pierced ear

“I said for you listen some more on me.”

Perfectly understandable. No? Ever considered Listener heard exactly those words?

For ages we have held ourselves above the animals because of our advanced communication system. Balderdash.


With our ever-packed calendars we have a tendency to read the headlines and determine everything we need to know from the six to ten words someone picked out to get our attention.

Man Detained in Child Rape Case

Why is the talk around the water cooler of neutering him? The man was the child’s father. It took the police more than six hours to get to him before they asked three questions which definitively proved it was not him. Had the story led with the last two paragraphs, all of the readers would have known.


The Grammar Nazi says,

Words suck.”

We write millions of words everyday. We speak nearly ten times as many as we write.  We listen to about a third as many as we speak. With all of those words, you would believe we had a pretty good grasp of language. Folderol.

Each language has foibles and is subject to operator error. Perhaps, licensing would help. On second thought, have you ever read a law? Chances are good licensing would be a fine print nightmare, subject to interpretation.


Even if we can agree we speak the same language, interpretation is the same in a single language as it is language-to-language.

Man Knocks Up Neighbor

Depending on which English-speaking country you are in the man:

A. Visited his neighbor

B. Impregnated his neighbor

C. Pummeled his neighbor

Toss out the cultural phenomenon of idioms and adages, and we are still left with the conundrum of misunderstanding. The meanings of the words are important.


A daughter asked her mother for a review for a poetry collection. The mother refused. The daughter inquired, “Why?”

I don’t understand poetry.”

The stunned silence was one of incredulity. The mother was college-educated, a lifelong climber at the top of the corporate ladder and emotionally connected to the daughter. It was not that the mother could not understand; she had been conditioned to believe the formatting, rhyme and meter were beyond her understanding.


What helps solve the communication malfunctions, abuse and disconnects?


1. Fewer words.

Being succinct leaves less room for interpretive error. Succinctness makes us more specific. Specificity is the rule.

2. Less talking.

One of the main  consequences of speaking less is more listening. It gives us more opportunity to figure out if Listener understood.

3. Less rush.

By taking the time to read or listen, we have a better understanding of the message being conveyed. If all we needed were headlines, we would not need 24-hour news channels. We could get all our news from Twitter.

How often do others confuse your communication? Do you know someone you never understand? Why do we insist on drawing conclusions without the whole story?

Hashtags: #communication #understanding

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  1. Molly Babin

     /  June 18, 2013

    I’m sorry could u send me a summary in bold title form only one sentence long? I stopped reading after listen on me and perfectly understandable.

  2. Internet peeps who don’t know me don’t get my sarcasm thus I put haha a bunch in my posts
    Bearman recently posted..Project Blue Collar – Sonny sings the BluesMy Profile

    • I long since gave up on pointing out sarcasm. If you get it, inside joke. 😉

  3. haha Bearman,
    I have trouble catching sarcasm when I heard it spoken, too! It’s not just a malady of the internet for me. Thanks for your laughter, it fits.
    Gail Thornton recently posted..Interview with Poet Laurie ChildreeMy Profile

  4. We don’t need no stinkin’ meanings, the left hemisphere of our brain can pigeon hole anything without a second thought.
    John McDevitt recently posted..Lovely Light, Shadow, Forms & TexturesMy Profile

    • I have my days when I wonder if anyone realizes what is coming out of the mouth, much less if they can understand what comes from mine.

      Glad to see you today, John.

  5. I believe the problem is we are in information overload, way too busy or are multi-tasking. We want it all so we rush through everything, not even aware of what we are doing.

    I say we, but I mean me.
    tess kann recently posted..Flash in the Pan – TableclothMy Profile

    • Very similar to what I commented to John. I think we assume far too much about our own knowledge and that of those who may or may not be listening. xxx

  6. Communication would be more worthwhile if more useful substantive things were said.
    (Yes, I’m as guilty as the next person of adding to the background noise.)
    El Guapo recently posted..GravityMy Profile

    • What a fitting comment given the post attached to it. I agree there should be far less ado about nothing.

  7. she had been conditioned to believe the formatting, rhyme and meter were beyond her understanding.

    Well lemme tell ya it eludes me how that crap published in The New Yorker gets called poetry. Most of my English teacher colleagues , well it is “beyond their understanding” that this tripe is deemed poetry too.

    • I am with most of your colleagues. I recently admitted to a friend I wholeheartedly believed I had grown up to be a poetry snob.

  8. When I was a teenager, mum told me we were going to the farm and blew up when I said I would enjoy a roll in the hay! 🙂

    Clarity is very important in speech, but far too many are unable to stick to the rules, particularly with punctuation.

    I’m not perfect, but I do try! 🙂

    God Bless!

    Prenin recently posted..Tuesday – A chat with mum.My Profile

  9. I think you are correct. (working on brevity). 🙂
    C. Brown recently posted..He Need Only ExistMy Profile

  10. Just had this conversation this morning.

    “You hurt me when you never have in all these years even written one letter of protest.”

    “I didn’t know I was supposed to.”

    “You see the letters. Do you mean you have never read even one?”

    “I don’t read.”

    I have heard “I don’t read” before. Recognize this one, thought it meant I don’t read books, magazines, newspapers. Did not know it extended to letters and other things of importance. Thought other forms of communication might not be excluded from “I don’t read”.

    It isn’t “I can’t read”. This is not the truth. The truth is I am too lazy to read and thus a form of communication is excluded and I have hurt you.

    • For me, that is merely arrogance. The assumption is non-reader knows what is being conveyed in the letter. I have run across this before. I cannot get there from here, but I recognize the behavior. This kind of ego is difficult for me to abide. xxx <3


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