Originally posted by Dana Sheets
So what doesthatmean?
or concept not translating well, or from a problem in the culture of origin.
Words can be funny things. I was once involved in the use of a
survey instrument designed to get patient-reported information
on physicaland mental health. The SF-36 is a 36 question survey asking
about your ability to do various things in the last year from walking to climbing
stairs to socializing with your friends. The full questionnaire is here.
Question 9a. is the following:
did you feel full of pep?
Well… apparently in some African American circles, the word “pep”
is interchangeable with the British slang “mojo.” You know…
kind of like how it’s good to be bad – if that makes sense.
Or when blacks say you have an attitude, it doesn’t mean you
have a GOOD attitude.
So… Don’t get too worked up over words that come from local
dialects. Sometimes they just don’t translate very well out of
their social context.
I find it easier to understand these Eastern concepts by arriving
at them independently. Then when you try to communicate
something YOU get, the words start coming out fuzzy. THEN you
know you just might be on to something that previously you
didn’t get by other language and words. A really good example of
that for me is the concept of yin and yang. More and more, I find
it easy to use those concepts when approaching martial arts as
a parsimonious set of principles rather than a massive bag of
Ever tried to explain the difference between mushin and zanshin
to beginners? I totally get it now. But in the past, it was a bit of
mumbo jumbo to me. Now when I quiz my students about it
(as I’m teaching), I see that many don’t get it in spite of my
best efforts to communicate it.
This is a very real thing in math. When I first saw the definition
of a derivative (expressed as limits), I just didn’t get it. Honest
to God, it took about 4 years for it to sink in so that I “knew”
it at an intuitive level.