Omg, I’m pedantic, too.  Kind of. Part 1

Today, a little voice inside me poked me in the ribs and said, “pssst!  Go look up pedantic.  I bet that word applies to you, too.”

And I could almost hear that little voice trail off before it could say more, because it was dissolving in laughter.

The joke is on me, once again (wink).

(Warning: I’m about to get pedantic.  Omg, I totally used that in a sentence!)

Google says that “pedantic” means:

“of or like a pedant.”

Well that sure crystal-clears things up.  Not.

But then came the example sentence:

“many of the essays are long, dense, and too pedantic to hold great appeal”

Still not quite satisfied, I kept looking.  The sentence didn’t really clarify anything for me, but it did start to give a sense of legitimacy to that bratty little Inner Voice, the one being entertained at my expense.

Wiki, the eyeroll of many, usually does come through for me.  My success with it depends on who wrote the entry and how knowledgeable, reliable, and communicative they are.  Not all entries are created equal, but since I immediately check for footnoted sources or compare what’s been written with what other reliable sources are saying, I feel comfortable using it as a source when I’m satisfied.

And today, Wiki came out shining down on me once again:

“excessively concerned with formalism, accuracy, and precision, or one who makes an ostentatious and arrogant show of learning.”

That’s better.  Now I have a firmer grasp of the concept.

And one part of the definition fits me to a “T”.  The other part, not so much.

In this post, I’ll talk about the part that fits.

I am excessively concerned with accuracy.  In a bout of black-and-white logic, I don’t necessarily see any issue with being accurate and precise, nor do I have a bone to pick with placing a fairly high importance on those qualities; in fact, I almost think it’s silly to pathologize it in that way.  (“Excessively”?)

There might indeed be a limit, one that I’ve just not yet found.  I could see there being an issue if someone becomes sleep-deprived because they were up all night trying to recall that one Right Word that would describe or express something perfectly.  The word that’s on the tip of their tongue but they just can’t bring it into consciousness, and a dictionary or even a thesaurus would be of no help.

That could pose a problem.

I think I’ve probably done exactly that.

I admit, I do place a high importance on accuracy and precision, and I strive to express myself as clearly as possible.

This often demands that I use “big” words, words that are not commonly used in everyday conversation.  It might also mean that I go on and on about something, until I feel that I’ve expressed myself fully and correctly.

Is there anything wrong with that?

Personally, I hope not.  I’m sure it might get boring or monotonous for some.  But I’m just trying to get it right.

Lat night, I got to thinking…

I’m reading Tony Attwood’s “The Complete Guide To Asperger Syndrome” out loud to my partner at night, and truth be told, I’m still having sudden, random, “a-ha!” moments.

Last night’s light-bulb moment was when he mentioned that in his clinical experience, Aspergian/autistic people are often drawn to other cultures, and he specifically named Ancient Egypt and Japan.

I did a complete Cognitive Cartwheel!  I grinned from ear to ear, rolled my eyes good-naturedly, and said, “oh my gosh.  He did not just say that.”

This took my partner and me on a brief conversational side-trip about how I wish I could’ve lived in either one of those societies.  I mean, as far as Egypt goes, what’s not to like?  They were into some pretty far-out stuff; their God(dess) pantheon is pretty cool, they held cats in high esteem, and they wrote in hieroglyphics!

The hieroglyphics would have been a whole lot cooler than alphabet-based language.  Sure you have to learn a ton of characters, but then you just have to write three of them and you’ve just conveyed a message the equivalent to an entire paragraph of letter-based writing.

It’s still accurate.  But it’s also efficient.  Whenever I can combine accuracy with efficiency, that brings me a little slice of heaven or something.

Out loud, my partner and I, in mutual agreement, compared and contrasted the glyphic-based writing systems with those based on alphabetical letters, especially that of American English.  American English has been so bleached out and reduced to the lowest common denominator; so much meaning has been lost, so many concepts made word-homeless.

