Big Rowan Ackison (greensh) wrote,
Big Rowan Ackison

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Out of Context

I had an interesting experience this week, one involving the context of words. I am involved with a database design/programming project for the environmental monitoring at work. The project is ambitious, pushing me to new places. So, we're having a meeting and the consultant who is going to validate the software talks about freezing cells. I'm in the meeting with a lady from the Microbiology department. I assume the consultant is talking about part of the work flow in Microbiology. The microbiology person thinks that the consultant is talking about computers. Why?

The answer to that question is one of context. The terminology of "freezing cells" did not click into either of our jargons, so each person thought the term belonged to the other. It turns out that the consultant was talking computers, and was trying to say that the data entry location was locked. His terminology was out of context for both the computer geek (myself) and the microbiology technician. In an amusing moment we switched roles, or so it seemed we did, but really we just came to the conclusion that the consultant was not talking about something in our realm of experience. Very strange but probably all too common.
Tags: words

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