The purpose of language is to successfully communicate ideas between people, so if people generally understand what you say as what you mean and you generally understand what they say as what they mean, then the words and language you're using is fine.

Really. That's it. Everything else is intellectualist bullshit.

@InspectorCaracal I can understand the appeal of being a nitpicking brat, because feeling superior is a lovely feeling. I just can't understand people who let nitpicking brats get under their skin.

@Wsteria I spent a good chunk of my early internet life being That Guy, the type who was colloquially called a grammar Nazi until actual Nazis showed up again, so I totally understand it, but then I grew up >.>

@InspectorCaracal Yeah, basically. And I know a few folks on the spectrum who nitpick because they learned all this stuff by rote and people nitpicking at them and so they think of nitpicking as a Helpful Thing.

@Wsteria @InspectorCaracal it tends to annoy me because I'm chronically sleepy and have ADHD, so I don't need/want "help" with my casual speech.

People don't do it to help, they do it to be smug or derail an argument.

@InspectorCaracal The wider the scope of the people you are trying to communicate with, the more narrowly your communication must be constructed.

@publius This sounds like one of those pretty statements that one person said in a very interesting essay once that now gets repeated by lots of people who don't actually think about what it's saying.

@InspectorCaracal Tough titty, as my mother likes to say. The broader the cultural background of the people you are trying to communicate with (which includes time & space), the less likely they are to fully & properly comprehend your meaning. Before audio recording, this mostly meant that writing had to be more precise or even punctilious than speech, which was the origin of the (limited) power to revise statements in the Congressional Record. Today, the situation is far more complex.

@publius Well you got kind of hostile quick there. XD

I *feel* like you're trying to argue with me, but my statement was literally that the only important thing in language is communicating ideas so they're understood and you are elaborating on the science of effective communication, which is exactly the sort of thing I said was the important part?

@InspectorCaracal Case in point : you assume my comment is hostile, when what my mother uses “tough titty” to mean is along the lines of the Japanese “shikata nai, ne?”, expressing that the situation is such that we just have to cope with it. But you didn’t grow up with her, so you don’t have that context. In addition to how much context you share with your expected interlocutors/audience, your certainty & correctness in those expectations determine how much freedom you have.

@publius I still don't understand why you're arguing that it's important to use language so people understand what you mean when my entire point is that this is the only really important thing in language...

@InspectorCaracal That's a too simplistic view of language. Communicating ideas is but one purpose of language. Social bonding and separating is another one, possibly more important than communicating ideas. And social bonding and separating pretty much includes that "everything else".

@Stoori I would counter that your understanding of what I mean by an idea appears overly intellectualized, as social groupings are ideas as well

@InspectorCaracal if so, then I can't see your original point, as one way to communicate one's ideas about social groupings is to stipulate strict rules on language use.

@Stoori It may be simply that we disagree about what are acceptable societal behaviors.

@InspectorCaracal I don't think so. I guess we disagree either on the definition of 'info' or the purpose of language. I'm of the opinion that language policing in social media is bad behavior, but i dare not say that it is not one of the purposes of language.

@Stoori Establishing and enforcing strict language rules as markers of who is In and who is Out is still communicating an idea.

More importantly, such linguistic gate keeping is a technique, not a purpose, and I hold is intellectualist AND elitist bullshit. The ends (establishing social groupings) do not justify the means (being an asshole about vocabulary), especially when there are other means available to the same ends.

(I recognize you are not defending that behavior, fyi.)

@InspectorCaracal Ok, so seems that we are not in disagreement after all. I was just put off by your original toot, as it seemed to imply that exclusion wasn't a purpose of language by pointing out that a common exclusion technique was in some way not included in the concept of communicating ideas.

Anyway, I wouldn't still claim that communication was the only purpose of language. For example self-entertaining in solitary is not communication, but it's still a common way to use language.

