Post for Jul 10-Jul 16 2011 (Tidbits and Nuggets)

TaN: Good grammar seems to be no more these days.  More and more, not only do we hear ever worsening conversational grammar, even news media (print, web, etc) are no longer proofreading their work before publishing.  Broadcast media is not any better, with many newscasters mispronouncing words.  It gets confusing at times, especially when there are other words that sound similar and will not conflict with the context of the statement/s or information.  I know that what is important is to get the message across, but not at the expense of good grammar.  It only shows either there is no respect or no value for one’s work or there is too much pressure and emphasis on being the first to put out the information.  Whatever happened to pride in one’s work?

I understand and admit that there may be something lost during the translation but it is no excuse.  Not only is language fluency (i.e., forming/assembling a sentence with words from different languages unless there is no equivalent) an indication of the IQ level (because the speaker’s vocabulary is limited and has to augment it with words from other languages), it is likewise frustrating to listen.  Sometimes, something as “trivial” as a preposition could mean the difference between truth and untruth [case in point: “All the people OF the Philippines are Filipinos” and “All the people IN the Philippines are Filipinos”.  The former is true while the latter is not – Truth became an Untruth just by changing the two-letter word “OF” to “IN”; just to very short and seemingly insignificant words.  Please choose our words carefully.  A word to the wise: Make sure brain is in gear before engaging mouth.

TaN: Semantics and the proper use of words – especially in their literal definition – is vital as the world becomes “smaller and smaller” due to advancements in telecommunications and to ever-increasing interaction between different cultures.  In pre-world wide web and air travel days of yore, most cultures are somewhat “isolated” from each other.  During those times, to enact laws based on a culture’s value system or morality will not have any conflict everyone has – more or less – the same set of values and morality.  However, since the advent of intercontinental flights and, even more so with, cyberspace, it is inevitable that cultures will increasingly be interacting with one another and potential conflicts and clashes in value systems and in culltural moralities in not improbable – especially when the cultures are very divergent.

Whenever cultures where the languages are not related or very different from one another and where idiomatic expressions are unfamiliar, the only way for one culture to understand the other is to rely on literal defintions.  The more diverse the languages, the more dependent on literal understanding.  Because of this, it is not merely important but outright vital that proper grammar and semantics are observed, otherwise misunderstandings may be a source of confusion or even conflicts and disputes.

Examples of common mal-use of words: (in a restaurant menu) boneless milkfish/bangus – unless the fish was born without and have never developed bones, and the bones were removed, the proper term is “deboned”; (in a department store sale) buy one, take one – it is but customary and legal to take one if you only bought one, to take more than one would be stealing or robbery; (on a street sign) no parking on both sides – unless you are driving two cars or have a car so wide that it occupies the entire street, it would be physically impossible to park on both sides of the street, it should be “no parking on either side”; (when formally inquiring) may I ask a question – of course, you are already asking a question; (referring to the set of lights at an intersection that control the flow of intersecting traffic) stoplight – it is traffic light; and, (when trying to refer to something in a conversation) with regards to – it is “with regard to”, without the “s”, “regards” refers to concerns, as in best wishes.

TaN: Buddhist economics: unemployment is a clear indication that profit is more important to business than labor.  In basic economics, among the fundamental laws is the law on diminishing returns or diminishing marginal returns or increasing relative cost.  It asserts that the increasing a factor of production (while holding the rest constant or steady) will initially produce an increased rate of return per unit product.  However, sooner or later, the continued addition of the said factor of production will result in a decrease or lower rate of return per unit product. 

Given the premises that: labor is a factor of production; business exists for the primal reason of making profits; and, the law of diminishing returns, it is not unexpected that management/business will limit the number of workers in order to ensure a substantial or significant return of investment or profit.  With this, it implies that, for the sake of ensuring a sizable net revenue or income, business or management is prepared to refuse employment to qualified workers when the profit margin may be “compromised”.  This is true only if the priority of business or management is profit rather than the welfare of workers.  Should business or management, instead, give greater value to workers’ welfare than company profits, it will try to “absorb” or hire as many qualified workers even when profits are reduced or not at optimum but for as long as the owners/stockholders will still receive a decent profit to ensure the continued existence of the business enterprise.  This is one of the fundamental tenets or philosophy behind Buddhist economics – that labor should be accorded greater importance than capital (which business or management represents), by hiring as much labor as possible even at the expense of reduced but still adequate profit margin.


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