Now before I start, I must draw your attention to one of my classmate’s blog posts which can be found here: https://davidsresearchblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/16/week-3/
This blog post, while great in principle, has one thing that I could not disagree more with and for that, we must look at an excerpt from his blog. Now before I hear you whining about going and reading the whole thing (cause I know
most some of you didn’t) I have copied the important bit here for you.
Now, lets change the metaphor – an argument is a dance. Suddenly entirely different imagery is conjured up. It takes two to tango, a dance requires collaboration between two people in order to successfully dance. A dance is inherently more positive, and the intended outcome is not one winner, one loser as the argument is war dictates, but rather that both people come out equally, having successfully cooperated and reached a compromise or resolution.
So after reading this, you are probably thinking, “Why is this an issue? he has a valid argument? what could you possibly nitpick out of this?” In short, arguments are not dances.
But first, let’s back up a bit. The English language is complex and difficult to learn (though certainly not the worst offender) at the best of times, earning a reputation for being particularly bad when it comes to repeating words with different meanings, having words that sound the same but are written differently and having some of the strangest punctuation rules. With these in mind its easy to understand why some people have difficulty learning to understand English, let alone speak, write or read it. Now don’t get me wrong, the core components of English are relatively easy, however, it’s when we get into specifics that stuff gets interesting.
So how does this relate to dancing? Well as David says in his blog “argument is a dance” is a metaphor (something which definitely falls into the more difficult of English components) and on that level, I can’t fault the sentence, it’s a totally valid metaphor, saying one thing is like another without using like or as. But this blog isn’t about whether the metaphor is valid it’s why the metaphor makes no sense.
Let’s think about if for a second, when I say to you that someone is having an argument, what is the first thing that pops into your head. I bet it was two people having a negative disagreement over something, potentially some yelling, angry faces, the whole nine yards.
But let’s change the keyword, what if I said someone was having debate or discussion. Now the same situation feels much lighter and more friendly and in the case of the debate, feels structured or planned.
In fact, we could even consider such words to have internal unwritten metaphors, which add a predetermined feeling to the word. Or if you want a more real word term, these words are called Synonyms, words that have the same definition but with different feel.
A debate, in my opinion, would have such internal metaphors as, structured and intense while discussion would have friendly and calm. Now, these may differ for you, so in this case, we can use written metaphors to define exactly what we are talking about within the words scope. I.E It was an intense debate.
And this is where I disagree with David’s metaphor, an argument has no need to be a dance because the English language already has many words with the same meaning, but with a more accurate feel for them. An argument as a dance (in my opinion) places the word well outside of its effective scope and makes for a confusing contradiction. So instead of making the English language more confusing with arguments of dance, how about we simply have a debate.
So in short, instead of making the English language more confusing with arguments of dance, how about we simply have a discussion.