Thursday, August 16, 2012

Language and Compartmentalisation

After a brief exchange of texts with someone this morning, finalising some arrangements, I received a follow-on text:

Ps lukaku I think is a hood loan signing for you

It took me a moment. It changed the subject from faith to football. It failed to unpredict the word 'good' which became 'hood'. It identified me with my football club - so 'you' is not me but West Bromwich Albion. The absence of an upper-case 'L' made it harder to spot lukaku immediately as footballer Romelu Lukaku, who signed for my correspondent's favoured club Chelsea last year but hardly ever got picked and has now agreed to join the Baggies on a season's loan.

A bit like seing someone in the supermarket who lives in a different town, compartmentalisation aids recognition on many occasions but hinders it for a few. I would have had no trouble with the text if we hadn't been talking about a Sunday church service.

But a moment to applaud the human brain's capacity for unravelling this gumph. Be it teenage invented speak:

Avehay an oodegay ayeday

Or cockney rhyming slang:

The bread-knife's gone up the apples

They won't fool us for long.

Sprilliant init?

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