It’s not often that I really think about what I’m saying in conversations. I just seem to say what seems right. It reminds me of martial arts. Through repetition, you learn to react based on instinct, not thinking it over. With language, the same thing happens (though it is less noticeable because we do not think of reading/writing/talking as “training”).
A child first learning the language or someone learning it as a second language view the language differently. They have to think about the word and associate the meaning. Those who have been reading/writing/speaking the language for quite some time start to view the sentences as one meaning. We don’t think about what each word means, those just come to us instantly, it is the sentence that we think about. That’s where I agree with you.
The words we use act together to create a meaning in a sentence. But that only goes so far. In everyday discussion, we don’t read into things as much because we are not expecting there to be much to think about. It’s our adaptation to everyday life. If we are put in a situation where we know we will have to analyze and think through things, we react differently (such as being in a classroom).
On that point, If a child is doing poorly in school, it may not be the method that is causing the problem (though it plays a big part), but rather the childs mentality going into the situation. Most kids don’t want to think, it’s hard for them because they don’t know as much about the world as an adult would. This is why it helps with younger kids to turn the learning into a game, because that’s where they have their heads at.
Adults are different in that we have the capacity to think at any time, but we still have our “modes” which either aid or detract different situations, which brings me back to the martial arts thing. In a situation where you need to resolve things quickly, you don’t have the luxury to take your time thinking things over, you act on instinct. A paramedic trains so that they don’t need to think about what they need to do to save a life, they just do it (and that plays into all parts of their job, from hearing a call on the radio to resolving the problem). While playing chess, you can take your time thinking about the best strategy. In debate, it’s a mix of the two. Different modes for different situations. Unfortunately, humans don’t have a mode switch, so adapting to a situation can be difficult and take time.
If someone is in a different mode than you are when you talk to them, they will react differently. They may over-think or under-think to varying degrees, and most of the time that will be undetectable. The message will remain the same between the two of you, but the method will change, based on where the two of you would sit on the spectrum. To me, that is a difference that is purely semantics because of human nature.
It helps to view people this way, as every human is capable of every thing that every other human does, it just depends on what their experience has been. Someone who has spent their whole life playing chess is better suited to planning strategies than someone who has spent their whole life talking to people about their problems, yet that same person is better suited to analyzing situations than the strategist. You can apply that to everything from talking about the hockey game to world politics. It explains, realistically, why western governments are structured the way they are and why relations between different countries cant always align.
I don’t mean to imply that all differences in people are simply a matter of what “mode” they are in, humans are much too complex for that, but it’s a start into understanding the differences in language, and, more importantly, how we all experience that language.
This entry was posted on February 24, 2011 by lifeaftersocialmedia. It was filed under In General and was tagged with language, lifeaftersocialmedia, linguistics, martial arts, on language, politics, training, walrus.