Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Living in an ivory tower
I was reminded yesterday just how much I use math and physics jargon in my everyday conversation. This usage falls into two categories, I suppose: words like "isomorphic" and "canonical", which are useful ways to express concepts that can't be expressed in non-jargony English without being a lot wordier, and words like "subset", which are perfectly understandable to the average person but also have perfectly good ordinary equivalents, too; the latter have just seeped into my vocabulary because I use them so often.

The reason for the title of this post, of course, is that this is perfectly normal to the people I interact with on an everyday basis. Pretty much everyone I talk to is directly involved in the academic world or recently departed from same, so they have no problem understanding what I'm saying (perhaps more obscure math words like "isomorphic" might confuse some of my acquaintances, but I've never heard a peep from any of them).

But this isn't actually normal. If I ever end up in the Real World, people will wonder why the hell I talk like that. Fortunately, I don't see this in my future any time soon.

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