COMMUNICATING WHAT ONE REALLY MEANS IS A COMPLEX PROCESS
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TT, your amusing story illustrates what happens when there is miscommunication.
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I have no idea if the following is true, or not, but I have in my file the story of an incident where miscommunication in English caused a major air crash several years ago.

Quote:
But possibly the most dire example of miscommunication
was the one where a translator at the Swiss Embassy in
Tokyo may have caused the deaths of 175,000 people.

As the Second World War was winding down the Allies
unleashed a terrible new weapon on Japan, on
Hiroshima, the Atomic Bomb. They then demanded that
Japan surrender.

Japan replied, through the Swiss,
that they could not (since their Cabinet was not in
session and only the Cabinet could make that
decision). The Swiss translator sent out the reply
saying that the Japanese WOULD not. So, to reinforce
their demands, the Allies dropped the second Atomic
Bomb on Nagasaki.


History and fiction--for example,the novel Wuthering Heights--is replete with tragedies brought about by miscommunication. And how about those reports about "weapons of mass destruction".

Interestingly, the Greek for "ill will, or hate" is 'misos'--the opposite of 'agape'. From it we probably get all our English words beginning with 'mis'.
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I like the principle: For better or for worse, people need to keep on communicating until there is little, or no doubt about what is really meant.


Edited by Revlgking (08/25/08 04:15 PM)
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