I have always found language a very interesting phenomenon. Soooooo many ways to say the same things using basically different sounds. It gets more interesting when two people are supposedly speaking the same language, yet need a translator. I always get a kick out of watching say … a movie made in Ireland that is actually in English, which rumor has it is my own language, yet need subtitles to understand it.
English is notorious for being a language that two people can share yet not even remotely understand each other. After all we have British English, American English, Australian English, each with their own internal variations. Nothing like accents and local colloquialisms to completely alter a language. No wonder we have such communications issues in the world. If we can’t even understand someone who supposedly speaks the same language how will we ever have a chance when a totally different language gets involved?
This plethora of possibilities is not enough though. Just to make things even more confusing, we seem to have introduced a whole new version of English. I am calling it Sales English. Or maybe Economic English. We seem to have managed to take all sorts of words that actually have survived the test of accents and locale, and given them whole new meanings. For instance, everyone knows that the word FREE has lost any concept of what it originally meant. As far as I can tell in the language of capitalism Free basically has come to mean “Costs ME nothing to give it to YOU. For YOU on the other hand …”
The newest corrupted word that has caught my attention is FINAL. On the answering machine was a message about a FINAL notice to get the interest rate that we requested (REQUESTED also seems to have lost its meaning since nobody in this house asked for any such thing). This might have been intimidating or reaction causing if we had in fact actually requested it, and if they did not call pretty much every day leaving the same message. At what point does the FINAL notice actually become final?
It is even better when FINAL notices come by mail. My sister got a FINAL notice the other day about something or other. But we really had to laugh when she actually go two of them. Exactly the same. On the same day. Guess they were adamant about her getting that FINAL notice.
Sometimes I am wondering if we might be better of going back to a system of grunts and gurgles.