Tag Archives: communication

Does Grammar Matter?

A thought provoking view regarding the importance of grammar, https://capx.co/theres-nothing-kafkaesque-about-learning-the-rules-of-english-grammar/.

I must confess to having forgotten some of the rules which, as a child where inculcated into my young mind.

“Can you give me a hand?”

Being blind, I often request assistance when crossing busy roads. A couple of days ago I stood at a busy crossing in London’s Victoria Street. When a gentleman approached I asked “can you give me a hand please?” When he answered in the affirmative I thanked him and took hold of his arm just above the elbow.
“That’s my elbow”, he said offering me his hand. I explained that it was, in fact his arm I required and we crossed the road together.

During our short transit across the road and into Victoria station, my companion mentioned that he was from Norway. His command of English was excellent. However the misunderstanding which arose when I requested “a hand” made me realise how those brought up in a country/familiar with it’s culture use expressions, on a regular basis without considering whether they will be understood by the person with whom they are communicating.
As many of you will be aware, “To give a hand” has 2 meanings:
1. To provide assistance and
2. To applaud/clap a person/group of people.
There are doubtless many other expressions which I use on a daily basis without giving any thought as to whether my meaning will be correctly interpreted. In future I shall try to remember to ask “can you help me cross the road please?” which is a wholly unambiguous request.

I would be interested to here from my readers (both here in the UK and abroad) regarding their experiences of using commonly employed expressions and being misunderstood.

No Problem

I am, as those of you who follow this blog will know registered blind. As a consequence of my blindness I require sighted assistance to locate products while shopping.

Erlier this evening I popped into a supermarket and soon obtained help, however the assistance offered was so bizarre that I feel compelled to put fingers to keyboard and write about it. My conversation with the young lady went something like this

Me “Can I have a litre of fresh milk please, the one with the blue top?”

My assistant, “Absolutely, no problem”.

Me, “Can I have Tropicana orange juice please?”

My assistant, “Absolutely, no problem”.

My shopping “experience” (see I have all the right buzz words) continued in precisely the same manner until I, in a fit of merriment felt compelled to ask

“Do you say anything other than “absolutely, no problem?””

My companion responded with

“Sometimes I say cool” (I am not making this up I promise you)!

I asked if my companion spoke in the same manner when conversing with her friends, to which she replied that she was “a gamer” and this is how gamers interact with one another.

At the end of my “customer experience” I couldn’t resist saying with a smile that when I next encountered my companion I would call her “absolutely, no problem” to which she responded without a hint of irony that this was fine.

I feel that I’ve gone down the rabbit hole to join Alice in Wonderland and to be frank I don’t know whether it is me or my companion of earlier this evening who is the mad hatter!

I must confess to knowing virtually nothing about gaming, however if the pastime produces people who are unable to communicate other than by churning out meaningless phrases then we are, as one of the leading personalities in Dad’s Army says “all doomed”!

On a serious point excessive exposure to gaming or any other similar activity can not be conducive to the development of fully rounded persons. All things in moderation say I.