Intention vs. Perception in Linguistics

Weirdly enough, I spend a lot of time thinking about linguistics.

Because the way we use language to communicate ideas is critical to understanding the way our cultures have evolved, a lot of studies have examined it in great depth. While such a macroscopic viewpoint can be useful for studying change on a global level, it rarely manifests meaningfully in the day to day interactions that define the human experience.

Instead, I’ve realized that the minutiae we use to subtly inject meaning into words and phrases has a profound impact at that individual level.However, even that analysis is slightly flawed. Rather, I argue that we should study these minutiae from the influence that they have on the way our messages are perceived. This shift in analysis forces us to communicate with a more rhetorical approach.

By definition, a rhetorical approach requires careful understanding of the relationships that define that communication. This emphasis on audience manifests itself everywhere, whether interpersonal as is on the level of normal conversations, or analytical as is through these essays.

Some of the factors include tone, word choice, inflection, emphasis, etc. And even the slightest change can radically alter its perception, regardless of the intended meaning. During conversation, we have the luxury of immediate feedback from the listener. Thus the act of responsiveness is facilitated. I reason that a more intricate understanding of a conversational mode of communication will therefore apply primarily towards speech. And yet with the advent of textual communications on that conversational plane, such as texting, messaging, etc. people have found workarounds that allow them to inject the same level of meaning into the text.

This becomes fraught with misinterpretation, hence my emphasis on perception.