@Stoori Ah! I think you might also be thinking that "purpose" and "valid use" are the same? e.g. that last example I agree is a valid use of language, but I *don't* agree that it's a *purpose*.

@Stoori But yeah for the first one, I do think that communicating social boundaries counts as communicating an idea. I think where I was coming from is that so many people get so hung up on the techniques and details of language use and lose the point of it. And yeah, sure, some people might use that AS communication, but I count that type of language use as intellectualist bullshit and not actually the point of language.

I think the people who replied to this have been grossly overestimating my own actual ability to communicate. >.>

@InspectorCaracal yeah this is exactly the sort of thread that is what my little social media rant was about.

@fluffy I suspected as much, or at the very least when I read yours I was like "this is exactly what just happened to me" XD

@InspectorCaracal I was posting it in response to a thread I was just on. It’s gestalt.

@InspectorCaracal not to mention me getting increasingly fed up with how mastodon is just turning into another Twitter as the community shifts (the same way twitter used to be a great place until its community shifted as more people showed up).

To summarize the summary of the summary, people are a problem.

@fluffy This is why my solution is to have my own instance where I can kick people out if I want to. I enjoy the position of benevolent low-key dictator.

@InspectorCaracal yeah, I can see how that would help, but to me it's just not instance-level governance that's the concern so much as the nature of the public update firehose.

@fluffy That's true, but I've found even my instance's federated feed is more pleasant than on most other servers. If you have an instance which encourages certain behaviors and types of people to be around, then they'll generally follow others in similar veins, which thus drives the tone of the public feeds.

I agree that the tone shift of the fediverse at large in the last year has been a problem, but I'm feeling confident in being able to preserve my corner of it by virtue of decentralization

@InspectorCaracal I feel like many of my bad interactions come from responses to things my mutual boost or just plain misunderstandings between me and people who follow me.

@fluffy ...Good point. Mine come almost exclusively from people who don't follow me at all, so probably I got boosted or was in THEIR federated feed...

@InspectorCaracal First up - I totally agree with you. Though I think calling it out as intelectual doesn't seem to nail the coffin right for me, as the issue I see is more of the norming character than the intelectual which may be plainly observing. But that's just my (intelectual? :o) two cents there :)

@uniporn I'm not *entirely* sure I follow but I think I do - intellectual analysis versus intellectual gatekeeping? - and that's a good point.

@InspectorCaracal yeah, basically that is my point, though I wouldn't reduce gatekeeping to intelectual one.

@InspectorCaracal This particular intellectualist bullshit brought to you by Wittgenstein: Philosophical Investigations (1953).

@InspectorCaracal Just that you we're summarizing that particular book.

@InspectorCaracal If you like opaque language philosophy, sure. It's one of the most influental philosophy books of the 20th century.

I disagree if that means losing the ability to communicate with the larger social group, including people with different opinions.

Using words in a way that only your group understands is the path to dialects, and isolationism.

@x_cli you disagree that communicating what you mean is the only important thing in language... because it might... make you not able to communicate what you mean......?

@x_cli I get that you think something is funny here but I honestly don't understand how that works. The point is people understanding what you mean, it is explicitly saying that communicating accurately is the whole point of language. How does this idea lead you to conclude it dismisses or ignores failures of communication with people? The whole point is that that's the important part??

My point is that if you are too liberal with your use of a language, it may work with your close circle, but it won't scale.
For the same reason a nation forsakes a bit of its freedom to an institution (a state) that forces laws to regulate that large group of individuals, you need to respect arbitrary language rules so that you can communicate with an audience larger than your local community.

So if your point is: "let me talk with my friends the way I want"; sure.
If your point is: "I don't need to learn all of that BS because I can communicate with my community just fine", then I say it is the path to isolationism.

@x_cli My point is very definitely not the latter.

If I had to give a very specific point that isn't just the words I said, then it would be "policing people over their specific word choices when everyone is understanding them just fine is bullshit".

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