Fort Collins Conservation District

Ron Neher

What Did You Mean What You Said

By: Ron Neher, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Retired

We all encounter on occasion, - and sometimes more often, - people saying things we do not understand. I mean, - they know what they are talking about, - what’s your problem?

Various terminology, phrases, idioms, and other personal thoughts are voiced all the time. You will find these in various careers, vocations, and all other sorts of daily life where slang becomes the norm, - not the exception. People will say things they are used to saying without thought of their audience’s knowledge of their personal glossary.

Each of us come upon situations such as this in our own personal daily life especially where we enter a new occupation or start a new career. For instance, when I worked in the San Luis Valley of Colorado in the mid 1980’s, I was confronted with agronomic practices quite different than other places. For instance, when I was in Saguache County I asked a farmer what crops he was growing. His response was somewhat of a slang answer of SangreM and Moravian III. Those answers meant nothing to me with me not being from that area. Later, I remembered talking to a farmer in Otis, Colorado who said he grew Hershey. Think about it, - me from another state and not from this area, - and a guy in Otis tells him he grows Hershey. With his farm not looking like a chocolate factory, I had to ask some further questions much like I did with the farmers in the San Luis Valley.

So as I asked each local farmer what those terms meant I learned something new. (Sangre is a variety of red potato, Moravian III is a variety of brewing barley, and Hershey is a variety of millet.) There is one thing I need to point out here, - you, whoever you are, are not the smartest person in the world and do not know everything. So it is alright to ask questions when you do not know something. Questions are a good thing. That is probably the one thing a teacher wants his/her students to do more is ask questions.

With all this said, it is also nice to ask yourself the question when talking to someone, - do they really understand what I am talking about. Often times in our daily conversation we get caught up in our own world of terminology and forget the mind set of who we are talking to.

Sometimes a person will get all deep in technical jargon just to impress someone. Other times they don’t realize their conversation needs to be more elementary based and not of a graduate level where they might not even know what they are talking about. Phrases and such also leave questions as to what one is really talking about or trying to point out.

With all said and done, the world of conversation will go on with confusion as well as understanding all part of daily conversational communication. Some of the things one hears will be understood and other things will be vague. How many questions do you want to ask to totally understand, - or do you really want to hear about it anyway? Sometimes it might be just as well to just move on without asking questions.