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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Know What Am Sayin'?

Be sincere; be brief; be seated - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Good things, when short, are twice as good - Gracian

A short saying often contains much wisdom - Sophocles

Brevity is a great charm of eloquence - Cicero

Brevity is the soul of lingerie - Dorothy Parker

The quotes above serve two purposes. It adds words to an article so that the kind editors would overlook the requirements for minimum verbiage here. And it also reflects on the writer's mind-set. Know what am sayin'

What is it with some people and their speech? Know what am sayin'?

As communicative beings we grow and use communicative skills to convey our hunger, anger, love. From the infant's first lungful cry to the animal grunts in the bedroom the distance is not all that arduous.

In a foreign land, not knowing the language we can still communicate hunger. In restaurants I have used primitive sign language to order food. In meetings, we use non verbal language.

But majority of the times we use words to communicate our thoughts - structured or broken - depending on the company. Both are okay with me, but what irritates me at times is when certain words or phrases are abused. Know what am sayin'?

As readers we come across words that send us scurrying to the padded room. The pharmaceutical companies that make drugs for ulcers and blood pressure must have invested in programs that enhance abuse of the written language.

As if that is not enough increasingly we hear these abuses in conversations and on radio and television. It is discomforting enough when teens tell their parents 'you don't know nothin' dad.' But when grown man interject after every second simple sentence 'know what am sayin' I feel like introducing the speaker and the greasy side of the wrought iron pan.

Everyday verbal communication includes colloquialisms, slang, jargon, and idiom. The time when hunter-gatherers made do with grins and grunts is past. Though I wonder sometimes.

The use of expletives in everyday usage alarms me too. I have written about it in Duck, Man Duck!

Would I prefer to be rained with 'know what am sayin' or with a plethora of expletives that tell me and others to go forth and make love? Neither. I'd rather be uncommunicative.

Or, perhaps at some chance encounter, I may garner courage to tell someone who wants to know if I understand what he is saying with 'I do, but do you?'


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