The Meaning of Liff

Published: Mar 05 , 2015
Author: Alan Smith


It has been said that Inuit have more than 17 different words for snow. Why should this be?

Anthropologists hold the view that the language we speak both affects and reflects our view of the world. 

The idea that Inuit have so many words for snow has given rise to the idea that they view snow very differently from people of other cultures. For example, when it snows, many see snow, but Inuit could see any version of their great and varied vocabulary. Using this thinking language is thought to impose a particular view of the world — not just for Inuit languages, but for all groups.

Over 30 years ago the wonderful Douglas Adams wrote a dictionary of words that do not exist, but in his view (and his co-author John Lloyd) should. They took much of their inspiration from place names which they then added definitions to. Their stated ambition was to actually get one of their made up words listed in the Oxford English Dictionary.

A couple of favourites of mine are:

ABERYSTWYTH (n.) - A nostalgic yearning which is in itself more pleasant than the thing being yearned for.

MARLOW (n.)- The bottom drawer in the kitchen your mother keeps her paper bags in.

This got me to thinking that we should begin to develop our negotiators dictionary of terms to recognise the process and behaviours within the negotiation arena.

BARTON IN THE BEANS (adj.) – The sinking feeling usually felt in the groin region, when you have given information that you really should have held on to.

PLUSH (n.) – The environment that should be created to engender long term successful negotiated settlements.

TITABOUTIE (n.) – The recognition that the planned strategy has failed and that the alternative ought to be deployed.

Having a way of talking about what is happening to us and recording it may be a bit of fun, but it also starts to build a common language within our peer groups and business’s which help us to think more clearly about negotiating.

And you can take that to the Shilbottle! (An area within the corporate data base that holds on to information that will have future value).

What words and definitions would you add to the negotiators dictionary?

The best received at blog@scotwork.com will win a bottle of bubbly. Editor’s decision is final. 

Alan Smith


SHARE

Alan Smith

About the author:

Alan Smith
My background is marketing and advertising. After graduating in Economics I entered the agency world to become, at 28, MD of London's largest independent below-the-line marketing provider.

Read more about Alan Smith

More posts by Alan Smith

Latest Blog:

Collaborating with the Enemy

Theresa May’s speech on Tuesday last week urging her political enemies to ‘contribute and not just criticise’ was met by a barrage of exactly the criticism she was asking them to eliminate. A Labour spokesperson said that it showed that the Conservatives had completely run out of ideas and were now reduced to begging, and the Scottish Nationalists line was that if she was serious about collaboration, particularly on Brexit, then she should have offered the SNP a seat at the Brexit negotiations, as they have been demanding for the last year.

Latest Tweet:

Scotwork UK Limited
7 Fortrose St
Glasgow
G11 5NU
United Kingdom
+44 (0) 1413573989
info@scotwork.com
Follow us
Scotwork 21092 - Training Course.png
voty2016_sign_gold.png