Friday, August 19th, 2022 17:29:29

Principle Of Linguistic Happiness

Updated: March 21, 2015 3:32 pm

India that is Bharat

PUT your pen to paper and write readable rot. That’s all there is to journalism. At least that was what Satiricus always believed. Alas, no more. It now seems that even without his knowing it, he has been writing as per a particular principle, called the Pollyanna Hypothesis, according to which there is a universal human tendency to use positive words (E+) more frequently than negative words (E). Well, now, what do you know? When a group of scientists, ranging from linguists to mathematicians, prepared a list of 10,000 most-used words in 10 languages including English in which the words were graded on a 9-point scale where 1 was the most negative and 9 the most positive, they found that in English the word “laughter” received a score of 8.50, while the word “terrorist” got a score of 1.30. Ah, now the sweet secret is out. Now Satiricus understands that it is in accordance with the scientific principle of linguistic happiness that our English-language media never writes about “terrorists” in Kashmir but always about “militants” in Kashmir. It makes newspaper-readers happy to know that there is no “terrorism” there, only “militancy”. And if this happy feeling is not shared by unhappy thinkers it is obviously because the wretched reality is laughably irrelevant to the popular and principled use of happy words. Why else would the word “laughter” be at the top of the chart?

                Then again, Satiricus must patriotically point out that this admirable Indian practice of happily hiding terrorism under a courteous cover is being followed even in the outside world. For example, BBC’s Arabic broadcast has decided to stop using words like “terror” and “terrorism” when reporting on – well, ‒ terror attacks. The head of BBC’s Arabic division recently said the term “terrorist” was too “loaded” to describe the actions of the men who killed 12 people in the Hebdo attack in France. So how did they put it? To quote : “Two men killed 12 people in an attack on the office of a satirical magazine”. See? “That’s enough,” says BBC. “We know what that means.” Of course it does. BBC knows what it is, but would BBC like its listeners to know what it really is? That’s another matter. In fact, it goes even further and says words like “bombers”, “gunmen”, and even “militants” (exactly as in India) are preferred. Isn’t that wonderful? U. Islamic K. following in the footsteps of Darul Islamically Secular India that was Bharat.

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