

And always, always, always say what you mean. Don't hide behind euphemisms.

I find that when you can't express a big idea in a few short words, then you likely don't understand your idea as well as you think.

Quote:
Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble. If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration.
In short: Clarity of writing follows clarity of thought.
TinyRedLeaf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-02-19, 05:13   Link #11
SaintessHeart
Ehh? EEEEHHHHHH?
 
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Age: 25
While I do generally agree with Ledgem on his words (me only, not sure about others), I would like to clarify the "peers" I refer to in this part of the reply :

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
I've seen you mention things like this a few times throughout your posting history, and you usually infer that the topics you're bringing up are too complex for your conversation partners. Obviously I can't say what the case is, since I haven't been there to see it myself, but I wonder a bit... I mean, I've given the "WTF are you talking about" to certain people in my life, and it's because they are notoriously bad about getting lost inside of their own heads and not realizing that I'm not in there with them. They're talking as they get lost in thought, but they're leaving out critical connections between what they're bringing up, or they're not specifying what the topic is. I may be knowledgeable about the subject, but because I'm not a mind reader I really have no idea what they're talking about or what they're trying to get at.

Words. Use 'em.

Then there are the inappropriate topics, or topics that I really don't care about. The "WTF are you on about" expression may come about because my conversation partner has not picked up on the various cues about my desire to discuss something else, and is charging full speed ahead into a topic that clearly only they care about.
I am talking about the people who say "What has Iran got to do with petrol prices", "What has oil prices got to do with food prices", "How does the way Wall Street work affect our investments" and "Why are you bringing up rate of fuel consumption when we are talking about buying cars", and when I use economics and science to explain it to them, the blank stare stays.

I am not going to deride them as "idiots" because I have seen worse, and these are nice people who actually brought up the fact that they don't understand. What I am interested is how to explain "complex" topics in "simple" terms but not oversimplifying them that it overgeneralises.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
Since you brought up George Orwell, you may as well read his views about Politics and the English Language.

More importantly, refer to his Six Rules for clear writing:
1) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

2) Never use a long word where a short one will do.

3) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

4) Never use the passive when you can use the active.

5) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or jargon if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

6) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
Keep it clear, keep it simple, keep it short.

And always, always, always say what you mean. Don't hide behind euphemisms.

I find that when you can't express a big idea in a few short words, then you likely don't understand your idea as well as you think.
Then it brings forward the issue of "being cruel on the reader". Orwell has exercised those rules greatly in his writings, and even after authoring Animal Farm, the British Foreign Office (if I remember correctly) stopped the publication of the book so as not to jeopardise the alliance between the Russians and British/US in defeating Nazi Germany.

And then came political correctness, or what we call "correct speech" that seek to turn the English Language we use everyday into a clean and smooth flowing speech and writing. The term for this is supposed to be "bowdlerise" - and the problem compounds communication as it takes away simplicity (which are sometimes offensive), resulting in the invention of even more euphemisms known as "jargon".

Is this the evolution of language, or is it more like a degeneration into Orwellian Ingsoc? Is there a way to keep things simple, while transmitting an important idea that could potentially be "cruel" in the way it is phrased?

Quote:
In short: Clarity of writing follows clarity of thought.
I agree with that. The problem is that "clarity of thought" is subjective to understanding, and understanding works on the different levels of people. Arguably, it is popular to blame knowledge of subject topic that hinders how ideas are passed from one to another. For example - a rocket scientist may think that "O-rings" are the cause of the explosion of a space shuttle, and fill an entire chalkboard addressing the entire issue, while a layman would go, "What the heck are O-rings? What do you mean by surface drag?".

I wonder if it is a psychological issue that seeing or imagining entirely complex layouts are an automatic circuit breaker in human brains to prevent it from damage.

Thank you all for the replies. I am afraid I can't find catgirls to compensate at the moment, however, it would be excellent to keep things coming - I have an intuition that this discussion is going to unravel the Jeet Kun Do of communication.
__________________

When three puppygirls named after pastries are on top of each other, it is called Eclair a'la menthe et Biscotti aux fraises avec beaucoup de Ricotta sur le dessus.
Most of all, you have to be disciplined and you have to save, even if you hate our current financial system. Because if you don't save, then you're guaranteed to end up with nothing.

