General Question

flo's avatar

How do you distinguish between an unclear statement and something not clear to you/some?

Asked by flo (10479points) 2 months ago

How do you distinguish an unclear statement and something not clear to you or some people.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

22 Answers

Muad_Dib's avatar

I am a native English speaker, and consider myself functionally fluent in conversational and technical English. If something is unclear to me, it is reasonable to assume it would be unclear to most other conversational English speakers.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I would not know what a scientist at the The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is talking about. So a statement about a subject I know nothing about means I cannot distinguish between “unclear statement” and “something not clear to you or some people”

I also don’t understand Greek, Russian or Icelandic. It is what is the communication form.

dabbler's avatar

All you know, when you hear something that is not clear to you, is that it is not clear to you.

To figure out if it is unclear also for others you have to find out from them.

You, alone, cannot determine if something is inherently unclear for everyone or is just something you don’t understand.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
zenvelo's avatar

Most literate educated readers can tell if a statement is inherently unclear, because the statement concludes in contradiction to its own premise, or uses fallacious logic to arrive at a conclusion.

Whether or not a concept or statement can be understood by others is dependent on the level of education needed to understand the premise and evaluate the conclusion.

LostInParadise's avatar

If the statements do not involve a particular field of expertise then most people can tell if a statement follows from what went before. If someone is talking in some area with which I am unfamiliar then I may not be able to determine if the conclusion reached follows from what preceded, either because I am unfamiliar with the terminology or because I am lacking expertise. The person could possibly be talking complete nonsense without me knowing. In most conversations we try to adjust what we say to what know about the knowledge of the listeners.

janbb's avatar

If someone asks a question for clarification, I would assume that the statement is unclear as presented. It’s not rocket science – which is unclear to most folk.

flutherother's avatar

Most statements are clear to me. When I find one that isn’t I call it an unclear statement.

Dutchess_III's avatar

To me it doesn’t matter. If it’s not clear to me I ask for clarification.
But I sure understand why some hesitate. Some one may roll their eyes as if to say “I’m so smart and you’re so dumb.”
I don’t care about that either.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Zaku's avatar

I think often a statement will be clear to some people but unclear to others. Context, wording, connotations, mindsets, language nuances, assumptions, etc etc etc.

And then there are statements which are fairly objectively unclear to one degree or another. Causes such as mistakes, incompleteness, incoherence, mumbling, lunacy, idiocy, illogic, etc.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I find it gratifying when I’m in a meeting or lecture and I say, “Wait…what does XYZ mean, exactly?” And half the class goes “Yeah. I was confused too!” But I guess they didn’t want to say something. That’s sad to me. But there are just too many people ready to jump on others and act like they must be dumb to not already know XYZ….without considering that there was a time that they didn’t know XYZ, until someone taught them.
I sometimes get that here when I ask technical questions. :( :( :(

flo's avatar

Btw, this is not about languages we don’t speak/we hardly speak, or fields of expertise we don’t have. This is about the stumped party in a debate saying:
“Your question/statement is not clear”

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, that means your question or statement was not clear. That means you need to rephrase it.

Kardamom's avatar

On Fluther, if a statement or question is not written so that it makes sense, then it is unclear, and I will ask for clarification, and will be specific with what I need to know to have it make sense.

Some people get angry, or go silent when asked for clarification, and that makes no sense to me.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Me either @Kardamom, but it’s true. I love the sarcasam they sometimes preface it with, “What is so hard to understand [you idiot] <<unspoken.

flo's avatar

1) This is not about Fluther necessarily. There’s no mention of Fluther, Q&A sites or face to face conversations, so it means anywhere.
2) If other people answered the question/added to the statement (whether in a Q&A site or face to face conversations) which allowed the conversation to advance, then the question or statement is clear.

So, key terms: unclear to some, and stumped

Dutchess_III's avatar

No one said the question was about Fluther. I just commented that we get that dismissive stuff here, as well.

Yes, things can be clear to some people and not to others. And?

Kardamom's avatar

Face to face I might say WTF?

flo's avatar

@dabbler and @Zaku right on the money.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think often a statement will be clear to some people but unclear to others. All you know, when you hear something that is not clear to you, is that it is not clear to you.

inthenameofxo's avatar

The unclear statement would actually be missing major parts of the statement itself, while the person who doesn’t understand clearly either is either confused from lack of information or because they are aligning what they hear to their general perspective.

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