Misinterpretation of a common language

Mar 07 2007 by Charles Helliwell Print This Article

It is a commonly held belief that because we all speak the same language, we all share the same interpretation.

Wrong - quite wrong.

It is something that has created many a mis-understanding leading to what is often referred to as 'unfortunate circumstances'.

English, and derivations of the language, may be the most commonly used language in the global business arena today; although time will perhaps tell whether at some point this is superseded by Mandarin, Cantonese or any of the multiple dialects of the Indian sub-continent.

In the meantime, English remains a common language interpreted by all, spoken by many, but truly understood by few.

I don't profess to be an expert on the English language, although I am an avid listener to its inferences and observer of its multiple interpretations; the most common one being the expressionÖ"that's not what I meant".

You may be familiar with the expression: "To assume makes an Ass out of U and ME".

Well, never is this more applicable than in the use of the English language. There seems to be an extraordinary level of assumptive behaviour which both precedes and follows it, most of which is based around inference and interpretation.

It's almost as if the art of validating its meaning has now been exorcised from our process, and that the assumption that everyone's interpretation is the same has somehow prevailed.

What complete Hogwash; unless I was somehow visiting another planet when our species became reprogrammed to all think, speak, act and respond alike.

Guess what? The great news is that we are ALL different and that means we all process information differently; and that means that quite possibly we may all choose to find different meanings and interpretations in the common language we all speak.

Let's face it, politicians have been getting away with it for decades; their get-out-jail-card FREE being, "Oh well that's not what I actually meant".

So let's stick it to the politicians of the world, be they in government, commerce, the private or public sector, and seek out validation of their words and expressions.

Make them tell you what they REALLY mean and let's rid ourselves of those mealy-mouthed, self-serving, two-faced, deceitful paragons of invective and create some positive momentum for the use of the English language.


About The Author

Charles Helliwell
Charles Helliwell

For almost 20 years, Charles Helliwell has been enjoying a lifestyle and making a living as a behavioural and relationship mentor specialising in the personal and professional development of individuals and teams in the workplace.