Language, Chiasmus and Communication

by on April 24, 2005

It’s been a while since I had a foray in the genre that I call “half-formed ideas,” but here’s a good one that I’ve been brewing for a while.

For no good reason I can recall, I was reading this essay about spontaneous use of chiasmus in contemporary English and it got me thinking. Not so much about chiasmus, which is of course fascinating in its own right, but about language and communication in general.

Life has always been a crisis of communication. But I get the impression it’s becoming more of a problem. Language seems to be increasingly incapable of communicating ideas we have, and this seems to show quite dramatic evidence at times. Whether this is because concepts are becoming harder to describe, or language itself becoming more diversified and so less able to cope with particular concepts for many people, I’m not sure. It does seem that in the far future we may need to use some other form of communication. The trouble is that I can’t imagine what that might be. It would need to be a system of communication that had less ambiguity, more accuracy and more standardisation than that currently employed. Hmmm.

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