|Banks County Opinions...||
AUGUST 20, 2003
By: Jana Mitcham
I heard a radio discussion recently about how parents can be friends with their teenager. Or, in other words, What to do so your teen will think youre cool...
For starters, drop words and phrases into your conversation like dude and playa hater (playa hatah? I dont have a clue how to spell that), and so forth.
Sounds pretty pitiful to me.
Talk the talk. Play the word game.
Uh. Yeah. Right. Cool, dude.
Sure, words can be used as a bridge, a link, a connection, but sometimes they are the lingo-istics that shape a world and make its inhabitants comfortable. Sometimes visitors are welcome and sometimes (parents of teens) they may not be.
(No, no, Im not saying parents shouldnt try to understand their kids language, but, really, dude, are you going to have another go at being a teenager?)
Its about being in the loop.
What are the words of your world?
I got an email from a friend the other day about a game Ill call Meeting Bingo. Thats not really what it was called, but the word for which Im substituting Meeting however apt, is not appropriate for this publication (hint: it starts with a B). So, Meeting Bingo it is.
The context for the game was likely of the corporate world, Id guess, where phrases and catch words like synergy, strategic fit, win-win, paradigm, think outside the box and result-driven apparently bounce off the meeting room walls with regularity. The idea behind Meeting Bingo is for meeting-goers to keep a bingo card marked off with typical meeting words and phrases. Each time one of those words is dropped into discussion, it can be marked off on the card. Those who reach bingo first stand up in the meeting and shout out again, not such a nice word, so Ill substitute BINGO!!
According to the quotes from some of the real Meeting Bingo players, meetings became a lot more interesting when speakers were startled by attendees popping up and shouting from time to time.
As many meetings as we attend for the newspapers throughout a month, it was hard to resist adapting the words to our world of meetings. What examples would we use as typical meeting verbiage? What would happen if we, and others at the meetings, stood up and shouted? Thats all very frivolous, of course, and our attention is always fully directed at the business at hand, of course, but....
Anyway, the collective phrases of a group, of a world, are interesting to note. Its like a password or a code to being a part of things. I belong here; I know the right words.
When I was in graduate school, I had a class in theory, or some such thing, on how words and writing are used. We looked at different types of writing, such as legalese, which is certainly not meant for anyone to understand and thats the point except maybe by legalees.
It was determined that we would write clear, cohesive and easily read verbiage. No misconstruing, misconstructing or misleading for us.
Understand that the communications field had its own academic language, of course, with some of the favorite words of that day being dichotomy, deconstructionism, juxtaposition and semiotics. There was the expectation that any thesis or oral examination discussion would be liberally peppered with such terms and train of thought.
Easily read? Easily understood? I resisted. I succumbed. I wanted to graduate.
If there werent such words, how would a discipline, a study, a group, a field, a world, be defined?
More clearly, possibly, but then again, that diffusion is sometimes the point, right? (I belong here; I know the words. You dont. Or do you?)
Talk the talk. Play the word game.
Maybe nobody really knows just exactly what those catch phrases and big words mean, but they nod as if they do and the world is perpetuated. The language within may change with the times and trends, but the shaping quality is still there.
So, what does your Meeting Bingo card look like, dude?
Jana Adams Mitcham is features editor of The Jackson Herald and a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers.
By: Zach Mitcham
Whoomp, theres No Child Left Behind
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