How do we communicate?

TastyReuben

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I am realising that I am gradually losing the habit of writing by hand. I write everything on my laptop and if I'm not on my laptop, I have my iphone. In short, even a trivial shopping list that I used to write down on a piece of paper, I now write it down and save it on my mobile phone. No, that's no good. My fingers have to hold a pen and write.

As Dino Buzzati, one of my favourite Italian writers, used to say:
"Write, please. Just two lines, at least, even if your soul is upset and your nerves can't take it any more. But every day. With clenched teeth, maybe some nonsense, but write. Writing is one of our most pathetic and ridiculous illusions. We think we are doing something important by drawing twisted black lines on white paper."

Of course I don't think he was referring to this as a mere finger practice, but I think it can be an inspiration nonetheless.
I was at that point, and my handwriting is atrocious anyway (probably a characteristic of someone who's always trying to do three things at once), but I write more now than I have in a long time.

The reason is that I have a relative in federal prison, and the easiest way to communicate is...a handwritten letter. He has email available, but his allowed time at a terminal is very short and somewhat infrequent, so about once a month, I sit down and write a letter, and about once a month, he writes one back.

At first, I hated it. I was always writing too fast, and it was impossible to read. I'd misspell words, not because I didn't know how to spell them, because I'd write so fast, I'd jumble the letters of each word, or mix the letters of two words.

Then, I forced myself to slow down. I thought about each word, saying it in my head as I wrote it, "Hi...Terry...I...hope...you're...doing...ok..." and that helped tremendously.

I also stopped trying to write on a flexible notepad of paper across my lap while reclined in a lounge chair. Now, when it's letter time, I go sit at a table and write it out there.

Other than that, the only handwriting I do is when I'm menu-planning. It's about the only thing I don't keep on my phone. It's just on a slip of paper.
 

MypinchofItaly

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I was at that point, and my handwriting is atrocious anyway (probably a characteristic of someone who's always trying to do three things at once), but I write more now than I have in a long time.

The reason is that I have a relative in federal prison, and the easiest way to communicate is...a handwritten letter. He has email available, but his allowed time at a terminal is very short and somewhat infrequent, so about once a month, I sit down and write a letter, and about once a month, he writes one back.

At first, I hated it. I was always writing too fast, and it was impossible to read. I'd misspell words, not because I didn't know how to spell them, because I'd write so fast, I'd jumble the letters of each word, or mix the letters of two words.

Then, I forced myself to slow down. I thought about each word, saying it in my head as I wrote it, "Hi...Terry...I...hope...you're...doing...ok..." and that helped tremendously.

I also stopped trying to write on a flexible notepad of paper across my lap while reclined in a lounge chair. Now, when it's letter time, I go sit at a table and write it out there.

Other than that, the only handwriting I do is when I'm menu-planning. It's about the only thing I don't keep on my phone. It's just on a slip of paper.

There is a rhythm to keep when writing 'by hand'. This is something I had never considered until I took a creative writing course years ago and learned and also forgot a lot of things there.

I remember that my fingers and even my hand hurt from the way I wrote. Not so much because of the speed, but because of the pressure I put on the pen with each word depending on the mood of what I was writing. Some words or even phrases were much more limp than others. I loved the way the mood of the moment passed through my fingers, pen and paper. I find myself doing a similar thing when something good or not so good gets me excited and so I tap on the keys of my laptop keyboard as if I were hammering out letters. Maybe it's a bit like that.

I have a little diary that I keep in my bag and on which I write down everything, without a logical thread, just notes of something I see or remember, details, people, mood of the moment. Lately, however, I have realised that I am neglecting it and I am increasingly making my notes on my iphone. No, that's no good, that was our moment, just mine and my diary. There's something terribly romantic I don't want to give up. To each its own role.
 
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Dive Bar Casanova

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I'm watching right now a TV programme dedicated to the flat-earthers and I find it both funny and scary at the same time. Where do these extreme deniers come from without any scientific evidence?
Their communication is aggressive and totally closed off, they don't understand and don't want to understand but above all they can't explain. I can't stop looking at because I want to understand where they will stop. Maybe only at the first corner of the Earth.
I have some brilliant friends. Impressively sharp and wildly successful in very difficult businesses or anything they do in life. They stubbornly feel we faked the moon landing.

They invoke the Harvey (James Stewart) theory with me:
" In life you have smart people and pleasant people." They take me as pleasant.
I prefer that.
 
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Morning Glory

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I have some brilliant friends. Impressively sharp and wildly successful in very difficult businesses or anything they do in life. They stubbornly feel we faked the moon landing.

