Reading and Context

It is terribly easy to take things out of context – but it seems moreso with written text. While written text seems like it should be more objective, it’s not really. The text is there, on the page – but that’s about the only objective thing about it. It must be read – which involves a host of things that shape how one interprets the text (presuppositions, linguistics, context of the reader, etc, etc). It is sometimes astounding to me that anything can be communicated at all with language, written or spoken.


2 thoughts on “Reading and Context

  1. Ryan June 13, 2012 / 4:49 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. Much of my personal experience is with second language learners or as a language learner myself, in which case would-be interlocutors face even more challenges like unknown vocabulary words, unfamiliar discourse conventions, limited syntax-parsing capabilities, and so on. And yet, sometimes through what seems like sheer force of will, we *are* able to get more across than we don’t, more times than not. There must be some underlying human drive to communicate that keeps us going despite the odds and occasional failures.


  2. whitefrozen June 14, 2012 / 3:32 pm

    Indeed. It must be one heck of a drive, though.


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