Words, understanding, and skewing

I knew this would have significance.

In my new german class, the teacher spoke the entire time in german and i understood her well. This whole “new language” thing has really made me wonder how on earth I understand words at all. Frankly I dont know.

What I have noticed is that often, it’s not the words that we are understanding, but how we’ve come to know them through the context/inflection in which they were used. Some examples:

I always heard “agenda” being used politically, like a sort of ulterior motive. I’ve also heard it used as a plan for a day or trip, etc. So I looked it up. It’s a list of things to be considered or done. I wasn’t that far off, but honestly “Ulterior Motive” was very linked in my mind to agenda, which etymologically it shouldn’t be.

Evan and I were talking about drugs. The following two sentences have different effects:

1) Pharmacologically, the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC); it is one of 483 known compounds in the plant.

2) Did you know that cannabis includes up to 483 compounds?! The chief of which is none other than tetrahydrocannabinol!!

 

What I’m pointing out here is first: the difference between personal-connotations and lexical-connotations, and something that really bothers me: sensationalism.

Sensationalism does nothing but skew fact in favor of influence, and it is how mass groups of people can be swept into false ideas. It’s scary, but rather than play into their game, I think the proper thing to do is pure education. Take out all the bias and teach to let others form their own opinions.

 

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2 thoughts on “Words, understanding, and skewing

  1. I agree education is important, but I guess the better thought is an ideal world. An ideal world where people hear sensationalism from both sides and on their own take the time to look up what is the truth, rather than rely on the media/whathaveyou to give them the side of the story they want. I think the problem with society is we are losing the ability to think for ourselves.

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