Last edited by SaintessHeart; 2012-02-19 at 05:54.
SaintessHeart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-02-19, 05:25   Link #12
Tempester
AS's "Love Live!" Fanatic
 
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Listening to "SENTIMENTAL StepS" on repeat
Age: 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irenicus View Post
^Which translation were you reading Hugo on, Tempester? There are many translations over the years, and some date from more than a century before. Those are naturally difficult to just about everybody.
No idea. I attempted to read it a couple years or so ago, and the book is not with me at the moment. I doubt that a better translation would make it magically more comprehensible to me, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Irenicus View Post
Even then, do note that Monsieur Hugo is infamous for being one of the most extravagantly verbose major authors ever. His Les Miserables is an exercise in indulgence, forgiven and loved only because of the scale of his vision and the occasional moments of extraordinary sentiment in the language. I do not think Notre Dame is as bad, nor, for that matter, as extraordinary, but the original French might still be a major part of why you found him difficult.
Which is why, even though I believe that original material is generally better than adaptations, I still plan to watch the Les Miserables anime before reading the book, because I'm simply not mentally ready to read the book. I do believe that reading Hugo as a beginner to literature was a bad idea in retrospect. I'm attempting some easier fiction instead, with better results. The great classics can wait for now.
__________________
MyAnimeList
- - - - -
Visual novel list
- - - - -
Recently completed anime:
Girls und Panzer: Kore ga Hontou no Anzio-sen Desu!
Sakura Trick
Love Live! School Idol Project 2nd Season
Selector Infected WIXOSS
Mikakunin de Shinkoukei
Nagi no Asukara
Tempester is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-02-19, 07:32   Link #13
Irenicus
Le fou, c'est moi
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Las Vegas, NV, USA
Age: 25
I knew someone was going to bring Orwell in eventually.

But see, Saintess, even I have to admit sometimes I find it hard to see where you're going with your post. It's not exactly a problem of comprehending the language itself, at least in my case, but in trying to trace your thoughts from, say, a post you quoted and how your response relates to it. Something like that can give pauses from time to time.

Take for example your specific scenario here:
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintessHeart
I am talking about the people who say "What has Iran got to do with petrol prices", "What has oil prices got to do with food prices", "How does the way Wall Street work affect our investments" and "Why are you bringing up rate of fuel consumption when we are talking about buying cars", and when I use economics and science to explain it to them, the blank stare stays.
...in which case, and contravening slightly the advice of such an authority as Orwell and our resident journalist TRL, I'd say you would in fact benefit from an analogy or two to help clarify your explanations. At least don't be shy about simplifying first, even if it's not completely right, then explaining in detail more.

Also remember that verbal communication involves much more than the words themselves. The most important thing is probably to gauge your conversation partner's interest; people generally do not respond well to detailed explanations out of the door. They need to be cued into "complex discussion" mode, so to speak. Often the setting itself helps -- a private, thoughtful conversation between two people, a seminar or a classroom discussion, etc.

It is also probably helpful if you divide your explanations step by step, gauging your audience's comprehension along the way. Say, about the relation between food prices and oil prices. Mention first the idea that food is transported around, then add that the price of oil affects the cost of transport. Bring the conclusion in ("So when oil prices go up, food prices follow because of the transport cost"). Use cues and prompts along the way, so as to prevent a conversation from being one-sided (an easy keyword: "Right?"). Once your audience starts to get where you're going and shows understanding, then you can start bringing in some more complex ideas. You can start by saying how many, many goods all have to be transported, all of which use oil, then introduce the concept of commodity prices and how they affect each other, and so on.

The key, I'd say, is to divide the exposition into small mental steps. It is also important to maintain your audience's interest and show your interest in them. Slow down, if you must. It is harder to organize one's thoughts in a verbal environment than in text. Oh, and make sure you know where you just came from, and that they know where you're going when you start. Again, people don't take in long explanations very well, even when divided in steps, even when they would have comprehended your points otherwise, if they weren't expecting one.

