Labels

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

#SOL2014 The Impact of Cultural Language on Multi-Meaning Words

I have a short and sweet SOL about misunderstandings that can occur when background knowledge "distorts" our understanding of mult-imeaning words!
The Setting: My Aunt and I are sitting in a podiatrist's office.
The Problem: My Aunt has a nasty,lingering toe infection. We've tried a host of antibiotics already.
The Solution: The podiatrist says, "You should get her a pair of thongs!"

Now my Aunt does not get out much anymore, however, she can tell you the details of J'Lo's love life and knows about "red carpet" styles!  She also informs ME of the "in" colors and styles each season as her cultural language is strong, even IF based on day-time TV talk shows like The View and The Chew!

So with a strong, perhaps even sultry, yet over 90, interpretation of what the doctor has just said, she turns to me and asks, "Did he just say I should get a thong?" Without waiting for a response, she adds, "How is that going to help my toe?"
I smiled as I reassured her that the good doctor meant flip flops! 
"Oh,  you mean a Japanese sandal," she corrected me!
I smiled as I bought a pair of thongs, flip-flops, or Japanese sandals (depending on your cultural language about such items) later than afternoon.  I couldn't help but wonder how many other words in English might evoke strong (perhaps even sultry) images in different contexts!

11 comments:

Bernadette Laganella said...

You made me laugh out loud. I can just visualize that scene.

Arlene Sapsara said...

I love it! Very funny!

elsie said...

Too funny! Flip flops were called zorries when I was little. Gotta love words!

Tara Smith said...

That was funny! Loved that "sultry" response!

Dana Murphy said...

Ha ha ha - glad you didn't leave the shopping up to your Aunt! That would have been interesting....

LInda Baie said...

Oh Anita, take the fun where you can, I say! "Thongs" also means "leash" in Korean, so when my brother adopted his five year old, & they told him he was getting 'thongs", he was upset. You're right, different words can skew what people think quite a lot.

Terje said...

Funny to read. A good example how even for native language speakers not all words are the same, bring in second language and it all gets more complicated.

fireflytrails said...

Too funny - and what a "with-it" aunt you have, too!

Leigh Anne Eck said...

I am sitting outside with my daughter and I literally laughed out loud when I read this. This is so funny! Thanks for making me laugh.

JenniferM said...

hahhahaha! It has always cracked me up that people call them thongs! Words with multiple meanings are so much fun! :-)

Jennie B. said...

So funny! Good thing you were there with her!