when i was flying to leeds just a couple of months back, i met a sweedish guy..he basically worked in malaysia but every 2 or 3 months, he had to fly back to sweeden to work at the head quarters office for two weeks..he’s in the computer field, some genius and well paid job i might say judging from the knowledge he had and his appearance, of course..we had a long good chat in the flight because he couldn’t sleep as well and we even had coffee together as we arrived in amsterdam since we both had a more than 4-hour transit before the next flight..
so obviously we couldn’t talk about anything computer related because hell no, i have no idea what’s going on inside the computer’s brain if i could call it that..it’s like a genius machine that tells google everything we wanted to know even on things as simple as “where is my house?”..
and since he’s a well read person and he did some political studies back in the days, i told him i’m a linguistics major and so we talked about how noam chomsky (the superhuman in linguistics) who started off as a genius linguist ended up as a super genius politician..so we talked about how a linguist could be a good politician..so basically, rikards suggested that if you’re a linguist, you could be a good politician because you understand the significant semantic and pragmatic relations to every word..
and just now, i met a pakistani guy who randomly asked me where the post office is..while i was walking! he came from behind me and greeted me randomly..how awkward was that..i was on my way down to the supermarket and it so happened that the post office was nearby the supermarket so i showed him where the post office was..
and as we walked down to the town from school, we got to know each other..so he’s a phd student doing international politics..and as he knew i’m a linguistics major, he went all excited telling me about how great of a politician NOAM CHOMSKY had became and that he was asking if there’s anything particular about a linguist that could make them a very good politician..he’s suspecting the same thing – linguists knew exactly the right word to say and were very good in influencing people..
first, noam chomsky as a linguist believed that in acquiring any language, a child constructed sentences based on the pre-wired system they had in their brain that for a sentence to be a sentence, it needed a subject, verb and an object..and depending on the specific languages, the order of subject, verb and object could vary..he did NOT believe that we constructed languages based on meaning that we give to the particular words..hence, semantic or pragmatic were NOT his cup of tea..but his works were very much grammarly-focused..
second, we learned NOTHING about how to make sentences more powerful or easily understood or highly influential..the most that we do was building sentence trees! like this:
third, most linguists were at universities doing their endless researches..and instead of successfully conveying a message in a direct, and easily intelligible way, linguists tended to twist their sentences and made it harder to understand..like i said previously, instead of saying walk straight in 2km and you’ll find the police station on your right, linguists would say alright you can walk that way for 2km and along that way, there’ll be a beautiful fountain on your left, a beggar in 200m, and a may be you can switch route! see what i meant..?
fourth, have they even read any ONE of chomsky’s work..?just one..please, try read and tell me what you think about it..
buy anyway, i might have been belittling the linguists a bit too much here but no i love linguistics and linguists 🙂 i’m delighted that people were aware that hello, linguists do exist in the society and we did a lot of things for the society and no, we’re not stuck as teachers as some might stereotype it..and yes, i thanked chomsky for his findings and discoveries and theories..but a good politician..?well it’s not something generalizable people..
and true too, there’s power in words..we all speak, even the deaf speaks sign language..it totally depends on how you bring about the powers from within those words..