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Words-terms are important and not important

The paradox of "pay attention to the words and don't pay attention to the words" / "terms are important and not important" arises when, on the one hand, we recognize that our primary way of obtaining information about the world is to listen to or read someone's not very formal and strict speech, study some formal models (but these formal models are also described in words). If you don't know the terms, you won't understand what you are being told. On the other hand, words are not important, terms are nothing - we are interested in the concepts they represent! And being fascinated by chains of letters on paper or chains of phonemes in oral speech (that is, being fascinated by signs-terms) is not possible: they mean different things to different people. For example, a traditional problem in the administration of organizations (finance, personnel, and other services with a predominance of accounting and state accounting, is further explained in the course "Systems Management", in educational organizations these are deans, more details in the course "Personal Engineering") - this is the designation of completely different objects by the same term. For example:

  • "Business trip" for the sending employee's manager is "to do business remotely." It includes some business trip, as well as doing something that cannot be done without a trip.
  • "Business trip" for the dispatched employee is "a business trip." Most likely, he considers the business from this trip just work, but the trip itself (transport, hotels, non-home food and everything related to them) - this is the "business trip."
  • "Business trip" for the accounting department is "the reporting part of a business trip", that is, only those transport, hotels, food that will be paid for and must be somehow confirmed.

If "business trip" is being discussed, the same term will denote three different objects, confusion and disputes are inevitable! It seems that such "three different objects", denoted by one word-term, exist for most situations in which employees and their managers have to interact with the administration. And that is why it is so difficult to discuss issues with financial, personnel, and other administrative services: everyone talks about different things, using the same word.

We use words-terms in life in two ways:

  • They give a clue as to in what role a person is currently speaking in a role-playing game of a certain activity/cultural role. If someone says "balance," "profit and loss statement," "cash gap," then we guess that we are dealing with a financial specialist, accountant, or economist. And then we must be careful in choosing words-terms related to finance: in this subject area, "costs," "expenses," and "expenditures" mean different things (you should know this from a managerial perspective)! But you are warned, you have already guessed that the conversation is with a person-in-role, and you will be careful not to confuse these words. So, the term here is used among other words-terms as a marker of which discipline/theory/method is being discussed, what concepts are used in the conversation, as concepts are rarely used in isolation! You need to accept and consider that the people around you speak not so much in foreign languages, but when they are in some activity/cultural/professional/project roles, they use tricky dialects with tricky meanings of seemingly familiar words (as in the case of "business trip", you need to be attentive). It is a myth that the same concepts (places in the space of meanings) hide under the words of a natural language (even if they are words-terms) in the speech of different people in different roles. This is especially true when it comes to translations into Russian! Ask the interlocutor to understand how he uses some suspicious term in terms of its meaning in his professional dialect - let him give some examples of situations where he will need to use this word (do not ask for a definition! This is useless, and often harmful). Remember that interlocutors do not necessarily use terms in the meanings you are accustomed to - and when you tell them these terms, they will not understand you as expected, and when they tell you these terms, you will not understand them as they expect. Terms are important! Choose your words carefully when you speak! Think about what terms mean when you hear them from interlocutors!
  • When it becomes clear what activity role the interlocutor is playing, you can restore his concept/concept by the term. We purposefully use words as terms to understand or express - already knowing, using other mentioned words-terms, in the concepts of which discipline to look for this concept. Understanding a term when listening/perceiving and reading, as well as using a term in speech or in writing when expressing the designated concept strongly depends on what activity role your interlocutor is currently playing - that is, about the concept, you can judge by considering this role and the method used by this role. If the topic is about "balance," then you should first understand from other words-terms in the speech that the topic is not about the balance of administrative forces in the company management (common use of the word, hardly there was any "theory/discipline" here), not about the balance of supply and demand (role of an economist, term from the field of economics), but about the balance sheet (a term from the field of accounting). And further, you should speak with this person (while he is in the role you identified), using his dialect. Continue to speak his language. Teaching the performer of a role to the dialect you prefer for discussing your areas of interest should not be done, and it is harmful: you will destroy the language where the performer has the most intuition about his subject area - if he has this intuition. If a random person plays an activity role (or a non-tuned AI), then he lacks a clear professional area of interest, he does not know the important characteristics of the system and preferences in them, has not learned the "role", does not know the words from the role, does not master the professional dialect, does not have intuition, and if it exists, it is erroneous, etc. - then either change the performer of the role to another performer, or teach him any dialect you want, feed him your favorite words for some concepts. Well, or stop the discussion, it will still be fruitless: if this is "a random passerby on the Internet," stop talking, leave.