And yes, use simple words. Avoid jargon, unless you have good cause to expect the other person to know the jargon very well indeed (economic students for economic terms; traders for stock market terms).


Unrelated to that...
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintessHeart
Then it brings forward the issue of "being cruel on the reader". Orwell has exercised those rules greatly in his writings, and even after authoring Animal Farm, the British Foreign Office (if I remember correctly) stopped the publication of the book so as not to jeopardise the alliance between the Russians and British/US in defeating Nazi Germany.
The problem with Animal Farm is not so much the clarity of language as it is the clarity of sentiment. The whole book is, after all, a giant, extended metaphor. Really, the one argument related to his famous precepts is that perhaps he had indeed been too clear, too open with his metaphor, so that there is no doubt what he was really trying to say.

Many subversive literary materials are much less direct in their analogies and their intentions compared to Animal Farm and left room for debate -- take for example The Wizard of Oz -- though admittedly some were made so by the entropy of time.


____________________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tempester
Which is why, even though I believe that original material is generally better than adaptations, I still plan to watch the Les Miserables anime before reading the book, because I'm simply not mentally ready to read the book. I do believe that reading Hugo as a beginner to literature was a bad idea in retrospect. I'm attempting some easier fiction instead, with better results. The great classics can wait for now.
Many other classics are remarkably accessible though. Dickens aged very well, and Miss Austen is as fresh a young lady as she ever was. In fact, she is easily one of the freshest and most accessible authors to have ever written in the English language, a true delight. The verbosity of a Victor Hugo novel in any language can be blamed squarely on Victor Hugo.

How difficult a work of classic literature depends on many factors, of course. The older it is, the less accessible overall -- excepting such remarkable prodigies as Jane Austen. The date and quality of the translation matters, as well; a modern translation of a modern work tends to be the most accessible. And some authors just have a difficult style, for whatever reason.

Finally, and this is probably the closest to your original lament, some are just that hard intentionally. They may be large, long to the point of unreasonable, like one of those Russian epics. They may demand undivided attention from the reader to follow closely the syntax, the word, the very structure of the language being used as if the reader is reading a poem. They may in fact contain unusual syntax. Or they may, like the infamous Ulysses by James Joyce, be written to imitate certain unstable modes of mind, aiming for qualities far different from ordinary prose. If such is the case then literally *everybody* will stumble, and the enjoyment one gets out of it will depend on how much one cares for the art of figuring out a literary puzzle.

Even that is a case-by-case basis. I'm willing any day of the week to puzzle out a Borges short story, but I'll only accept a guaranteed tenure position at a minimum if you want me to ever read Proust and his damned madeleine.

Last edited by Irenicus; 2012-02-19 at 07:46.
Irenicus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-02-19, 08:38   Link #14
Solace
(ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻
*Moderator
 
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irenicus View Post
And some authors just have a difficult style, for whatever reason.
And some authors like to screw with the reader:

Quote:
Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought--
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
Poor, poor Alice. She didn't understand at all.
__________________
Solace is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-02-19, 08:56   Link #15
TinyRedLeaf
. . .
 
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Singapore
Age: 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solace View Post
Poor, poor Alice. She didn't understand at all.
I raise you:
Quote:
dying is fine)but Death

?o
baby
i

wouldn't like
Death if Death
were
good:for

when(instead of stopping to think)you

begin to feel of it,dying
's miraculous
why?be

cause dying is

perfectly natural;perfectly
putting
it mildly lively(but

Death

is strictly
scientific
& artificial &

evil & legal)

we thank thee
god
almighty for dying
(forgive us,o life!the sin of Death
TinyRedLeaf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-02-19, 08:58   Link #16
Solace
(ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻
*Moderator
 
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
That formatting.
__________________
Solace is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-02-19, 09:00   Link #17
TinyRedLeaf
. . .
 
