funnyflyby's picture

It annoys me that you can never say exactly, word for word, what you mean with this crazy species,f humans. You also have to worry about what people think you mean. As soon as someoe says something nice to you, you have to wonder if they were sarcastic. If I say anything positive to anyone who isn't a good friend, I have to worry people will think I Like them. And today I asked my mother if socializing with her was mandatory, and she got really mad. Note: I didn't say, "I won't socialize with you unless I have to." I didn't say, "I hope you don't talk to me." She interpreted it to mean those things, when really I just asked if I'd be in trouble if I didn't talk to her. I didn't want to imply anything. Just ask a question. I didn't actually mean anything at all negative towards her. It's all how humans take things. If humans were really as intelligent as they believe, they would have long since dismissed with this language that makes it so hard to understand people. If I want to say something to someone, I have to be careful to imply what I mean in a tactful way that gets the message across. They then have to puzzle out what it is I was telling them. Wouldn't it just be easier to just say everything directly in the first place, and nobody'd have to doubt themselves? However, when I attempt directly speaking, I'm accused of being rude, while I could've IMPLIED the same question and that would have been fine. And so when I say it the direct way people still assume I'm going the indirect way, and read into it anyway. I hate human communication.
Does anyone agree, or are you just going to imply that you do?


Uncertain's picture

Lol I wrote about the exact

Lol I wrote about the exact topic (underspecificity of human language) for my English essay. I'm on my itouch so can't write too much, but if you're interested search up the Theory of Mind, False Belief (psychology) and Brian Boyd's cultural crtique.

lonewolf678's picture


i've had similar botched communication attempts with my mother as well. however you can be specific after all the english language has a word for almost everything (given some words in the english language were extracted from their respective languages). being specific is possible but the other person's understanding is never guaranteed, if that helps.

MacAvity's picture


Sure, sometimes they're inconvenient and even painful, but the language would be so much less rich without implications and double meanings. Directness is dry. I sense a metaphor coming on....hang on...metaphor.... Yes. Directness is dry. Dry is the absence of water or other liquid. Thus, metaphorically, indirectness is water (or other liquid, but I'll leave them out of the metaphor). A misapplication of water (oversupply or even just a little bit in the wrong place at the wrong time) leads to discomfort, illness, or drowning. But an insufficient supply of water leads to thirst, dehydration, or death. So yeah, we've all got to be careful with our indirectness, implications, et cetera, but those things play a vital role in making language interesting. Look at humor. Would humor even exist if nothing had more than one possible meaning?

elph's picture

Great metaphor... "Dry"

Yeh...Human language always falls short. But it's this shortcoming that lends to its beauty... searching for so many routes to express oneself more fully.

Think: Poetry of love.

funnyflyby's picture


A good point, yet I think there's something in both sides of this. Yes, what you said, but just think of how much easier everything'd be without worrying about how others would interpret it? And others worrying about if they interpreted it correctly? I definitely see your point, though. I really wish I could have one opinion, instead of many conflicting ones... I'm also pleased nobody mentioned how I act as though I'm not human... I'd like to ignore the fact I'm a member of this species and if I ever meet you in person, I will insist forcibly that I'm actually a member of a far superior species smart enough to keep its existence secret from mankind... but that's just me.