Re: Fwd: Fanspeak: a speech therapist's view (fwd)

From: KPJ (
Date: Tue Feb 08 2000 - 03:26:35 MST

It appears as if Doug Jones <> wrote:
|"Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:
|[the vorpal blade strikes]
|Fascinating- although I'm not a bigtime fan (having been to three SF cons
|in total), many of the space activist conventions I attend are much like SF
|cons (right down to the presence of oddly dressed or gender-ambiguous
|individuals). The tendency to finish each other's sentences and to speak
|in "written english" are dead-on, and probably can be extended to
|engineering and scientific professionals as well as fen.

Others groups have discussed this matter.

I translated the following text into kind of English. If you don't find a
particular word in your dictionary, either the authorof the text below used
a neologism (you know, those words which only nice academics may create in
the English language ;-) or I simply made a miztake in xlation.

[See comment at end for known neologisms.]

As spending time in both hacker- and fan-dom I guess I would agree that we
are not as careful with the formalities as with the contents. For those that
mainly converse as a part of their social behaviour and practise talking a lot,
the ritual itself probably becomes more important, to the extent that *how*
you say something sometimes becomes more information carrying than *what* you
say. What is so liberating with groups that have real interests, like hackers
and sf-fans do, is of course that what they say means exactly what they
mean and nothing else. Since in most cases there is so much information that
needs to be communicated, there is no time for fine social games and cake
decorations. That is why slightly autistic people may have easier to interact
in such groups than in the 'mundane', as they don't have to learn an extra
presupposed code which, in addition, varies wildly from one culture to another,
and instead what is said contains all the given information.

Diction.. well, surely it will vary between different languages, but it may
be conceivable that if one mainly communicate writingly then one surely, with
time, will get a somewhat different pronounciation than those who mainly
yak in phones, and those in turn may sound different from those who mainly yak
without a medium. I would imagine the choice of words ozo becomes different
depending on if it is important to promore hear- or readability.

Body language.. I don't know how much Swedish hackers and sf-fans use their
lips more than the rest of their interfaces, but I would assume that if they
do that, it would more be a sign of the modern sound-environment than some kind
of regression back to the baby stage. (Or remaining on, really.) One
articulates wildly so it can be seen what one says if it cannot be heard.
Either out in the city or in rooms where everybody gabble at the same time -
does the old lady really mean that people in general wait out each other like
Texans at a street crossing, even in greater groups?

Eye contact on the other hand was interesting.. I have never really believed
in people staying and staring at each others' eyes the whole time while they
yak - it seems impolite. It might an American phenomenon or sumthin.. not all
Americans, however, since random indians are supposed to look somebody in the
eyes only if they doubt what the person in question says - if one is to believe
Zelazny at least, but one would expect him to have studied the subject. But
she really means that they do that, and then look away to hand over the floor?
Weird.. it seems a lot more natural to do the opposite. Otherwise one looks
people in the eyes only if one is angry at them (like most cats [...]). Or
when filled up as one's eye sight becomes somewhat fuzzy.. OK, one can also
do that to flirt with somebdy, but then we probably fall into rather mundane
code systems.

0. writingly - in writing
1. ozo - also
2. Zelazny - Roger Zelazny (1937-1995), science fiction/fantasy writer.
3. filled up - intoxicated

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:03:32 MDT