Khethil, I'm curious: When do you believe our highest point in terms of communicative ability was, as a species?
I'm not sure. I suppose I'd have to say that various cultures have had a number of high and low points with regards to perspicuity (further, it'd depend on what one might define as higher or lower). Even then, such would also depend on one 'circle' of people communication too place with. I'm not sure one could delineate one better or worse time per say; if such was the case, I don't know it off hand.
I do know what I perceive: I perceive a great deal of what I call "Violent Agreement", wherein two or more persons are in - what appears to be - a verbal confrontation yet the essence
of what each is trying to communicate is not so different than it seems; again, to the extent that this is true I'd place a high wager on it likely being a product of the inability to enunciate subtleties in meaning
. Is this vocabulary? I can't honestly say with absolute certainty - it certainly seems so
Are you sure this "spiral-down" is unique to our period in time? Couldn't we name many periods in human history, especially during the Dark Ages, where many people were uneducated and didn't value the complexity in language?
I'm not sure it is unique. I'm not sure uniqueness plays a part in whether or not such a thing is cause for concern.
I understand your point, but I'm not quite understanding why what you're saying is unique to our period in time. It seems we could make the argument for a great many periods in time, and we're definitely not doing that bad in comparison.
I gotcha, and your point is well-received. However, look at any issue or problem we come up with: Might we cast off concern based on "it's happened before?" - I don't think so. But again, I think your point does indeed help place it into context; I do suggest we take care: Because something, in some way and in some place, has been an issue before, doesn't invalidate the attention it warrants in the here and now.
Nice reply, thanks.
---------- Post added 10-13-2009 at 09:11 AM ----------
Are you saying that the quality of our thoughts can only be as great as the quality of our language?
I'm not sure this was addressed to me, but I would like to respond.
No, not per say. But they do
influence thought. My definitions that I hold are the tools with which I choose the words I speak; in so doing, they frame the message
of my thought. On the other side, the words you speak, mixed with my own understood definitions, to me are the foundation by which I try and interpret your meaning. I'm not sure quality plays in here, thought the tenor, meaning and message are certainly influenced
If we take this a step further and look into the role language influences the compartmentalization of memory it seems clear how a broader (or narrower) vocabulary might actually help free up or constrain the communicative (and yes I suppose, "thought") process. Quality though? Indirectly I suppose...
---------- Post added 10-13-2009 at 09:22 AM ----------
First of all, to the above posts, I don't think we're considering all of the ways technology is improving, not devolving or diminishing, the language of our youth. And not just our youth, but every one in the world. Though this sounds awefully cliche, we do have access to more information now than ever before. People can research virtually anything, and find out anything about language they desire. I'm fairly certain that without my exposure to sites like these, my vocabulary and ability to communicate would be less mature.
Surely! Access has improved a thousand-fold. But access to what? That I have the sum-total of mankind's knowledge at my fingertips doesn't mean I actually look at it. And perhaps when I do, given this boon, to what depth might I glance? I guess I'm saying: Yes, improved access is awesome - I'm all for technology - but we can't blame technology for any of these woes, not directly. We can evaluate how we've used them
and the side effects of such use
Khethil, I'm not sure you were even referring to technology, though. What is making you think that people, these days, are ignoring the greys, the subtleties?
Yea... as I mentioned above, we can't hang a noose around technology for our woes - it's just a tool (my hammer downstairs can built and
break). I think techno only enters in this particular picture in those avenues like texting: It's more difficult/cumbersome to type with two thumbs than with ten fingers - an undeniable fact. Thus, the human animal adapts, it abbreviates. Add to this condition how often so many communicate with such abbreviation and its hard to deny that this results in a lack of breadth which which such communcation occurs. On top of this, look at the trends in how our youth communicate (increasingly with such devices than face-to-face) and the point comes clear and the question gains weight.
Again, though, I'd like to drive home two points (beat that horse!): [INDENT]1. Technology can't be blamed any more than any other tool. Only our use
2. Humans will almost always look for the best bang-for-buck when they want to do anything; this includes vocabulary, it includes communication. It's neither right nor wrong - it simply is.