Monday, July 31, 2017

Defining Communication

What is a good definition of communication? The next several posts here will consider several definitions from a variety of disciplines in the humanities (communication studies, of course, but also literary, cultural, and language studies).

Do you have a definition (personal or from some scholar) that you particularly like?

I have a preferred definition but I have never gone through this exercise of systematically considering and comparing a variety of definitions. And as a language teacher, I am also essentially a communication teacher -- and so we language teachers had better know what exactly we are teaching and talking about!

[Note: Any decent definition of communication will also mention or at least relate to the term meaning, so that will have to be the next round of definitions to consider.]

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Importance of Interest

In the detective short story "La muerte y la brújula" by Jorge Luis Borges, the detective makes the following observation to someone observing a crime scene and making uninteresting and unhelpful observations:
Usted replicará que la realidad no tiene la menor obligación de ser interesante. Yo le replicaré que la realidad puede prescindir de esa obligación, pero no las hipótesis.
[Translation: You will reply that reality has no obligation whatsoever to be interesting. I will reply to you that reality can dispense with that obligation, but not hypotheses.]
Detectives may agree with that, and researchers and intellectuals definitely should.