(See?  You should totally come and hang out at our house at night.  We talk about cool shizz. 😉 )

And I realized that that’s exactly why it takes me forever to identify and settle upon just the right words, or why I might keep going on until I feel satisfied that I’ve gotten it right.  The words themselves that I have at my disposal are clunky and brutish.  They’re not “advanced” enough to communicate my message.

So, I can opt for one of two choices:

  1. I can use “big” words and get accused of being an egotistical show-off, or
  2. I can use “simple, everyday” words that take longer to express my thoughts because they just don’t “go there” by their nature; I have to “push” them, which usually means using a lot more of them.

I’m either a “show-off” or a “monotonous robot”.

Hell, I can’t win (lol).

Then, the question becomes, given the rudimentary linguistic tools I have to work with, is it a character flaw that I feel I have to choose between showing off or failing to shut up?

To Be Continued (in the next post)…

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

32 Comments

  1. This was a fun post. I know the irony of using Wiki and being padantic. LOL I see no issues with wiki and in most cases it suits my needs pretty well. I particularly love how you described your ah-ha moment. That’s always crazy exciting. Good Post!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Pedantic is interesting word.🐵 I think I share this need for just the right words. I have ones I favor, yet I don’t want to repeat them too much, so I am often consulting my thesaurus. ( love to say that word. makes me think of dinosaurs 😀) Now, either this means an actual book, electronically, or sometimes just mentally, depending on how many words I have memorized that fit a certain situation. ( I guess you could call language one of my chief interests. I love to set my Scrabble to extremely hard.😍

    Liked by 3 people

    1. “I am often consulting my thesaurus.”

      Omg yes! 👏🏼👏🏼. My hard copy is at ready-reach 😁. I usually have an internet browser tab open to an online one, too 😂. Language is fascinating, isn’t it? I love using uncommon words – not to show off or claim superiority, but to keep my mind dilated so that I don’t fall into repetition 💜. Ooh! I have GOT to get into Scrabble!! Wordament and Word Jewels 2 are two of my favorite games 😁💓💓

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes! All of the above! Scrabble definitely rocks. Use to have Ooh, and I think you have just suggested two I was not aware of. I shall have to research…😀

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Sheesh. For a language person I am full of gaffes today. 😄 lol. I left “use to have” dangling in midair in my excitement. It should read “I use to have something else I liked called Word Mole on my old phone.”

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Oops. Not quite done. Also wanted to say that is a fascinating aha! moment. My daughter identifies with both of those cultures. She actually would love to be a missionary to Japan. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Omg that’s awesome!! 🤗🤗. I love so many things about both of those cultures. It’s like I want to go back in time and ahead in time–at the same time lol 😉. You and your daughter sound utterly amazing 👍🏼💖🌟💖

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes! Back in time, ahead in time. It would be so cool! Thank you! I am prejudiced, but yes, my girl is incredible, as are all my kids. ❤❤

        Like

  4. Yep. Yep. Yep. 😂 My Fibro Fog has caused me extreme frustration when the Right Word becomes lost. 😕 I agree that our language can be clunky but some words just *are* better than others, or more precise. I use a lot of big words, not to show off, but to convey my thoughts as clearly as possible. Egypt and Japan, also ancient Greece & Rome are places I’d love to take my DeLorean at 88mph😂 I’d love nothing more than to hang out at your house talking & traveling down every tangent😍 Another extraordinary post Universe Twin!💯🆒👏🌸🎉✨🎉👏💞💐

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Ooooh!! Ancient Greece is another one – and Rome, too, during its ascendancy. I’m also partial to Ancient Celtic culture. You could say that cultures are sort of a particular interest of mine lol 😉. Omg I would SO have you over to our house (which is a high compliment 😍)! It would be amazing to hang out with you 👊🏼💜💙

      Like

  5. Absolutely wonderful post. And I wholeheartedly agree with King Ben’s Grandma, a night at yours sounds enthrawling. Talk about awesome conversation – if i had the energy to be involved that is. I absolutely (I am aware I use this word ‘absolutely’ wayyyy too much, I’m even annoying myself. I just use it, as with other words, to relay a deeper, shared understanding of where i am coming from and the greater specifics of meaning) agree with you, I prefer to use words that are really befitting – as stated in above example. I apologise for repeating myself and writing a very clumsy reply. I hope that people know me and know that I’m not just being an area when I use larger words. And I do tend to use larger words because I love their meaning specificity. Which comes down to being a pedantic arse about being as accurate as possible.

    I tell you another thing, I couldn’t believe it when I read about us autistics being drawn to drawn to other cultures, and he specifically named Ancient Egypt and Japan. I mean what the friggin he’ll?! That’s some crazy ass shit! I LOVE BOTH those places!!! I remember when I was a child, as homework we had to do a project of 2-3 pages on something of our choice. So I chose Egypt! This is one of my happiest childhood memories (this probably makes me sound very sad doesn’t it? Lol brown hair, don’t care!) Anyhow, I digress once again, yeah so needless to say my project was not just 2-3 pages, it filled the whole book, some 47 pages. I Love, Love, loved it! Also, my dream is to visit both Japan & China. I dream of visiting the rice-fields, walking some of the Great Wall, see the Terracotta Army, and so on. If i had the financial resources, it would be the first thing I would do. Absolutely (there it is again! Dam you! Me i mean!) fascinating!! For now i will continue to dream. So yeah, the fact that this is something we all share is just so awesome and unites us further. Dam we are so alike it’s untrue!! 😘🤥🤓 I only added the long-nosed emoji because I think it is a new addition to my keyboard and I think it’s funny. I am not in anyway saying you have a long nose! Ha! Although if you do have a long nose, that’s not necessarily a bad thing? I think? A…um…unique flaw? No, not flaw, feature. Yes, a unique feature 😊🤔😣🙈🙊😘💞

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “couldn’t believe it when I read about us autistics being drawn to drawn to other cultures, and he specifically named Ancient Egypt and Japan. I mean what the friggin he’ll?! That’s some crazy ass shit! I LOVE BOTH those places!!!”

      Aren’t they super-awesome?? 🎉🎊🎉🎊. Omg yes, both of those places are incredibly fascinating to me 😊. I was floored when I read that!

      That’s too freaking cool that you chose Egypt for your assignment! Wow!! It’s totally cool, too, that it’s one of your happiest childhood memories 💞💜. One thing on my Life List (aka the “Bucket List”) is to visit the 7 Wonders of the World 👍🏼💙🌟💙

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Greece and Egypt are one of my obsessions – as my library will attest. I have a real thing about mythology, have since I was a kid. I seem to remember I did an assignment project at school on ancient Egypt.

        Like

  6. It’s OK, I know I’m pedantic, but I just came from the neurologists office, guess what he listed under problems ” giddiness”. That was a shock but I know what he means, when I get a knowledgeable audience I can really get on a roll. Another awakening.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. If I love words and linguistics, have a good grasp of grammar and a large vocabulary (using it automatically unless I am attempting to “dumb down”), and am driven to communicate specifically and completely, that makes me a pedant?

    Oh goodie, where do I sign to join this club? Do we have club tee shirts?
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    Liked by 2 people

  8. The autistic connection to Japanese culture is interesting to me…I’m half-Japanese and so have grown up with some aspects of the culture. But like so many non-Japanese, it was their comics and animation that kick-started my interest in it, and to this day I feel like I should be more embarassed about that fact: is it possible for me to “appropriate” a culture that was sort of mine to begin with?

    But while I can certainly see how the rigid, formal aspects of Japanese culture would appeal to the rules-based aspect of autism, every now and again I also get the sense that there are formal distinctions built in that even the Japanese themselves gloss over or cannot adequately explain the rules thereof to outsiders:

    In studying Japanese swordsmanship, I’ve come to learn there are two words for non-combat cutting with the sword: suemonogiri is cutting to test the skill of the cutter, where tameshigiri is cutting to test the quality of the sword (I’ll set aside tsujigiri, which I understand to be trying out a newly-acquired sword on random passersby). A few years ago, my teacher’s teacher’s teacher was here visiting his affiliated schools in the U.S., and I asked him why, in our practice, we used only tameshigiri to refer to the cutting performed to test for rank advancement. His answer, through a translator I trusted, was “don’t worry so much about it.” So I guess even the Japanese are not perfect in their pedantry. 🙂

    Anyway, I certainly display that aspect of pedantry, particularly notable when my wife tries telling stories involving me to other people (she tends to exaggerate for effect), but I do think precision is important. Some people may find it showy or annoying; I just like to think I’m a character in an Aaron Sorkin show, and everyone else just hasn’t gotten with the program yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. “This often demands that I use “big” words, words that are not commonly used in everyday conversation.”

    Never feel compelled to nerf (weaken/make smaller) your vocabulary for the convenience of people who probably don’t know what the “little” words mean, either.

    “Aspergian/autistic people are often drawn to other cultures”

    I should ask my twin how many of his colleagues appear to be somewhere on the spectrum. (He’s an anthropologist.) He has told me that most people who become anthropologists do so because they don’t feel “at home” in their own cultures and are looking, even if only subconsciously, for a culture that makes sense to them. (There are some cultures where not making eye contact, for example, is just being polite, not a sign of something “wrong” with the individual. In some cultures, the inability to make small talk would never be noticed, much less diagnosed as an “disorder,” because it’s not a requirement or even desirable under most circumstances.)

    “American English has been so bleached out and reduced to the lowest common denominator; so much meaning has been lost, so many concepts made word-homeless.”

    I don’t think this has been entirely accidental/unintended. Take away the words, and you take away the ideas that the words express. I HATE this current trend for nerfing the language and insisting on the smallest words, even if they’re not the right words, so as not to offend someone who thinks being educated is immoral. *sigh*

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Ahahaha! Seems like we are neurosisters in more ways than one! I’m a self-confessed pedant, and I don’t try to hide it. “concerned with accuracy and precision” – oh yes. That’s why I talk slowly, because I’m always searching for exactly the right word. “ostentatious and arrogant show of learning” – I hope not. I don’t do it to show off, it’s just my way.
    By the way, I dream of visiting Japan one of these days, but I think I will learn some Japanese first. So far I only know the Japanese words for “Japan”, “father”, “mother”, “grandmother” and “cat bus” 🙂
    I’m also interested in ancient Rome, but not so much ancient Egypt or Greece.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Oh, I also meant to comment on this post: there’s an Irish standup comedian I adore called Ed Byrne. His first recorded show (that I know of) was actually called Pedantic and Whimsical. But in a later show he does a bit about how being so picky robs him of joy, as illustrated using Back to the Future, and this post made me think quite a lot of that. I actually found the clip on YouTube, so check it out if you’re so inclined!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You bet! I had to go through BitTorrent to get his full shows; I think Amazon might sell one of his shows in MP3 format. Otherwise, he’s got a bunch of stuff up on YouTube, and he’s pals with another comic named Dara O’Briain I also recommend.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Excellent!! 😁. (FunFact for MP3s – are you familiar with SoulSeek? 😉. It’s a total blast! I’ve been using it since 2002, but they keep making (good) updates even today 💪🏼.). Thank you bunches for the other recommendations too! Definitely going to go check them out 💖💚

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I hadn’t heard of SoulSeek, but I’ve also gotten busted a couple times already for filesharing (I don’t think I’d configured my VPN correctly), so I’m really off the file-sharing train now! 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Doh!! 😳😳. I’m so sorry to hear that, my friend 💐💐. (In case it helps, Slsk is very discreet and configurable–people tend not to get busted unless they’re sharing super-popular stuff and the artist or record company is aggressive 😁😉). I totally understand the apprehension, though; I share *a lot*, so I had to do what is known as sharing with my buddy list only. Not exactly the purest sharing vibe, but it could’ve otherwise added up to Hard Time if someone wanted to make an example out of me lol 😉💖💖

            Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s