Espousing irresponsible use of language



Today we seem to be moving towards a free-for-all state as far as the spoken language is concerned. One says, "Be a Hitler. Go with the military and take the leadership of this country" and it is interpreted as having emphasized the need for the person concerned to take firm decisions - and nothing more than that. Another says that she wants to see the revival of the LTTE and is interpreted as having expressed her dissatisfaction with the "worsening security situation" in the North - that is all there is to it!


These "interpretations" are nothing but attempts at espousing the irresponsible use of language. This trend is worrying because it will lead to a situation where anybody will be able to get away with saying anything in public. At this rate, very soon, something like "I want a couple of Ministers murdered" would be called upon to be interpreted as nothing but an expression of total dissatisfaction with the government! There would be those who would interpret "All the banks have to be robbed in broad daylight" as nothing but displeasure about "low interests" being paid for savings!


It is true that any shade of feeling, for example, your "dissatisfaction with the government" or "low interest rates" - can be expressed in numerous ways, but each of them is construed literally and in context. The speaker cannot expect the listeners to always take a diluted version of his statement, and forget about the exact words used and the context.


SUSANTHA HEWA


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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