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2006-11-08 23:29:27 (UTC)

Trapped in 'isms'

I'm wading through a sea of vocabulary. School is
interesting. Half of what I'm learning is just
terminology. I prefer a concept-based learning. This is
just assigning new words to things that I already know.
Words that make me sound more intelligent.

Is school really about learning? Or is it about achieving
superiority? The average person can probably grasp the
concepts outlined in university classes. However, it is
the brute memorization of terms that is tested. If you
don't have an endless capacity for useless knowledge,
you're doomed.

I recently was dating someone with a quite extensive
vocabulary and a massive superiority complex. I'm starting
to see the correlation between the two. Unless you are in
an environment with people in a specialized field, you
have no reason to use these words. There are plenty of
commonplace words in the English language that will
describe what you want to say.

Am I reading too far into this? Is it that this guy was
trying to demonstrate his superiority in vocabulary, or is
it that I perceived it that way, because I adhere to the
same system? And when he was explaining terms to me that I
already understood....that drove me up the wall.

I'm going to say that, in this instance, it was a
superiority thing, because factors outside of language
supported the same conclusion. Endless advice, constant
buying of stuff (I don't mean in a thoughtful sort of way.
I don't mind personal gifts. But paying for stuff because
you're a man? Sorry, I really find that condescending. And
hey, you extensive vocabulary people - give me a word to
describe this male excessive purchasing behaviour.),
critique of my life, my friends, you'll be wiser when
you're older like me, you'll go through some really tough
times, blah blah blah blah blah. Dude, you're older. Yes.
You're not fucking psychic. And, unless you're an
extremely successful individual, you have no right to tell
me how to live. And I'll ask for your advice when I need
it. Or I'll buy your best-selling, 'How to be like me'
book. I'll watch your interview on Oprah. You are offering
advice to those who don't need or want it. Why? Does it
make you feel better about your life?

Anyways, back on topic.

My example for the 'vocabulary debate': if you
transplanted me, with a well-developed English vocabulary,
into France, where I can still express these ideas, but
not in specific terms, would I be seen as inferior?

And I know that if our language is based in status, that I
am guilty as well. I take a certain pleasure in talking
about my major when no one from my home town has a clue
what I mean. Even I didn't know what it meant until I came
here and took classes I didn't even think I'd be
interested in.

Maybe a lot of people are missing out on their callings
just because they don't know the terminology. I just
happened to stumble across mine while picking through
humanities requirements. It's really funny to discover
that what you've wanted to do since you were 9 years old
actually exists, 10 years later.