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Reply #44: Nowhere, inshallah. [View All]

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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-03-08 07:26 PM
Response to Reply #4
44. Nowhere, inshallah.
God willing, nobody would ever speak like that.

For those who believe that Jesus intervenes in their life, vacations, jobs, projects, and just about everything else is part of God's plan. And we're to pray that our plans match God's plans.

It's not just the words. It's the semiotics.

I don't use "God" except in a referential sort of way. No "God damn", no "Jesus Christ!" as swear words or words of shock and surprise. And would I really want to ask God to send somebody or something to spend eternity in hellfire, just because they cut me off and I lost *my* temper, or didn't hit a nail right and want the hammer to pay for eternity? I think not, even were I to believe in hell. I don't say "God bless you" when you sneeze, I say "excuse me" when I sneeze and "Gesundheit" when others sneeze. I say "thank God" when I seriously want to thank God; not something I've done much of in recent memory.

I took Arabic, and many Arabs have "alhamdulillah" and "inshallah" dripping off their lips every other sentence. We were expected to internalize this usage to be communicatively competent and culturally competent. Somebody complained, and the teacher said the religious and irreligious do it--it's just a verbal tic for many people, and expected in many instances. "Do it, and it's only meaning is that you're behaving appropriately in a conversation. Don't do it, and you sound like you're trying to be weird." "Cultural competence" is something that needs to have more attention paid to it. Unless you're culturally competent, what's said by the Other is going to be misinterpreted and misunderstood through your own cultural centrism.

Both sides do it, in equal measure. Some on both sides assume they're justified in doing it, they and only they are right. I've been on both sides many times--repub and dem friends, atheist and fundie friends, cold-warriors and fellow-travellers--and watched people do it to others and have it done to them, and I've been on the receiving end from numerous sets of diametrically opposed sets of morons. On the same day. On the same issue. Bad news, all around. It's one reason I like being a translator and linguist. It's fun to watch how utterances change meaning in context, to learn new systems of signification and discourse, and see how it's butt-obvious when you know the system what somebody means given the context and discourse, but most people, even those who claim to be native speakers, can't be bothered to summon up the effort to try to understand. Seldom is a conversation boring, you can always focus on the dysfluency and dysfunction.
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