“Yes, I am categorically certain that it is unequivocally incontrovertible that I recurrently employ gargantuan and multifarious terminology throughout the progression of otherwise ingenuous assertions with the intention of facilitating the manifestation of the opinion that I am of extraordinary and superior astuteness.”

Is my intelligence showing?

I like to use the above sentence I came across while reading about reading. Does it make you want to pull your hair out? I know I am not the only one that has fallen prey to the ploy of big words. There is a way certain people say things, leaving us thinking of how much of intellectuals they must be! He is so smart. Have you seen the way he tweets? Have you read his blog? Do you see the words he uses in there? Such big words! Such a smart person!

I do know that there is a very high relationship between language and intelligence. I however do not know which way to look at it: You are intelligent because you have an excellent command of language or you have an excellent command of language because you are intelligent. The chicken or the egg?

I cannot also be the only one that sees the pressure on the twitter timeline or facebook updates, or even blogs – an attempt by the social media masses to put up a smart act via language use. Here, domicile becomes home and ‘lascivious’ is highly preferred. It is all about making the people reading feel like they are titrating language in a science laboratory. But you know what they say? You can fake an orgasm, but you cannot fake smart. Smart does not come out in a calculated whimper.

Let us make this clear first. The reason why we say things is because we want to communicate. We don’t do it because we want to sound or seem smart. For there to be communication, the message should be coded in a way that even the communicator understands what exactly they are saying and the target audience as well. So what need is there if we have to use Thesaurus while writing or tweeting? What communication is there if we are pushing the reader further away from the message?

I understand that sometimes, there is the element of aesthetics in language. Even our faces do love some make-up sometimes. You want your sentences and your tweets to appear beautiful. But there is this other desire, this desire to use a word where an easy one would have been just okay. Sometimes, especially when Thesaurus is in use, a synonym leaves a sentence meaningless. Some of these words are so awkwardly placed that the sentence itself screams Awkwaaaarrd! A careful reader or listener will also read in between the lines, and in between these lines is a cry for help, a cry of a person who is trying so hard to overcompensate for lack of vocabulary by using big words.

Sometimes, in your pursuit of these big words, you end up sounding like a schooled idiot. A difficult word, even when well fitted in the sentence, will also make you sound pernickety. See what I mean?