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Monday, November 11, 2013

Language has got more connotative meanings that it really denotes


Meenamma and I were strolling through one of the serene campuses of India, MCC College. With its greenery, scrub forest, herd of deer, peacock make the campus one of the most-sought-after campuses and that is what truly allures everyone to the campus. I had a bad habit of introducing my classmate-friends to my other friends in the campus. On this fine evening Meenamma and I were walking towards Principal's road and a friend of mine named Mejo came towards us and I greeted him with a smile and I told him, Mejo, “This is my girl friend, Meenamma.” Meenamma went flabbergasted, nervous and uncomfortable at least for a few seconds, although she knew that I have all these pranks in my stock. After a small pause, I continued, “she is my girl friend, friend who is a girl.”

Well, our culture, religions, custom, tradition, conservative society, stereotypical notion and social stigma assign rather redefine so-called meanings for words and language we use. So at the end of the day the language we use may not be conveying the meaning that its proponents invented for as well as the message we wanted to really convey to.  As the language exists in a clear context; time and space, it is getting influenced by the tongues which speak it and the ears that listen to it. 

It is always said that the language is culturally and politically polished. The meaning of certain words, sentence used in a particular, culture, time and space may be unparliamentary, defamatory and politically incorrect in another time and space. Though everyone pretends to be part of a forward community rather open community, deep at heart everyone is conservative.     

When the western language, English, is used in Indian context the language used has more connotative meanings than it really denotes rather the language has limitations. When I say that Meenamma is my girlfriend, it does not mean that she is my love but it simply means that a friend who is a girl. 

If I tell a girl that, ‘I love you,’ it is easily misunderstood and I might land up in trouble. I can love her gestures, her innocence, character and all that. It does not have the so-called sexual meaning when I say I love a girl. I think guys should look at girls and Praise The Lord that how beautifully she is crafted thus, through the creatures The Creator, God, being praised.

If I address someone, Dear, or rather say I love her, she is nice, she is pretty, she is beautiful, all these salutations not necessarily should be seen with a sexual connotation rather all these simply mean what he means to her and she means to him.    

Even the things that are written and spoken crystal clear and with good intentions are misunderstood often. The context in which the message is written and spoken and the context in which it is being read and listened to, are different. The moment a writer finishes his writing and a word is spoken by a speaker, it no longer belongs to him or her and it becomes a public property. We can interpret the way we want and it’s our freedom. But we need to interpret in a most accurate way possible. The true intention of any author and speaker may not reach home accurately.

As the spoken words can’t be retrieved and it is all about the listeners’ choice and freedom to interpret it in whatever ways they want it. Interpretation is a vital part of our very existence. We keep on interpreting things that we see and hear in our everyday life. From the moment we get up in the morning till we go to bed in the night, we have to interpret what is happening in and around us. It is through interpretation we derive meaning. We may be able to live without a code of language but never without hermeneutic ways. In order to have a meaningful existence in this world we need to interpret things that happen in our life.   

The sense of certain words, sentence used in a specific, culture, time and space may be unparliamentary, defamatory and politically incorrect in a different time and space. So we need to be really cautious in using our languages; whether it be our Malayalam, English or Hindi.  

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