Wednesday, April 4, 2018

word choices

Word choices are of the utmost importance. How can we objectively analyze information if we do not try to leave personal opinion out of the process(noun or verb: both uses work for this question)?

Are understanding, comprehension, and interpretation interchangeable words for every situation?

8 comments:

  1. yes, word choices... writing my reflective essay, I realise over and over again, how just a little difference (like verb or noun), can have a huge impact on how we perceive or interpret something. I am noticing it right now in relation to the word "knowledge", as noun it implies something absolute, static, as a verb it is dynamic, fluid.. I see knowledge as a process, so am struggling with the noun. In German the noun and verb for knowledge/knowing is the same, so how we process and perceive something, is influenced and affected by word choices.

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  2. How do you know if your interpretation is the same as intended by the author or another reader or another learner? How do you make your intention clear with only one meaning? Does using multiple languages impact how you or any person may "understand", "translate", or "interpret" words in the English language? How do any of us relate academic language to technical vocabulary for a subject or vernacular word usage without misusing word choices?

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    1. I think interpretation is such a grey area based upon ones experience and past experiences, i.e. if it's a piece of literature then the author may have an intended interpretation but only the reader will know how it's interpreted which may be what the author wanted or may not, language is so important in this, let's take the current climate of text messages and email these can so often be mis interpreted due to use of words, punctuation etc.

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  3. IMO those are definitely not interchangeable words. Understanding and comprehension perhaps, but interpretation no--I'd say that's putting your own meaning into text or words regardless of what the original author/speaker meant. If you understand something, to me that implies that there's actually a successful communication between the original intent and your comprehension.

    And responding to the above comment, I'd say you can't know, at least if you can't directly ask the author. Just look at religion for the prime example--same texts, thousands upon thousands of interpretations. There's no way to know if you've grasped the "real" meaning, or even if there is a set "real" meaning. You're probably talking dance, but textual criticism is something I find quite fascinating so that's where my mind goes first...

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    1. How can a person comprehend something if they do not understand it? How many definitions may be given to all three of these words? Your reference to religion is a good example. Let's look at something much simpler though, the English language. Maybe that is more complex..... Interpretation may be what a person thinks something (words or phrases) may mean or it may be translation. Are these the same or different?

      I like your comments..... just some more food for thought.....

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    2. Oooo interpretation vs. translation, something else I find quite fascinating, as I'm studying French and thinking a lot about translation as I go. I don't want to write a novel about it so I'll just say that translation often involves quite a bit of interpretation, even when we think it doesn't, in both language and religion.

      Your question on comprehend and understanding is why I said they're perhaps interchangeable... I should have used a stronger word than perhaps in my earlier comment. I'm sure there's some nuance there but they seem to be largely interchangeable to me.

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  4. We can only say what we mean and hope it translates to how we 'feel' or 'move'. Sometimes the spoken word isn't enough. As teachers we find ways to express words with the multitude of meanings so we can get the message across to all concerned. If I have to rephrase to make my intentions understood, then I will! Words are limiting and don't always suit the occasion. Each language and culture will communicate to fit purpose but music and dance are universal and as dancers are we best suited to communicating with words?

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    1. "...are we best suited to communicating with words?" Great point! Communication even in movement form may be understood, comprehended, or interpreted in various ways. Nuances to movement may create mood or intent. Do words which may be used as more than one part of speech create challenges when a person may think they understand, comprehend, or interpret the meaning one way when the word may be used in a completely different way? In dance a basic move used to start many ballet classes may be interpreted differently in various syllabi and how that step is executed may be taught or understood, comprehended, or interpreted differently by student and leader (instructor, teacher, educator). Finding one set way to make meaning precise and concise is a challenge to do without assuming intent is clear. So words or movement, are the similar or different? Movement has many challenges being understood, comprehended, or interpreted from one genre to another. Is this not the same as with written and spoken languages? .......just having a philosophical debate with myself trying to see every side.

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