Friday, February 17, 2012

Linguistics 101 With Professor Deputy

I was sitting in a café with a Swede living in Brussels discussing the quirks and charismatic draws of Sweden when the topic of linguistic metamorphoses arose. Some background is necessary to continue. In the north of Sweden there is a dialect of Swedes that, in order to say "Yes", they simply purse their lips and briskly inhale so as to imitate a caricature of a vacuum. Whoop! Also, in order to agree with someone, a simple grunt suffices lacking any intonation whatsoever. My new acquaintance commented on the fact, keep in mind he was all to opinionated of the most mundane topics to the point of ranting for the sake of hear his Swedish accent resonate throughout the café all-to-forgiving acoustics. He aptly stated however, that the more urbanized a city becomes, the more linguistic differentiations it's population must make in order to effectively communicate.

This got the Deputy to think, which after a few Chimay beers at 9% and a Belgian hugh, did not agree kindly with the Deputy. But contemplate he did.

What an interesting assertion and one that the Deputy would love to see either confirmed or denied. Is the world we live in become so complex that a more diverse language is required to communicate in an accurate manner. Obviously some words had to be invented to keep up with the times, such as "type" and "fax", but before all of that, does the word "yes" and the different intonation we subscribe to these words come from our urbanization. If you think about a farmer on a 100 acre plot of land, his breadth of vocabulary is somewhat underutilized compared to an Ad salesman on 5th Avenue trying to pitch a new scent to Kim Kardashian. How would a farmer in the north of sweden, who lacks a word to even affirm a comment, later pitch a new fragrance to a ditsy celebrity?

"Um, it smells like my cow does after a good wash and then paraded through my wife's daisy garden" versus "the undertones of rich magnolias encapsulate the bursting hints of jasmine mixed with a flirty strawberry". It just doesn't compare. But is this extension necessary? Does fo-shizzle need to be added to the dictionary? No. But doesn't a vocabulary mirror the changing times and inventions of its creators?

Interesting to think about.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Scene from a Movie

The Deputy often equates circumstances in his life to a soundtrack or vignette of a popular Blockbuster movie. Usually it turns out to be a coming of age biopic about a young boy making his mark in the world. When these moments occur, the Deputy often steps out of his first-person perspective and experiences this out-of-body sensation of an outsider looking in. It just happened yesterday.

There was a huge storm in London and I was lugging my baggage into the reception desk. After checking in, I had to drag my stuff up three flights of stairs because this place did not have an elevator. It is not the nicest place, but serves its purpose for my means and needs.

A small violin engages the rest of a string quartet...

I pictured this young, 20-something at the curb of finding his success and way in life. He is going through the paces of coming to this success and must first experience what it is like to make it. The saying "to make it" implies a certain amount of effort and due diligence, or else the saying would be "to be made for you". With that said, I pictured myself in this old, wooden London property and a kid bringing his suitcase up a couple flights of stairs getting prepared for his big interview the next day.

They are these moments of which I will remember with fondness in my Park Avenue corner office. I will look down my nose at a 20-something coming into my office, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and account my war stories of what it took to bring me to this stage in my life. For it is a moment where you get dressed in a suit in a shared bathroom with other hostel guests, that really bring to a stage of humility. No one should ever be too satisfied with their place, for stagnate waters go nowhere.

I love it though, I thrive off of this story. It is almost my version of a rags-to-riches, knowing that the story gets better but just not having flipped ahead to that chapter of the book. It is exciting because I do know that there will be an upswing, a change, an improvement. It may be misplaced hope or unfounded confidence, but it is also that hope and gleam in my eye that will catch the attention of some employer. And when the cards fall as they may, I know that I have done my darndest to make them fall in my favor.