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Singapore
Age: 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solace View Post
That formatting.
...is) entirely
deli-
berate
TinyRedLeaf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-02-19, 09:04   Link #18
Irenicus
Le fou, c'est moi
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Las Vegas, NV, USA
Age: 25
It's actually really easy to understand, and probably a lot of fun to nerd out on. o_O
Irenicus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-02-19, 13:08   Link #19
monsta666
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: London, England
Age: 27
The art of communication - in my eyes - is the ability to convey a thought, opinion or idea in such a way that your intended audience can understand fully what you are trying to say. Having a large vocabulary will certainly help with this but a high vocabulary alone does not mean a person is a good communicator. A good communicator is someone who has a good awareness of human physiology. They can understand the mindset of their audience and will take account of the following factors: knowledge of the subject and general language ability, mode of thinking, current emotional state (this is an important consideration for relationships) and general cultural bias the audience has and, depending on those factors, will alter their message to maximise the effect their message has on their target audience.

I feel the points raised above are important. I know plenty of people who certainly know their subject matter but because they take no account of their audience they use excessive jargon so even though they raise very good and valid points their message is largely missed or ignored by their intended audience. Thus that is a case of good poor communication even though the person is clearly articulate and has a sound knowledge of their subject matter.
monsta666 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-02-19, 14:21   Link #20
TinyRedLeaf
. . .
 
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Singapore
Age: 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irenicus View Post
It's actually really easy to understand, and probably a lot of fun to nerd out on.
There's a reason for that, but first...

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintessHeart View Post
I am not going to deride them as "idiots" because I have seen worse, and these are nice people who actually brought up the fact that they don't understand. What I am interested is how to explain "complex" topics in "simple" terms but not oversimplifying them that it overgeneralises.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintessHeart View Post
Then it brings forward the issue of "being cruel on the reader".
(1) Respect your audience
One of the first rules of journalism (and the hardest to enforce, because it relies heavily on experience and judgment) is to serve the reader, not your ego.

Are you writing to impress or to serve? Are you trying to help people understand? Have you managed to join the dots so that others can see the bigger picture? There is no such thing as an audience that is too dumb to understand your message. There is only a failure in storytelling.

A senior colleague, one of the founding editors of this country's best-selling tabloid, advised me: Tell it like you'd tell it to Grandma.

If you can't, you've failed.

So, with regard to subjects like "O-rings", or arguments that invoke Latinus ad nauseum, ask yourself: Is the detail really necessary? Does the information help answer the 5Ws and 1H (who, when, where, what, why and how)?

If it doesn't, you've failed.


(2) I see...
Now, back to e e cummings. His avant-garde poetry somehow makes sense because of his subversive use of visual cues. Just as Lewis Carroll provides contextual clues to help readers make sense out of nonsense, cummings employs syntax and punctuation to help forge meaning out of empty space.

The next time you flip through a newspaper, magazine or website, pay attention to the design. Observe how text is interspersed with photos and graphics. Think about the choice of typography and the use of colours. Do the visual elements help to make the page come alive? Or do they repel you so much that you can't bear to take a second look?

We have slang terms for poor design, like "wall of text" or "tl;dr". Yet, we still somehow manage to drown readers in a sea of grey.

Avoid it when you can.


There is another kind of visual communication that is separate from design, and that is to write as though you are painting with words. You achieve this through skilful use of adjectives, similes, metaphors and analogy.

Lately, I realised that it's also about being able to freeze an image in my mind. I've interviewed someone. Did he look happy or sad? Was the venue gritty or bright? How do I set my observations to text, without editorialisng?

Just remember one cardinal rule: Keep it concrete.

Abstraction is for the artists (and the loony).


(3) Read it aloud
Words are meant to be spoken.

You've written your essay. Congratulations!

Now, try reading it aloud.

If you find yourself losing your breath, rewrite.

"Keep it clear, keep it simple, keep it short."

I could just have easily written:
"Keep it short, keep it clear, keep it simple."

Why didn't I? Read it aloud.

Technically, consonance, assonance, rhythm and meter are at work.

But you don't need to read notation to hear music.

Just play it by ear. Good sound is always good.

Last edited by TinyRedLeaf; 2012-02-19 at 14:40.
TinyRedLeaf is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
cliche, english, ingsoc, poetry in motion, political correctness

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:31.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
We use Silk.