I have this really cool language ability, hampered only by a language flaw which keeps the skill from being as cool as it could be.
The language ability:
I can pick up accents like crazy. My hubz can always tell if I’ve been listening to a Sookie Stackhouse novel on CD because I walk into the house talkin’ like I’m from the south — I get a “What-chya’ll up to?” kind-of-thing going on.
When I visited Canada several years ago, I sounded like a local within days — to the point that people who actually lived there were rather surprised to find I’d only been in the country for a matter of hours.
Years before that, I lived in a heavy Hispanic area of San Antonio, Texas. My accent was some kind of street Spanish that made my teacher happy till she heard my lacking vocab and my non-existent understanding of stringing words together into proper sentences beyond those which I’d memorized from friends.
I’ll never forgive my teach for giving me a “D”, when Burchelle pronounced “que” as “kwee” instead of “kay”… yet Burchelle received an “A”. WTF?! Doesn’t pronunciation count for anything? ((( Maybe I should be grateful for the “D” — wonder if my pronunciation is the only thing that saved me from an “F” that quarter, now that I think about it! )))
And so now you also understand my language flaw.
I have zero ability to retain anything. My memorization skills are practically non-existent. This meant triple study-time, where most people might never even look at their notes from class at all.
In college I took biology. Following is my lengthy note-taking process (and NO, I am not even exaggerating a little bit!).
1.Read chapter ahead of time, outlining as I go.
2.Answer study questions at end of chapter.
3.Listen to lecture in class, taking notes.
4.Write vocabulary words and definitions.
5.Type up notes, outline, vocabulary, and study questions, combined into one giant study guide.
6.Review throughout semester, particularly before tests.
Overkill, much? Yes, I know. But I have a difficult time with memorization.
Depending on what it is. After having gone through all that material so many times, I might not know the specific answer to a question, but I could picture in my mind exactly which page, and where ON the page, the answer would be. The details I AM able to recall… don’t really help me very much. Thank you, brain, for NOTHING!
Similarly, I cannot remember numbers. I can usually tell you if the answer to a question is odd or even, but I cannot recall the number itself. For example, I know the recycling place where we drop off our pop cans is located downtown on either First, Third, or Fifth Street. It’s definitely NOT on Second or Fourth Street. I know, I know. It’s a goofy thing, that silly brain of mine.
So anyway, language.
I have some. It it English. Which some people feel is the only language we should speak here in America. Kind of funny since we do not even HAVE an official language. And that makes sense, given the many and sundry parts of the globe from which we citizens hail. I mean, how far back do we go? Because really, if you want to get down to it, the Native Americans win that one. They were here first.
What I propose is something entirely different. Hang on before you get all shitty — this is great, really.
We should adopt KLINGON as our official national language. Let me tell you why. And YES, I do have a good reason beyond the fact that it just sounds cool and also that I may or may not be a gigantoid nerd-ball.
There is a theory (for realz!) called Linguistic Relativity which indicates that the structure of a culture’s language may to some degree shape how the individuals of that culture view, and thereafter label, the world. This is a somewhat debatable science on many fronts, per Wikipedia:
“Because of the centrality of the question
of the relation between thought and language
to these debates,
the issue of linguistic relativity
has received attention
not only from linguists and psychologists,
but from anthropologists, philosophers, literary theorists
and political scientists.”
I get double-word score on this post, since it is twice the controversy you thought it was. But this post is also late, which pretty much negates the score, bringing me back to just even. I will take that. Thanks. I love it when you don’t hold my shenanigans against me.
Okay, so our ability to organize words into sentences is hampered by our limited choices. One such idea, promoted in the so-called constructed language E-prime, is that the verb “to be” (am, are, is, was, were, be, been, being) is extremely ambiguous and allows for dogmatic thought.
Seriously, WTF did I just say? Allow me to break it down for your ass. By claiming that something “IS” anything, we are more likely to confuse fact with opinion. And then get into arguments over it. Like one opinion can be more factual than another. Dogma. Geezy, that shit could NEVER happen in THIS country.
Moving on: I really like the following example, provided by some dude named Urban Scout (and just so we are clear, that absolutely MUST be a character’s name in my next story, cuz that shit is outrageous!):
[The verb] “To be” prevents us
from experiencing a shared reality;
something we need in order
to communicate in a sane way.
If someone sees something
completely different than [sic] another,
our language prevents us from acknowledging
the other’s point of view
by limiting our perception to fixed states.
For example, if I say
“Star Wars is a shitty movie,”
and my friend says,
“Star Wars is not a shitty movie!”
We have no shared reality, for in our language,
truth lies in only one of our statements
and we can forever argue these truths
until one of us writes a book
and has more authority than the other.
If on the other hand I say,
“I hated Star Wars,”
I state my opinion
as observed through my own senses.
I state a more accurate reality
by not claiming that Star Wars “is” anything,
as it could “be” anything to anyone.
I’m so pissed that some researcher peeps put this idea out before I had a chance to get around to it. Why? Because I’ve been saying this shit for YEARS! I get into arguments with my family ALL THE FUCKING TIME because opinions are thrown around like fact, which (a) is disrespectful to anyone else’s opinion, and (b) allows for intense disagreement over what is true for all versus what is true for one individual.
As in, “This is boring” is totally not the same thing as “I am bored”… but try and convince people that perhaps the event in question isn’t boring to YOU, and just see what happens. Usually ends up in a big blow-out over who get to be “in charge” of dictating the boring-ness level. Like, “I say it’s boring, therefore it’s a fact that it is boring.” And people seriously wonder why I’m so eager to assert my own opinion?
So that’s why I say we ditch English. We ditch Spanish. We ditch all the others that people across our great land are pissed off about, whatever those might be. And we collectively adopt Klingon. That would be so badass. I could totally learn a new language with full immersion, but I’ll need your help; it’ll have to be an “all in” kind of thing. Let’s do this.
And if you don’t like it, here’s an insult straight from me to you:
Hab SoSlI' Quch! (Find out what this means here)
HINT: It's a “your mama” insult. But if (after looking it up) you're really offended by it, you are a sad little creature. Don't be such a god damn Ferengi!
Throughout the money of August 2012, my dear friend Aaron @dadblunders and I are doing a dry run of the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. This past April was my first official participation in such activity, and I had no idea what I was doing. No theme, no forethought, purely spur-of-the-moment. This time around, I have a plan. Join the fun!
For this event, I am engaging in a month of controversy. Consider yourself forewarned.