Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Seeking Clarification

This is not my question, it’s Hub’s. He keeps asking me what has happened to language and our ability to communicate. Why is it so difficult to cipher the meaning of what is said on newscasts and talk-shows? Why so much content with so little meaning?

This morning Hub and I listened to a speech from Jordan’s King and during the whole of it couldn’t figure out if he was calling the U.S. a peace-loving nation or a war-mongering nation. Just when we thought he was pro-U.S., he followed with a comment that seemed to state otherwise. It was only at the conclusion, when Nancy Polusi enthusiastically clapped and rose for a standing ovation, while Dick Chaney reluctantly patted one hand on the other and eventually stood up that we started to think maybe we understood. It was not from the words spoken but from the nuances and body language of these two, that we eventually extracted an elusive interpretation.

But Hub isn’t too clear either despite his expressed longing for language to be simpler. This morning this is what he said when I came to the kitchen and asked if it was going to be a nice day.

“Oh-hi-dee-ho, Roberta. Toes-tee. Drifting in…An I-dee-ho-hi!”

So now see if you can figure that one out.
I’ve put the translation in the Comments section.


Roberta S said...

Translation of Hub’s simple language… “warm weather because of a high drifting in from Idaho.”

Pauline said...

Hub has posed a good question. We've got slang, computer-ese 4U and a whole nation of kids who use "like" to string words together, you know, like they can't like think of anything else to like use to make like, you know, a sentence. We have a noble leader who can't speak the Mother Tongue, we strangle ourselves with political correctness and obtuse legalese - perhaps we should go back to grunts and hand gestures and start again. But wait, I've just described a great American pasttime ;)

Matty said...

Glad to see Hub is okay, I thought he was having a stroke, one of the first signs is 'they don't make sense'.
Even though we don't understand our teens, we do understand their hand gestures, (the middle finger, the open hand)etc.
My mom used to say, we don't know which side of his mouth he's talking out of.
We don't understand what they are talking about, but like sheep, we stand, we clap, we smile like dutiful children and we're confused.

Roberta S said...

Hi pauline. You are so right. I just reviewed this morning the Duke of Wales abdication speech. It was pretty clear and straightforward. If he spoke the way public figures do nowadays, he would have been King until his death, and Wallace would have been just bloody confused.

Like, thanks for visiting. Like, I like it when you comment and like how you aptly have described what language is like...(Can I end a sentence with like? -- I thought it had to proceed or interrupt thoughts to fit with current usage. (Like, chuckling).

Roberta S said...

Oh my matty, you really scare me. No, no. Not with your comment about Hub. Your comment about how "We don't understand what they are talking about, but like sheep, we stand, we clap, we smile like dutiful children and we're confused." I was so sure when watching that speech this morning that Chaney and Polusi knew what the King of Jordan was saying, but after you telling me that, it's quite possible, that they were as confused as Hub and I were. And that would mean I would have to stop giving them credit for greater intelligence than I. And if they are NOT more intelligent than I, the U.S. has much more to fear than they can ever possibly realize.

Joy Des Jardins said...

I definitely needed your translation of Hub's comments Roberta. Only YOU would know how to crack the code after all your years together....and how endearing it is.

As far as our government officials....we've needed clarification from the top...down...from day one.

Paul said...

He was changing the subject back to politics.

Roberta S said...

joy, You're sweet...and you make me smile.

Yes we do need clarification from the top down but despite all the investigations into gov't unseemly business, few matters get cleared up in proper fashion.

Roberta S said...

paul, you're a man of so few words, I'm not too sure what you mean. Are you referring to Hub or the King of Jordan.