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.

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