The Loss of Meaning

Ever wonder why there is so much miscommunication among peers? Aside from slang and the occasional acronym or new word meld, I have noticed that many of my friends get into arguments because they failed to grasp the meaning of a word in context. Blame the English language for using the same word to mean multiple things, but the misunderstandings go beyond clashes of opinions or disparate knowledge. It is as if the words have lost their meaning.

Our vocabulary is the main tool for communication. The dictionary provides ample examples of words that can enhance the vernacular and have particular and profound meaning. Instead of saying very tired you could say you are exhausted. However, we choose to simplify what we are saying for the sake of shortening the time we speak or to avoid sounding too erudite. That’s sad because most of us have been conditioned to think eloquent people are show offs. How insecure must a nation be to devalue intelligence and overvalue colloquial speech? Why do we make life hell for the nerds that will eventually save us from the Zombie Apocalypse? Inconceivable!

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We say we are sorry when we don’t mean it,  and especially when we actually want to say excuse me. We tell people friendship is about covering up lies and appearances instead of being there for our people during times of crisis. We ghost instead of telling our date that we are not interested. Most people hurt others with silence and indifference claiming this is a gentler approach than being honest and direct about their feelings. To top it off, common sense is no longer common!

It wouldn’t surprise me that in a place where healthy food is not healthy and diet is a term used to say there is less sugar, salt and fat than in regular food (meaning it is healthier), society is confused about the true meaning of what is said. Between the advertisements and the media, no one knows what is real and what is a commercial product placement. Even South Park had an episode where they made fun of this phenomenon called the advertorial, a concept that has been around since 1946 and now came back in the form of native advertising on social media and the internet. No one knows what is going on á la Towlie.

I’m flabbergasted by the idea that things like mompetition, which is the competition amongst mothers, and serial monogamy have eroded the experience of motherhood and marriage. There is no shame in admitting you don’t excel at parenting or relationships but I find it appalling that we must turn everything into a disposable and fleeting quest. What will baking all those cookies or having all those serial partners back to back gain us? Nothing. We should be concentrating on ourselves, on our families and definition of success rather than comparing what we have to what others posses. We have to decide that our current partner “the one” and make a conscious choice to love them everyday.

In the same manner, we need to let our children grow and learn without forcing them to meet our perceived plans and expectations for and of them. A great parent teaches their progeny the tools to live without them and to avoid becoming a slave to others wishes and desires. The perfect cake is meaningless if we don’t support their decisions and dreams. Each life story is unique and valuable; we must stop undermining our own efforts and worth. No story is alike and all this posing is not helping the next generation build self confidence and pride on their own abilities. We pass our insecurities on to our children.

Every word has a meaning and every sentence has structure and context. We must always make an effort to use the correct vernacular and to find the word that best describes what we are feeling, thinking or communicating. If we fail to clearly state what we mean and what we need there is no force in this planet that will be able to guide us in the proper direction. Our words have meaning, weight and power, and unless our actions betray them, it is all we have to relate to our fellow humans. Language is a tool that can greatly divide and unite us as people, that can cross boundaries and dissolve disparity. It is up to us to continue to hold true that the pen is mightier than the sword, that intellect is preferred over the use of brute strength.

If a dog can distinguish over 800 commands based on a second language taught to them by their masters, surely we can master our own mother tongue. And in that same line, if a dog can learn a second or third language so can you. Broaden your horizon and learn as many words as you possibly can. Buy a daily new word calendar, randomly search a dictionary or pick up a thesaurus to find synonyms for the words you most commonly employ. Feed your brain new terminology and it will broaden your dreams.

Remeber, using proper grammar and accurately interpreting an idea is always sexy. 😉

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One thought on “The Loss of Meaning

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  1. I’ve investigated this to some extant. When some one triggers, go back through the sentence and find how many of the words they don’t know. They dismissed those from the sentence and focused on whatever word they know, or think they know and will usually pick anything they have a negative connotation for. As you say, out of context.

    Very frustrating, but you have to moderate your vocabulary to communicate,… too frequently.

    Great post. I agree with all points.

    Like

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