Wordplay: Fact or fiction? We curry favour by playing with the truth, if there ever is such a thing. Good and effective communication is a negotiation of trust between two or more parties, and if you have that trust then the truth is what ever you wish it to be, even if all parties involved know you are just playing.

6 thoughts on “Wordplay: Fact or Fiction?

  1. There is something wrong with this quotation. It intimates that there may be no such thing as truth but the suggestion that both parties know that they are playing with the truth suggests that truth has some objective reality for the parties once they stop playing with it. Am I missing something?


    1. As you well know Malcolm, the concept of truth is highly subjective and is dictated very much so by personal physical and emotional needs, however we folk have a penchant for propounding truisms in the form of ‘generally held beliefs’, which on the face of it may appear as objective entities. So when we engage in verbal communication with someone, what we are aiming to establish is common ground, but that can only be possible if both parties agree on what they believe. In effect that communal belief creates what may loosely be termed a ‘truism’, even if it only exists as such for the parties involved. Another word for it is ‘trust’. Without trust there is no truth. So no, there is no objective truth outside of linguistic exchange, playful or not. However it exists as an idealistic concept within language constructs, and is the driving force behind all verbal communication as far as I understand it, and certainly what seems to be implied by much of the research being undertaken in the field of sociolinguistics.


    1. Precisely so Malcolm, the validity of my response is measured against the validity of your own beliefs, if it doesn’t fit then likely you will not see it as holding any truth, even if it does for me and possibly others. 🙂


  2. Ishaiya, I wonder if you would be willing to fly in a plane built by a bunch of aeronautics engineers who had just taken a sociolinguistics course which taught them that “there is no objective truth outside of linguistic exchange”. As a result they did not bother testing their ideas (objective reality) and just convinced each other that they knew what they were talking about.


    1. Malcolm, did you ever read my posts about perception?


      As for sociolinguistics, we are talking about the mechanics of language and why people use it in the way that they do. Much of creative wordplay is less to do with the exchange of information than it is in strengthening social ties. Words are just sounds that one interprets subjectively based on one’s subjective knowledge. Words are not the mechanics of aeronautics.
      Advertising and business in general use such linguistic strategies by way of imparting so called ‘truisms’ in order to convince their target market to buy their products, or more accurately, buy into the concepts they are selling, whether the product they are actually selling lives up to the idealism of the attached concept or not.
      Reality on the whole is entirely subjective, even though there may be agreements in the way that some things are perceived, however each individual’s perception of any given experienced, even if ‘shared’ will differ slightly or greatly depending on individual circumstances. A person is not an isolated gestalt, separate from their environment, but claiming anything as an objective truth is erroneous. Things are the way we perceive them because we believe them to be that way. Even Einstein recognised that and believed it to be a matter of physics and not philosophy.
      We are only limited by the questions we are willing to ask, and that is what we term objective truth.


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