Search for Things Right in Front of You!

“Have you looked for something that is right in front of you? You searched high and low to find it while the object was in an obvious place,” My friend Nadia asked.

I knew Nadia from work. Both of us are linguists, but we work in different departments. 
“Many times, Nadia, I once spent half an hour searching for my glasses, only to be told that I was wearing them,” I replied.

“But why are you asking?” I followed
“You see, today at work my fellow linguists analyzed a text focusing only on direct meaning,” Nadia said.

“What’s wrong with that?” I asked.
“They overlooked the hidden message while it is right in front of their eyes! How could they?” Nadia said with frustration. 

“Did you try to bring it to their attention, perhaps, they missed it?” I said.
“You see, they shouldn’t miss it, to begin with. Using verbal nouns in criminal statement should have been analyzed and examined,” Nadia said
“In what way?” I asked.

“Mishka, you know verbal nouns mean that the action isn’t limited to time, which different a verbal noun from a verb. The verb has a tense, past, present, or future. But a verbal noun is limited to time. It is continuous,” Nadia explained.

“You were examining a criminal content?” I asked.
“Yes, using verbal nouns means the action will keep accruing which poses a higher level of threat,” Nadia explained.
“Oftentimes, when linguists focus on direct meaning and literal translation we lose the true intent of the author,” I followed.

“How about if the text opens always with a quote from a book, don’t think that is particular quote has a specific meaning?” Nadia asked.

“Of course, Nadia, that quote includes hidden message, perhaps it includes clues to what happen next since the action is repetitive,” I said.

“That’s what I thought. But my fellow linguists were busy searching their dictionaries to get the literal meaning of the word when the author was clearly passing the message in front them while they were searching for it in their dictionaries,” Nadia said.

 “I see. Your analysis reminds of The Imitation Game, the movie that we watched together, remember?” I asked.

“Yes, of course. How can I forget? You kept talking about how handsome Benedict Cumberbatch for a month. But I see what you are saying. The Germans were passing the information in front of Allies who translated it literal, but it didn’t work,” Nadia said.

“It wasn’t until the Allies cracked the code, then they were able to use the information to their benefit,” I said.
 “It will help if you admit that Cumberbatch cracked the code handsomely,” I followed.
“Okay, Cumberbatch is handsome. I get it. Can we go back to the issue at hand?” Nadia asked.
“Alright then, let’s go back to the topic. It won’t the first time in war history when the enemy uses coded messages. Each communique has a purpose and the purpose of each statement is to pass some information regarding the next attack. Am I right?” I said

“Yes, you are. How did you know that I was talking about talking about the enemy or ISIS?” Nadia asked.

“Did you forget that I am a linguist and I specialized in forensic linguistic?” I replied.
“No. I didn’t. But I didn’t say anything regarding ISIS. Did I?” Nadia asked.
“No. You didn’t. Not directly anyways. But you talked a hidden message, a repeated action, a repeated quote from a book, relating to the movie, all of these clues gave you away, my friend,” I answered.

“You are good! You see, the code is deeply hidden under layers of sophisticated vocabularies, and high-level language,” Nadia said.

“I know. They don’t issue a statement to demonstrate their linguistic ability or to claim responsibility, everyone knows it’s them. They must be communicating with each using a language no-one else would no know, but them. Just like the Germans did in WWII,” I said.
“Exactly! Otherwise, can you tell me, why they select a particular verse out 6236 verses of the Qur’an? Unless that verse serves a communication purpose,” Nadia replied.

“I know that using verses of the Quran to pass a hidden or indirect message is a well-documented practice in the Islamic and Arab culture. Often times used to express dissatisfaction with a leader or a situation,” I explained.

“True. I believe the best and most genuine information about the enemy is the one obtained from the source itself. But that’s just me; a linguist who is obsessed with examining words,” Nadia said.
“That makes the two of us! I am obsessed with words too.” I replied


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