What a funny name for a blog post. Before my main thesis of the post, I want to tell a story of text messages. This is just to motivate.
My Dad frequently sends cryptic text messages that make no sense unless you are aware of the context. My family’s most frequent response to his texts the first go-around is “Huh?” So, this Saturday, when I was at Rockwood Place watching the Huskers football game, I got a text message from Dad:
Naturally, I responded “I don’t know what you are asking…” (which is basically a long-winded “huh?”) His next message: “Is your location=their ball carrier?”
Well, #20 on Minnesota has a surname of Kirkwood, which is one of two bars that I visit in Chicago in order to watch the Nebraska football games. But, since I was at Rockwood Place, I responded to Dad, “Nope, I am on Humann’s street.” (Humann Elementary School is at 6720 Rockwood Lane in Lincoln.)
The reason I really wanted to write this post was more how it is used in conversations. It has been on my Draft List for over a year! When listening to other people, it seems customary to give gestures and/or meaningless phrases to show them that you are listening (or at least pretending to listen). This may involve nodding the head, saying “Ah,” “OK,” “I see,” “I understand,” “I get it,” and similar things. Of course, some of these may not be very honest!
However, the former one that I mentioned in that list, “Ah!” will often have the person repeat what they just said. I then have to correct them, saying, “I heard you. I said AH, not HUH.”
Hopefully this never comes off as offensive! Though I may sometimes be hard to understand when speaking, I feel that I usually enunciate words clearly. So, my question is, How do people hear “AH!” as “HUH?” Might it be the fact that both end with the “h” as well as an open mouth? (In that case, are people lip-reading rather than listening?
It may also be that I often mishear others and ask them to repeat themselves, particularly when I am at sporting events or when there are other noises around. Though I like to try and engage myself in a conversation, if my attention is split, the attention is not split 50-50, but instead more like 80-20. At a sporting event, I try to focus on the game rather than any side conversations.
What should I do? Eliminate “huh” from my vocabulary? Use “AHA” instead of “AH” when nodding agreement? Try to use actual words rather than morphemes-disguised-as-words?
Today is the three-hundred and twenty-ninth day of M.M.X.I.V. That makes forty-seven weeks.