tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Apr 16 17:59:31 2002

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Re: to' nech, 019: {jev'a'meyna'.}

At 21:10 2002-04-16 +0000, wrote:
>ghunchu'wI', a computer geek, and I, another computer geek, have a 
>natural  response involving veins sticking out in our necks when we deal 
>with this  cultural difference between outspoken members of these 
>different groups.

Suzette Elgin (hey, a linguist, whattaya know!) once suggested this as part 
of her "Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense":

"In order to understand what another person is saying, you must assume that 
it is true and try to imagine what it could be true of." (George Miller; 

Our tendency when we hear someone say something that strikes us as 
unacceptable is to assume that it is false and try to imagine what's wrong 
with the person who said it. (As in: "That's ridiculous! He's only saying 
that because he's stupid/biased/ignorant/trying to trick me/..." and so 
on.) This guarantees communication breakdown; instead, use Miller's Law. 
The proper response when someone says, "My toaster has been talking to me!" 
is to give the speaker your full attention, ask, "What has it been 
saying?", and then listen carefully.

So, instead of braying "SEAN IS NOT LEARNING" over and over (as if the 
careful note takers missed it the first time?), how about /assuming/ that 
I'm learning, but in a different way than you're used to seeing?  Because 
when Protagoras said that "Man is the measure of all things", he probably 
wasn't talking about you specifically.

Or maybe assume that you're not /seeing/ improvement, only because you're 
not very good at detecting such changes, especially when it cuts into your 
rant time.  But then, assessment /is/ always the hardest part of language 
teaching.  Oh no, did I just now accounce myself as a linguist!?

>Given that, we now have Sean who announces himself as a linguist, produces 
>more messages in a day than we've seen on this list in quite some time, 
>shows less interest in cleaning up his translations [...]

Similarly, instead of assuming that I've got no interest in cleaning my 
translations, how about assuming that I /am/ cleaning them up, and at the 
end will release a new corrected version?

Unless, of course, that mode of argumentation would deprive you of 
cherished neck-vein-bulging.  But hey, whatever gets you thru the day.

Sean M. Burke

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