Friday, June 29, 2007

Hidden Meanings

We have all pet phrases that we use to communicate to others. He was higher than a kite. They could sell refrigerators to Eskimos. They were half a brick shy of a load. We are speaking from our experiences growing up and our customs.

We use them without thinking and expect others to know what our words mean. Sometimes we are fortunate to see that the other person by a puzzled look doesn't understand and explain what we mean.

Sometimes all we get is silence on their part and no indication they didn't understand. This can occur if they are strangers to us or perhaps in a business setting with people of a different cultural backgrounds or certainly between generations.

When we are communicating we need to ensure that our words convey the correct meaning to our audience.

Do you take this in to account when writing and communicating on the Internet?

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8 conversations:

Comedy + said...

This is another good post as I know that communication is the most difficult thing we attempt to do. I try very hard to be clear and concise, but often I'm not. It would take a lifetime to learn every culture, but if you know you are going to talk to a particular group, it certainly doesn't take great effort to do it right.

Now to the Internet...we don't know who are audience is going to be and often we are read by folks from around the world. So, no...my jokes are across the board and could/do offend. I pick on everyone, but I don't do it to be hurtful. The receiving party probably doesn't know this either. So, I could easily offend. We give little thought on those we cannot see. Great point here Peter.

See you tomorrow. No boating until Monday. Big do at the private island for the 4th of July. Have a great evening and weekend my friend. :)

Peter Haslam said...

Yes and i was curious as to what others were or were not doing Sandee so thanks for your input

paisley said...

often times, what i say is poignant and meaningful only to me... but i know that and don't expect a response as such... just the release of having been able to verbalize it, and own it...

Peter Haslam said...

And sometimes Paisley there are others who do understand such is the nature of speaking from the heart

-Jeane Michelle Culp said...

Peter, a Reader can often look up a quoted ‘pet phrase’ or interject their own interpretation. However; any old clichés I would suggest using with caution because some have prior associated negative stigmas. That is why in general, I personally enjoy taking the liberty in making up my own collaged metaphors. A Creative License for Authors! Nonetheless; which ever method we choose to pen, one should remain as ‘politically correct’ as possible as to take into consideration that America does include people of different cultures, races and religions…

Peter Haslam said...

Thank you for your addition Jeane Michelle Culp that authors should consider

Elizabeth said...

After 25 years abroad, I generally speak "international English" that is a bit flatter but more effective in international contexts, not only with non-native speakers, but also with the Brits.

Today I explained to a Roman the expression, "when in Rome, do as the Romans do". He had always thought that it had offensive connotations.

I often use the theme, "the meaning behind the words" to introduct cross-cultural concepts through dialogues, amazing how easily we can misunderstand the other although we understand the words.

Peter Haslam said...

Thank you Elizabth for the excellent points you raise to add to the conversation