What did I say?

I was trying to type “That’d be right” in reply to a humorous photo our daughter had sent to me. But my iPhone spell check wasn’t having that and tried to substitute all sorts of alternatives. I practically had to beat it into submission to accept the “that’d” concatenation of “that” and “would” which I realised at that point was a particular expression I use quite frequently. Along with “what’d I say”, another favourite, meaning “what did I say”. Are these just an Aussie dialect peculiarity like, on the one hand, pluralising words such as “tinnie” for “tin” or on the other hand, shortening words like “arvo” for “afternoon” and “Aussie” for “Australian”?

My iPhone spell check is all about communication isn’t it, a standard of language to enable us to communicate with other humans. Humans that speak the same language that is. In Papua New Guinea where I spent a couple of years, there are over 800 living languages spoken. Languages, not dialects of which there would be even more. The most accepted language is called “tok pisin” which is better known as “pidgin english”, an English-based creole language mixed with the most common words and phrases from the various other languages accepted across the country.  The most frequently used word from tok pisin would be I think “wantok”, literally “one who talks the same talk” or someone who comes from the same area of the country and therefore speaks the same language. It can also be used as the honorific for a friend who doesn’t necessarily speak the same language. For any white person in this foreign land it was the ultimate compliment to be called a wantok by a local person.  So my iPhone is just trying to help me be understood by my wantoks, namely other English-speaking people.

Now why do I want to be understood? Why do I even want to communicate with other people? It is just a basic human need isn’t it, to be understood by other humans? It is a trait we all share to feel connected, to be seen, to be recognised as a fellow human sharing the same joys and sorrows, dreams and regrets. It is so easy to do in this day of worldwide internet connections. It is certainly something that motivates all of us bloggers churning out word after word about our condition or what interests us or just to put some words, any words, down for any other human to pick up and connect with.   

“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.” 
― John Lennon

I am sure there are some of us who like to think they don’t need anybody, that they want to live a life of isolation from other humans. I believe this denial of the basic need to communicate points to internal issues of hurt where the solution ironically starts with talking to another caring human.  These same isolated people though usually have a dog or a cat or an animal of some sort which they absolutely dote upon. Inter-species communication is almost as valid a way of meeting this basic desire which crosses species boundaries. Humans are not alone in wanting to be loved, to be understood or to have our comforting reassurance needs met by another. We see examples everyday through social media of all manner of different animal species communicating in kind, gentle ways with other species, including humans, and don’t these examples just touch our heart strings.

My comment to my daughter was simply an expression of my connection with her but bearing a little more hidden significance because it is an ephemeral thing, this life we share. We breathe, we eat, we live, and inevitably, we die. Use as many of those precious moments available to us in life to communicate kindness, humour and love while we may.

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