November 28, 2005

Linguistic clumsiness!

I credit this title to Hatem AbuNimeh who coined the term almost 3 years ago while scrutinizing the lack of “theme” in my writings.

Tololy’s latest experimentation got me thinking; how big of a role does the linguistic skill exhibited in a given writing affect the crude thought or idea it conveys?

Take for instance the comment (3rd from top) posted by an anonymous reader in response to my “I saw a woman... “ entry, the commentator certainly had a sincere & valid prospective to express, and was trying to illustrate a sound & interesting stance, but his writing style failed him miserably! At best it would take someone with either extreme-interest or prudent patience to forgive the shortcomings, filter out discrepancies and appreciate the good and insightful thinking put forward.

A thought or an idea should by definition be crystal clear in the mind of its beholder, unless narcotics are involved; a sane individual shouldn’t have a problem understanding his own thoughts once established as the thinking process wrap-up! The beauty however is to be able to capture these thoughts into meaningful words that is common with others depending on the level of one’s involvement:

A teenage girl with a pink diary wouldn’t have a problems writing in broken lingo and in ridiculous lengths –without loosing focus- about her daily affairs and childishly-intimate thoughts to an audience solely comprised of “Dear Diary”. In vast contrast with a columnist who works for a widely circulated newspaper, where his writing should deliver a quality product that fits a certain criteria and reflects a predefined image or policy in order not to loose his audience and keep his pay-roll… rolling.

And not far from the columnist, comes the established writer or novelist –beside the commercial ones- whose writings is usually judged in the realms of literature and fine-art! The responsibility towards one's writing and its value & integrity varies among these cases. (even myself is now yelling at me with a scorching “obviously!”)

The stew of maintaining the interest of the reader and –hopefully sheer- entertainment with a distinct flawless style while eruditely delivering on a precise idea –or better still, a multiple of parallel ideas- seems to be too hard of a gourmet to cook & simmer, as it requires a balancing act between: avoiding a typical & dull writing style against delving into the use of uncommon –yet eloquent- terminology and complex paradigms & linguistic you-know-what-I-am-talking-about illustrations & structures. To further sustain the attentiveness and focus of the reader while perpetuating the thoughts and ideas in an infallible manner and consistent cadence while avoiding repetition and unnecessary off-road elaborations and backgrounders!

Alas… I fail miserably in the above, to the point that I find it hard to believe that any of my gibberish writing can be someone’s muse for a day or so! Unless he/she was also oozing with extreme anticipating interest or a prudent and pious patience!

I conclude that the writing style significantly impacts the thought being communicated to the reader; however it cannot possibly shadow the sincerity and good thinking –when present-! A dreadfully written article may still have fruits of wisdom in its centrum , the fact that it'll be hard for the average reader to appreciate and grasp -yet alone to stimulate- wouldn’t render it unread as it may will be the sought-after mind-boggling read for some passionate like-minded readers!


Tololy said...

The whole affair of keeping a reader interested is tricky. This I say referring to your passage number seven, starting with " A stew of maintaining the interest of a reader..." .

I am faced with this dilemma every time I post an entry. Many a time have I deleted a entry because I found it to be off-track, and then I would compose it again and publish it, because this is a "true calling", should I want to give it a title.

I think it ultimately boils down to what a person who sits and writes, or types, wants to convey. True, the linguistic style one exhibits does affect the message. But those two work together, content and style.

If I were to take sides, I would say that it is not what one says that affects others most, it is how one says it. As for the teenage girl with a pink diary example, I am that girl, and my diary has a name.

I am glad I played the muse for yet another day, and yet another mind. Always a pleasure.

Hatem Abunimeh said...

Wow. Basem, Toloy, and I are in the same post. Basem, I think that you have come a long way since that linguistic clumsiness of three years ago. In essence, it was that chemist doctor from Canada which I forgot his name that coined the term, and he should be credited with it.
Back then you were still student and you thought that being rhetorical is something impressive, now you are a big engineer and you understand that unless you communicate with people in a concise and precise language, all of your efforts will go down the tube.

Welcome to Jordan Planet Basem, I hope that you enjoy your stay, Toloy is a very impressive burgeoning young girl, I don't know anything about her except what I know through her writing, you will enjoy her writing style because she too has a tendency of becoming rhetorical from time to time.

I'm glad to see you back writing as I haven't heard much from you since your graduation. Take care and keep on blogging........