Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A rose by other name..

I was seeing the news today where it was mentioned that an order had been passed by the Rajasthan government to all civil servants instructing them to refer to all politicians as 'Sir' and stand up in their presence. Running off on a tangent, I got to thinking if the language we use shapes our reality ,rather than the other way around.Reverse feedback from the mouth to the brain rather than the other war around. I remember Noam Chomsky arguing (for it/against it,I forget) in the addendum of one of my psych books. An example I recall is that a certain tribe of Eskimos have 1000 different words for 'snow'. This could mean they relate to snow in so many ways and hence at least in our eyes, give a disproportionate amount of meaning to something we just fling at each other. Who could blame them since that is pretty much all that they see around them? Another Amazon tribe has no words for numbers past one and two. Studies done with them show that they equate one with "few" and two with "many" and everything in between is a blur. Needless to say, they would not make very good accountants and their math skills were compared to rodents.Ouch!

In your face,biatch!

So coming back to topic, given our colonial legacy, isn't it time we related to each other better instead of notches on a totem pole? It is no coincidence that new economy companies discourage use of Sir/Madam and consequently reap the benefits of open communication and honest discussion. On a similar note, somebody was mentioning how despite all the advances in technology(cellphones,emails,twitter,facebook) we still manage to communicate worse than we did earlier. 3 letter words get contracted , updates on twitter can't be more than 60 characters giving off the perception that "Oh! I am so busy .Please pardon my terse manner and atrocious spelling" .Fact is , from the evidence above , we create this artificial urgency by the means of our language.So guyz n grls,ur wrds becum ur wrld,ya ? (btw, shortening "come" to cum=epic fail.lolz :-P)

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