In some ways its more understandable to believe that compared to 'flat earth'. It quite difficult to provide absolute proof that the moon landing wasn't faked (not that I think it was).
 
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TastyReuben

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Why do so many people seem to have no understanding of the word "unique"? I heard an "expert" on BBC Radio Four proclaiming that some piece of decorative art was "unique, one of only eight such pieces in existence."

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaagh.
Merriam-Webster gives one of the definitions of unique as merely "unusual," so it could fit in that. Similarly, another online lookup (Oxford Languages, whatever that is) lists an alternate definition as "special, noteworthy, remarkable."
 
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MypinchofItaly

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Merriam-Webster gives one of the definitions of unique as merely "unusual," so it could fit in that. Similarly, another online lookup (Oxford Languages, whatever that is) lists an alternate definition as "special, noteworthy, remarkable."

I think, however, that “unique” has a proper “unique” meaning there. A sort of “una tantum” which has an automatic special, noteworthy, remarkable unicity.
 
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TastyReuben

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I think, however, that “unique” has a proper “unique” meaning there. A sort of “una tantum” which has an automatic special, noteworthy, remarkable unicity.
I think most people, overwhelmingly so, would take "unique" to mean something singularly remarkable or special or whatever, and the first definition for unique is exactly that, that it's singular. I just found it interesting in looking at the alternate definitions, they specifically remove that, and in one instance the usage example shown makes it very plain: "We were fairly unique..." - using the qualifier "fairly" with unique is kind of like saying "She was mostly pregnant..." :laugh:

I'm not arguing, it's just that I love language and the way language changes and the unusual ways that some common words can be used, so to find that unique doesn't necessarily have to mean unique in a strict sense, is very amusing to me, in the same way that "literally" can mean both a literal description ("I have literally been up all night waiting for you!") and a figurative ("She was so angry, she literally exploded at me!") - both are correct, according to the dictionary, though that drives most wordfreaks crazy. :laugh:
 

Hemulen

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Why do so many people seem to have no understanding of the word "unique"? I heard an "expert" on BBC Radio Four proclaiming that some piece of decorative art was "unique, one of only eight such pieces in existence."

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaagh.
That's like awesome, methinks - ain't it not? You should see my hubby and me reading the local newspaper every morning and tearing our hair out with all the grammatical and content related/semantic errors.
 
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Hemulen

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Ah, literally...I heard a football commentator say that a player was "literally on fire." Little wonder, we mused, that he was running so quickly.
Ah, semantics... Finnish: "Opettaja kävi näyttämässä veristä naarmua lääkärille, mutta selvisi lievin vammoin." Translation: "A teacher went to show a bloody scratch to a doctor but survived with minor injuries".
 

Duck59

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One area where care needs to be taken (and often isn't) is in newspaper headlines. One classic sticks in my mind, from a local paper:

"Police Found Drunk in Shop Window"
 
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TastyReuben

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One area where care needs to be taken (and often isn't) is in newspaper headlines. One classic sticks in my mind, from a local paper:

"Police Found Drunk in Shop Window"
That just makes you want to read the story! :wink:
 
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MypinchofItaly

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I think most people, overwhelmingly so, would take "unique" to mean something singularly remarkable or special or whatever, and the first definition for unique is exactly that, that it's singular. I just found it interesting in looking at the alternate definitions, they specifically remove that, and in one instance the usage example shown makes it very plain: "We were fairly unique..." - using the qualifier "fairly" with unique is kind of like saying "She was mostly pregnant..." :laugh:

I'm not arguing, it's just that I love language and the way language changes and the unusual ways that some common words can be used, so to find that unique doesn't necessarily have to mean unique in a strict sense, is very amusing to me, in the same way that "literally" can mean both a literal description ("I have literally been up all night waiting for you!") and a figurative ("She was so angry, she literally exploded at me!") - both are correct, according to the dictionary, though that drives most wordfreaks crazy. :laugh:

I agree that there is a certain freedom to use certain words, but this risks taking away their personality - as well as their correctness. It's not pedantry, it's just that I think some words - and with them their meaning - have been debased a bit.
The right words exist, just give them justice. It's a form of language conservation, each word is like an ingredient in a recipe. Some you can replace with others, but they will never be the same. And others are like pineapple on pizza, they have no justification whatsoever! Never! :laugh:

Some phrases that make me smile and I often hear are:
'Sono entrato dentro l'ufficio' or 'Sono uscito fuori dall'ufficio'.
Entrato dentro (enter inside) and uscito fuori (exit outside)...
If you left, you are already out. If you're entered, you're already inside. But thanks for the reinforcement idea :laugh:
 
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