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 Post subject: Language and understanding
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 7:35 am 
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PPK, survey time!

I would like to understand what your instinctive reaction, and your reasoned reaction, would be upon hearing the conversation below. I'm looking at how language communicates concepts and how words change meaning based on situations.

Situation: three friends are chatting about going hiking. Friend A asks Friend B and Friend C if they want to join in the planned hike on thursday.
Friend B said they would like to, but can't on that day, but would be up for it another day.
Friend C is not available the whole weekend and cannot go hiking, and does not participate in the conversation.
Friend A says they could hike on saturday with Friend B, and say "I'm thinking about Mountain X if you're up for that" . Friend B says they are up for anything.
Friend A and Friend B agree that they will talk again on friday and decide based on the weather.
The next day Friend C says "Mountain X looks challenging". Friend A says "From Y it's mostly a long walk". Friend C says "so for Saturday the forecast for the whole "true south" doesn't look too promising. But Area Z looks good so far - maybe a hike to the Mountain Z? It offers routes of all possible difficulties as far as I remember"
The conversation ends with Friend A saying that they will decide on friday based on the weather, and Friend C saying that that's the way to go.
Friend C is still not going to join the hike because of other commitments.

My questions to you:
- Does the conversation have any point that you would find awkward?
- What is your reaction to/gut feeling to/understanding of the sentence "I'm thinking about Mountain X if you're up for that"?
- What is your reaction to/gut feeling to/understanding of the sentence "Mountain X looks challenging"?
- Anything else that you think needs to be mentioned?

Thank you!

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 Post subject: Re: Language and understanding
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 8:16 am 
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- Does the conversation have any point that you would find awkward?
I find C butting in on the hike plans awkward since they have established they will not participate.

- What is your reaction to/gut feeling to/understanding of the sentence "I'm thinking about Mountain X if you're up for that"?
I didn't think anything of it. To me it sounds synonymous to "I'm thinking about Mountain X, what do you think?"

- What is your reaction to/gut feeling to/understanding of the sentence "Mountain X looks challenging"?
It sounds to me like C finds Mountain X too harduous to bother with personally, but I don't know why they'd care since they're not coming? Unless they have additional knowledge of the terrain and / or of A and B's abilites that leads them to believe they'd be in danger.

Is that the kind of answer you are looking for?


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 Post subject: Re: Language and understanding
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 8:36 am 
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Yes, thank you! That's the kind of answer I'm looking for.

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 Post subject: Re: Language and understanding
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 8:52 am 
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Ditto. I mean, I could see it not awkward that someone pipes in with opinions if they're a good friend or will be doing future trips, etc. There are some people I expect that kind of intrusiveness from just from their personality so I don't mind.

But basically what aelle said.


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 Post subject: Re: Language and understanding
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 9:08 am 
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- Does the conversation have any point that you would find awkward?
C's input at the end is strange to me- why the hell do they care?

- What is your reaction to/gut feeling to/understanding of the sentence "I'm thinking about Mountain X if you're up for that"?
straightforward, nothing strange

- What is your reaction to/gut feeling to/understanding of the sentence "Mountain X looks challenging"?
To me this sounds like small talk from someone who will not be involved but wants to participate in the conversation.

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 Post subject: Re: Language and understanding
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 9:50 am 
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I agree with what others have said, but I can also kind of see a different interpretation.

Awkward moment: Maybe it's a little awkward to plan a trip with just B in front of C? Depending on how well they all know each other and what their personalities are like.

"...thinking about Mountain X": Nothing strange, just making a suggestion.

"...Mountain X looks challenging": If it is a situation where C was hurt/offended by being left out, this could be some weird passive aggressive thing or just their way of trying to reinsert themself into the conversation.


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 Post subject: Re: Language and understanding
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 10:09 am 
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Personally I am a bit like friend C. If I'm in a group of three people and two of them are chatting about something that they know I'm not involved in, I will butt in with my opinion because well, talk somewhere else if you don't want me involved. So I don't think it's weird of C to talk about it, especially if they already knew a bit about the hike.

And with the "if you're up for it" comment, I would take that as meaning "if you want to" but I do know people who would take it as an insult, as in "are you doubting my abilities".

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 Post subject: Re: Language and understanding
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 12:32 pm 
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I think "Mountain X if you're up for that" implies that there is something about that trip that could be outside the scope of a typical hike those people would go on. Not necessarily implying that Friend B isn't capable - could just mean it was a long drive away or something like that.

I need more info about Friend C to analyze the "challenging" comment. Could be C's commentary on their own abilities.


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 Post subject: Re: Language and understanding
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 2:01 pm 
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My immediate thought was "C can't go, but has a great suggestion because C heard/read about this in the interim". I have lots of friends that suggest things to me that aren't something they're directly involved in, but because they think I might be interested.

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 Post subject: Re: Language and understanding
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 2:22 pm 
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vixki wrote:
Personally I am a bit like friend C. If I'm in a group of three people and two of them are chatting about something that they know I'm not involved in, I will butt in with my opinion because well, talk somewhere else if you don't want me involved. So I don't think it's weird of C to talk about it, especially if they already knew a bit about the hike.

And with the "if you're up for it" comment, I would take that as meaning "if you want to" but I do know people who would take it as an insult, as in "are you doubting my abilities".


For the "if you're up for it" comment, I think it's about tone, so it's difficult to say. I suppose it could be said in a way that implies person A thinks they're fitter/more able to climb mountains, so person B could conceivably be insulted or feel like they have to say they're up for anything even if maybe they wouldn't have chosen that mountain themselves, because they've been challenged.

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 Post subject: Re: Language and understanding
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 3:05 pm 
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(Not very related, but I find it fascinating that people are able to comment and make judgements on this. Without intonation or other contextual cues, I'm completely lost.)

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 Post subject: Re: Language and understanding
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 5:41 pm 
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indeedy, lutin. as we say in portuguese, this is sort of like debating the sex of angels.

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 Post subject: Re: Language and understanding
PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 4:01 am 
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torque wrote:
indeedy, lutin. as we say in portuguese, this is sort of like debating the sex of angels.


Ha! Wonderful.

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 Post subject: Re: Language and understanding
PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 2:05 pm 
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Thanks all! Your insights are really interesting. And I agree, without intonation it's harder, but there was no intonation - the whole conversation was in a Google chat window. Does that make a difference to the interpretation?

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 Post subject: Re: Language and understanding
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 6:44 am 
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yikes. chat, the opportunities for misunderstanding are endless!!

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James Joyce doesn’t give a twopenny damn, but Marie Kondo does. Oh, bother. --J O'Donogue, JT


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 Post subject: Re: Language and understanding
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 12:18 pm 
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Even with intonation it's too easy to read into things. I just assume people aren't being offensive or doing anything intrusive/odd until I've asked them follow up questions or seen the statements along with actions to indicate bad intentions.

So basically I find nothing offensive and never get angry because I'm so unassuming. That may not work for everyone.


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