How often do we believe that we have clearly communicated, only to discover that others have completely misunderstood what was said?
I’m trying to run a project and one individual in particular keeps re-interpreting what I say into something different.
When I explain in writing how milestone 1 can be achieved in 10 days, followed by many smaller milestones, she re-interpreted it to mean that all the milestones can be achieved in 10 days. Huh?
I define steps in how to do something so that work flows from one to another, then she decides this is not what she wants, changes the rules, tells others but not me, and then when everything has ground to a halt, seems baffled as to why.
I remember, many years ago, having support for a new software application directly from the USA. Rick and I spent many companionable hours on the telephone (Yes Belinda this was before the days of internet-based e-mail or online-chat). We eventually discovered some of the problems were in different use or understanding of the same English words.
Have you ever tried to read instructions, written by a non-English speaker, but which are supposed to be correct? I remember receiving 2 chairs to assemble, crying with laughter and frustration over how incomprehensible the instructions were. Fortunately there were pictures with the instructions, and these eventually made it possible to assemble the chairs.
I often hear people bemoaning the adulteration of the English they know with new words and phrases, new meanings for words. As this is exactly how languages evolve, I wonder why they bother to complain. People bring in ways of speaking taken from other languages, other sub-cultures, existing or evolving local dialects.
Yet there has to be a fellow feeling when the tiny changes to the language all add up to us being divided by a “common language.”