Monday, 1 July 2013


You can tell a lot about a person from the way that they talk - a few missed pronouns and someone’s given away their childhood spent abroad, a fondness for surnames implies military service, or time spent in a boarding school, and talking or mumbling while rocking backwards and forwards in the foetal position can suggest that their military career ended badly. In a boarding school.

The principle translates from individuals to communities; the nuances of speech can reveal cultural mores and expectations. Consider the significance that the Japanese have a single word that expresses the sentiment ‘I’m full, but could still manage desert’, there’s no Spanish word for ‘Twix’, and the Cli’chay people of South America have thirty seven words for expressing the concept of having thirty seven words for something.

It’s slightly tautological, but then, most tautological things are.

No comments:

Post a Comment