Phrase-Mongering
10 April, 2014
Phrase-Mongering
I have always wondered if phrase-mongering was part of our national character and everyday life. A considerable number of good and nice people in this country are desperately carried away with verbiage. We love to talk without putting much meaning into the words and phrases we are using when communicating with each other at any age and on any level, including political. What matters most for us is to say something as if the main function of a word we
utter is to serve as an emotional exhaust. We are saying something because we just want to say it. We just have a physical need to say what we are saying.
Not that we need to give words a certain meaning that will result in something substantial and consequential. One of the best examples of this might be the Georgian toast-mastering – the famous and ubiquitous Tamada shtick, so to speak. A Tamada – toast master or MC at a celebratory table – would in most cases speak extensively, but would not make any big sense. Most of them would use the same content of a toast and the same exactly verbiage to express themselves. There are of course some outstanding geniuses who happen to be a Tamada at some festive occasions who can speak both eloquently and intelligently, but you have to be lucky to witness a happy social flash like that. The country’s parliament might serve as another example. Members of our legislative body from the opposing political parties are capable of using scurrilous language against each other – not making much of a sense – and not only that! Controversy would often turn into a nonsensical verbal skirmish with an observable tendency for developing into a physical confrontation. Interestingly, those fights have an effect like water off a duck’s back – sense of impunity prevails and the reputation of the bickering sides remains intact. The nation treats this belligerent style of our politicians with tolerance, trying to understand that in the field of politics people can easily get worked up – often without any serious reason though – and the strained legislators might even need to be using some available instrument for letting the exhaust out to function effectively as a result. I can throw in the third example of phrase-mongering in the life of our society – the street meetings and manifestations. That definitely is the greatest arena for ridiculously pointless and irrational verbiage. Those politically motivated street talks during the crowded get-togethers are often such gibberish that one cannot usually make head or tail of those emotional and vocabulary-rich meaningless speeches. Good exceptions might take place of course! The biggest problem is that the younger generations are listening to the verbiage of their grownups, flowing as a vocal avalanche with a potential to create the same disgusting verbal habits in our posterity. You know, like has a propensity to beget like. Thus the phrase-mongering is being taught and perpetuated from generation to generation. I am a teacher and I see hundreds of young people in various classrooms on a weekly basis. Most of these young people know how to talk, but they do not know how to speak up to the point. I am not surprised. As I said, they have enough bad examples to follow, which they are doing successfully. Much talk and few deeds – that’s what I am trying to fight in this editorial although the national means of mass communication, made up of tens of TV and radio stations, umpteen newspapers and magazines, endless internet ways and means of influence are much more powerful than my miserable attempt to make a difference with the help of this brief article, especially because it is written in English. What I am trying to drive home is elementary – to train our people, especially the youth, in putting sense and reason where their words are. This might mean teaching them how to save – as a minimum – their time, energy and money, plus, prepare the young people of this country for concentrating on the specificity of a human word, thought and action, the optimal combination of which is definitely conducive to success in life. Here goes a simple truth: anything we do and say has to make sense. And we need our kids to know and share that notion. Discerning between absurd and something sensible is an inevitable characteristic of modern men and women. Those who do not recognize the indispensability of dropping phrase-mongering and taking up the verbal communication that makes sense, will inevitably damage the young people of this nation, crippling them as the future patrons of Georgia. Let me reiterate once again: anything we articulate must make sense. If this does not happen, we might find ourselves dragging our feet on the way to progress because the strongest feature of our globalized word is the intensification of communication between nations on the level of international dealings and between individuals on the level of personal contacts. In order for us to meet this most salient feature of our time, we need to believe that the unity of word and sense is the only rational method of modern communication between the humans and the societies that they are part of. On the other hand, it is not very easy to put a sense into a word. This harmony will never take place without a skill to do so, and the skill will only come via training. If we really want to get rid of our excessive verbiage and demagogic phrase-mongering, and put as much sense into a word as possible, then we have to sit down and learn how to do it. Nothing will happen by itself – without making a relevant effort. Acquisition of this valuable skill can take place anywhere – in schools, in families, in a work-place, in various programs and courses, and probably, in the company of those who already have that skill. We truly need to do something in this direction!
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