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Thursday August 19, 2021
Everything is personal. Everything. Even whatever happened 13.8 billion years ago -- if it weren’t personal you wouldn’t be here to read these words.
Or, to put it another way, there is no such thing as impersonal information. Abstract terms describing theoretical concepts -- like civil rights, climate change, government corruption, and foreign aid -- take on meaning only in a personal context.
Don’t misunderstand me – I’m not advocating personal attacks on someone’s appearance or morals. Rather, recognize that whatever you say, the person you’re speaking to will take it personally.
If they don’t, they’re not listening.
Categories: Soft Edges
Tags: communication, Language, personal
At the start of winter, I filled my bird feeder with sunflower seeds. For several days, not one bird came to dinner. Then a single junco arrived, pecked, and flew away. The day after that, a handful of scrappy little finches showed up.
The third day, a single quail appeared.
Now, quail are ground birds. They’d rather run than fly, little legs blurring beneath them like the cartoon Roadrunner’s. And they are not loners. They travel in flocks, so many that sometimes the earth itself seems to be moving.
But for some reason, this one flew up to check. Alone.
And the next day, dozens of quail swarmed over the feeder, climbing over each other, double-deckering on each other’s backs, to get at the treasure trove of sunflower seeds.
They had to have had a way of passing the good news around.
Their own social media?
Tags: God, Language, birds, experience, prairie dogs
For a few years, I taught writing and editing courses for businesses. Some workshops flew; others foundered on the simplest points.
Pharmaceutical companies, in particular, often hired Asian immigrants. I’ve no doubt they were well qualified, highly trained, even brilliant. They had studied English. But they came from languages that didn’t use little things like prepositions. Or articles. Or even commas.
“Why you need ‘the’ before noun?” someone might ask.
Or perhaps, “Why sometimes ‘agree with,’ sometimes ‘agree to,’ sometimes ‘agree on’?”
I offered examples. They would ask, “Where we find book that teach us these rules?”
There isn’t one. Or more accurately, there are hundreds.
Tags: rules, Language, authorities, fluency