By Gerry Murray. 17-05-2020
(Scroll down for a laugh)
“I know all those words, but that sentence makes no sense to me.” ~ Matt Groening
My first degree was in linguistics so I’ve long been fascinated by words. History shows they have power. Therefore, this week I thought I’d take a light-hearted look at one of the most prominent “orators" of our modern time.
For several months my linguistic curiosity has been wondering how does an Interpreter do a simultaneous translation of Donald Trump and what are the wider implications.
Turns out I’m not the only one who’s been wondering - or is it wandering?! It’s been quite well researched and documented.
It might not surprise you to learn that many Interpreters refuse to translate him. Reasons vary from his use of poorly formed sentences, lack of coherence between sentences, use of derogatory terms against women, immigrants and people of colour, and his name-calling, to them not wanting to come across as stupid in their own language. Linguistic analysts say that Trump uses the English language vocabulary of a 6-year old.
Add to that the fact that he tends to use some well-established hypnotic language patterns and this can explain a lot. Hypnotic language patterns work extremely well on people who are suggestible, and we all are to a certain degree. They’re intentionally vague to allow the listener to fill in the gaps from their own experience. Therefore, these linguistic patterns tend to work well to benefit patients in a therapeutic context. In other contexts, they can be perceived as manipulative.
One university professor, however, points out that Trump's rhetorical style is highly effective in that it helps him to consistently avoid being held accountable. Watch her explanation here.
So what are the implications?
Confusion, lack of clarity and misunderstandings are a few that come to mind! High stakes in the world of diplomacy.
Or as Donald himself might say:
“I’m probably not supposed to say this. They don’t want me to say it. It’s an IQ thing. But you might want to hear it anyway.
There will be implications. They may even be greater than you thought. In fact, they could be the greatest implications the world has ever seen. And, you’ll find out soon. Or maybe even sooner. Or it could be much later. I don’t know. Nobody knows. Except perhaps me. Because I'm a genius and I’m doing a great job!
I didn’t just say that! You’re a lousy reader. It’s all fake news!”
Does it matter? Who knows? Only time will tell.
May your words serve you well this week...
In case you’re wondering what is really going on in the world today? Click here to find out.