Images Videos Blog News About Series πŸ—ΊοΈ

On the skunking of "nonplussed" πŸ”—

🏷️ news
Much of this Skunking occurs due to a lack of shared reading experiences. Once upon a time, most Anglos understood enough french to get the meaning of 'nonplussed', for the same reason we understood "a piece of work" to be a reference to Shakespeare's Hamlet. It is through reading the same books that we picked up on the same context clues leading to the same understanding of word meanings.

Metaphors, advanced vocab, jargon and turns of phrase are the linguistic equivalent of data compression. Usage of such is the primary difference between the sort of English you hear on TV (third grade or lower reading level) versus what is spoken by the literate.

Much of modern life actually relies on this implicitly. Without shared literary perspective, interpretation of the law becomes entirely arbitrary (see: sovcits). Many such cases.

True fluency requires a good degree of cultural assimilation. Some are disturbed by how this smuggles in a number of biases, but this is unavoidable. Every culture has to live somewhere and as such has its own set of "corn-pone opinions". When in Rome...

I'm not sure whether our ongoing revolution in communications technology is accelerating or arresting the rate of skunking. The world is increasingly adopting the English language and American norms while largely abandoning the literary heritage that built both. My gut instinct would be towards acceleration, but I am unsure anyone's seriously studied the topic.
25 most recent posts older than 1714425090
Jump to: