#385: The Language of Water

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I can't speak about other languages but American English is difficult for people to learn and use properly. It is more difficult when we split hairs with the words we use.

If I tell you, "That's is a good looking animal you have and you reply, "It's a dog," doesn't the answer hinder communication rather than facilitate it? Maybe we need more straight, simple talk between us

As an example, there have been numerous SP articles explaining that we can get the site's recommended eight cups of water daily from sources other than merely water. That is why I found it so humorous today in SparkPeople Cafe when I saw a question that asked, "Do you include coffee emoticon in your water tracking?" and then reading the replies.

One response compared adding watermelon as water and other things such as iceberg lettuce. What? Those are not beverages. Another said they only count water, not beverages. Huh? isn't water a beverage? emoticon

But then I read other replies that claimed that coffee is coffee and therefore it is not water. A matter of semantics, isn't it? Is iced or hot tea not a glass or cup of water because it is called tea? How about hot chocolate -- a cup of hot water with flavoring added? If you add a sweetner or sugar to a glass of water and maybe squeeze a lemon into the water, does that mean it is not still a glass of water because we now call it lemonade?

Laws are built around what was written or said and what was actually meant -- the spirit versus the intent. Our courts are full of verbal and written differences of opinions.

What do you think we can do to make communicating with someone else easier? emoticon

Or, is the language of water an inherent problem? emoticon
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    The english language is one of the most difficult ones to learn as a second language due to all of the different nuances and intentions. So many words can mean different things if spelled slightly differently yet pronounced exactly the same...there, their, they're and the difference between to and too which took me until Jr. college to learn. Speaking it and understanding it itself is a huge feat. Knowing all the parts of speech and how to use them correctly is another feat entirely. I thoroughly enjoy your blogs, us irish do have the gift of gab! emoticon
    3917 days ago
    If you want to be sure you get your point across to someone you must assume they don't have your background knowledge on the subject and explain what you are talking about fully. In other words get to the whys as in why you don't count this or that as water if you want the person to understand you and have effective communications.

    If your the person doing the listening you must be prepared to ask a lot of question because must people talk to you like your suppose to already understand a subject. So if you want effective communications and you are the listener then ask question till you fully understand what they are trying to convey.

    As for the subject that we should drink 8 glasses of water a day - many don't count caffeine drinks because of their diuretic affect and they can dehydrate you. So if your purpose is to hydrate yourself you should count only water. There is nothing wrong with adding lemon to the water but I think pure Juice should be a bonus because it is not all water . Fruit or vegetables have a lot of water in them -some more than others so depending on what kind you eat and how many servings would have to be took into consideration as to how many glasses of water you need . I am sure people who don't eat fruit or eat very few vegetables would need more water. Personally I aim for 6 glasses of pure water , sometimes adding a squirt of lemon, but on days I don't eat a lot of fruit and vegetables I try to drink more. Never do I count pop, tea, coffee or hot chocolate in to the equation of fulfilling my water goals for the day.
    3917 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5178852
    Language seems more direct and simple if people are face-to-face but when using the phone or email... the problems begin.

    I like the saying, "I know you think you thought I said one thing, but I think you thought I said something completely different." Say that 3 times quickly.

    I don't count caffeinated beverages in my water count.
    3917 days ago
    The semantics over what is "water" is fun to read, but can't this be an example of what we DO and THINK every day and what we struggle with every day: "I don't want to drink "just" water, so I'll just count my soda or coffee or hot chocolate" or "I don't feel like measuring out my food, but I'm sure that XX is the amount of food that I just ate."
    Our underlying human nature infiltrates every area of life and doesn't that include what we consider a "free" fluid or a healthy portion of food? emoticon Turning the tables on the communication and language theme, partly because it could reflect our intent instead of specificity of language.
    Great blog, Lou, as always! Vikki
    3918 days ago
    I drink lots of fluid but I usually add a drop or 2 of lemon to my plain watter. I drink about 10 cups of it a day, plus at least 1 or 2 glasses of ice tea and always one coffee in the mornings.
    3918 days ago
    Language is a marvelous thing; it always amazes me how people use their words. And, it is a bit challenging to keep up with all the changes in slang and street talk. One of my tenants was in my office yesterday, on a very important phone call. In her attempt to communicate that she had given the wrong information to the person on the other end of the line, she said, "Oh snap my bad!" I just couldn't help but laughh!

    Thanks for the thought-provoking blog!
    3918 days ago
    Oh, boy, Lou, I am a very SIMPLE one! I make sure I get 8 cups of water before the day is finished, and if I get to have a diet coke or an iced tea in addition, well, that's great! It's just what works for me! emoticon
    3918 days ago
    I love language, but communication is incredibly difficult. Considering all the factors that enter in, it's amazing that we ever understand each other at all. Even if we speak and write precisely and with excellent grammar, we still may be misunderstood or misinterpreted, due to the fact that everyone sees the world through different filters and from different frames of reference. The best we can hope for is to mean what we say and say what we mean, and then it's always a good idea to verify that the listener heard what we meant to say!
    3918 days ago
  • PIGLET1979
    I'm self-admittedly a little obsessive about semantics. I view language as an art, rather than a simple tool with a singular function of transmitting information. Of course, word-art has its time and place; and scientific discussion probably qualifies for neither. The problem inherent in attempting to identify or classify, "effective," communication is making the false assumption that a heterogeneous audience exists. People simply do not operate on a standardized mode. It would be nice to offer a complimentary translation service for this sort of thing.
    3918 days ago
    Well, I tend to agree with you Lou! Doesn't it start out as water?? I think it's a no brainer! It just now has a new name, coffee. tea, or lemonade!
    3918 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/29/2010 9:56:21 PM
    I am married to an Irishman who can get WAY more than his money's worth out of ordinary words by using other uses for the words I intend. It leaves me stymied, dumbfounded, amused, and sometimes a bit irritated, but he is ALWAYS clever and creative. I'm am SO showing him your blog. LOL Gotta love that Irish humor!!
    3918 days ago
  • TEDYBEAR2838
    I think human communications will always have their drawbacks.

    I am of the opinion if the cup is full of water and you put something into it, like coffee, tea, lemons, etc. it's still a cup of water and I count it.

    I have read that if you drink caffeine, such as in coffee, you need more water because it makes you use the bathroom more often.

    SO, it's a crap shoot at best and each has to go with his own conscience.

    Happy emoticon
    3918 days ago
    I think when choosing what beverage qualifies as water, the issue is whether there are any added calories, fat, sugar, etc. Coffee, black, has 2 calories and caffeine, even the decaf still has a bit. Caffeine, of course, is a diuretic which is the antithesis of what you want to accomplish by drinking water.

    Hot chocolate, vitamin added beverages - even if they are calorie free, are they carb free too? They have actual nutritional value.

    Anyway, I think the whole point of drinking water is that it is nothing but liquid replacement, refreshment, 0 calorie, nutrition-free, plain liquid. Because water plays such a vital role in and of itself without added anything, I think we should use that as the bar.

    lol, ok, dissertation on water theory finished.

    As for language, I love language. I appreciate words and I like writing/reading specifically what is meant. I am also a big stickler on proper English. I can't abide it when people misuse words like everyone seems to be doing with "me, myself and I" today. grrrrrrrrrr emoticon drives me crazy! lol, sorry!

    emoticon I've probably put you to sleep by now.... g'nite!
    3918 days ago
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