The Thing about the Thing

We know. It’s annoying. Very annoying in fact. Like that article a couple years ago on the truth or the falsity of “facts” (published in the New York Times). The thing is, well, it is addictive vocabulary. Shame how Shakespeare is probably turning in his grave somewhere on a European island, which decided it is not European… Excuse us for that lapse. Excuse us also for the awful sentences in the beginning of this paragraph.

The problem is the vocabulary but it is also the language, not the phrases we use but the twists and turns of the words our thoughts produce to write. Every language has its dozens and millions of expressions, phrases, definitions, words, syllables, and visual symbolisms. However, as a friend of mine, who’s currently teaching English to Chinese university students, says, no one has the same linguistic level of comprehension as his or her neighbor. So the thing is we need to stop using the word “thing”.

It is probably THE most addictive word in the English language, to the point where the entire world has hung upon its use. The word is in a class of its own. Why? The word “thing” could designate any object, any idea, any fact, any structure and even place known to Mankind. Take this, for example: yes, it has been two months since I have not written on this blog, mostly because I had personal family affairs weighing down on me; one thesis to complete, and the research for that said-thesis, which is not done yet; a few research papers I had to write for university; the excruciating search for a summer internship, and no I did not land my dream job; and the start of my internship, which gives me a few advantages, because I landed myself in maritime transports. Today is not the day, during which, I shall brag about these different activities. However, think about it… how many times do you see the word “thing” in in those last couple sentences? No answer? Instead of displaying all my life for all to see I could have just said “I had “things” to do.”

Lovely how the English language, or any other language for that matter, is extremely colorful if you let it be. Not only that, but I imagine there is another class of words synonymous to “activities”: writing, working, holidaying, drinking, eating, surfing, contacting, calling, emailing, the list goes on.  Linguistics is an art as well as a science, no matter what specialists and professors declare in their reports. In an age, in which many societies are adopting Anglophone lingo by adding them into the cultural vocabulary, and where many others are fighting the “trend” of the “Anglo-Saxon” rage, danger of losing oneself into the black hole is real. Not only real but also worrying. Our use of certain words to above and beyond their maximum levels probably damages our thought process, our culture, in addition to our self preservation and self perseverance.

A few years ago, I read an article in the NYTimes (always), but I’m afraid I’ve lost it amidst the numerous technical problems my computer threw at me last autumn. Let’s just say, I needed a reboot and reinstalment of the entire computer system, including Microsoft Office. There, again, I could have used that word.The point is I cannot share the article because I cannot remember that particular piece of information. The question I ask in accordance to that infamous article on the language and insights behind that word  is this: What does our use of the word show about us, as people? The smartest person has been known to make missteps. It is the same with the word “that”, which annoys many a scholar. Do we sound stupid when we utter this vocabulary? It depends on the word count daily or per hour. Imagine yourself doing that. I do it sometimes when I am on an exam or a text. I once tracked back several pages of analysis to change a word written over and over again into three separate synonyms. Ridiculous, I know, but what else do you want me to do.. It wasn’t about image; I think I had had enough of that particular word so it must be self conscience.

The vocabulary we use also shows our inside capacities: how we think or what we want to show off. Being a show-off does not usually mean you’re bragging but display what we have no idea existed in us. Our character exists within our words as incomprehensible as that may sound to me or to you. Are we arrogant, disinterested, without a brain, ambitious, meek, cheerful and benevolent, wise or just plain disagreeable or agreeable in general? The word “thing” and how we pronounce it, that is to say, the intentions behind the use. What are our intentions behind that word? Are we avoiding the complex character of ourselves and our linguistics? Are we trying to shy away from what matters the most instead of degrading ourselves with the lingo we communicate on the web or by text? I think I wrote it before months ago, linguistics change every now and then, even more so in the 21st century. Our clothes define but so do our words and our choices. A few choice words would not go amiss. The best path to take would be the one of avoiding certain pronunciations. The word “thing” falls in the category of words “to be spoken with moderation”. Considerable effort has been made in avoiding that word, which shows how much our brains are capable of accomplishing if we want to, whatever our language or our culture.

Does that make sense?

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