I woke up thinking about how strange the English language is and I had the words – bus and busy in my mind. I started wondering why a ‘y’ can change the sound of an ‘s’ as in bus to a ‘z’ as in busy and how the sound of the letter ‘y’ becomes ‘ee’ as in busy bee.

You may be starting to think that I am going stir crazy, and perhaps I am, but then in my free thinking I began pondering about how easy it is to mis-communicate in our increasingly digital age. Between ‘spell check’ and typo’s it is so easy for language to be misconstrued and if English is someone’s second language then it must be super difficult to understand the nuances of an ever evolving language when it is not communicated clearly or effectively.

Laughable but real was the very recent communication faux pas by Donald Trump regarding the injecting of disinfectant to treat Corona virus. Apparently Donald Trump said he was being sarcastic. When asked Mr Trump said “I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen.”  [1]

What did Mr Trump think would happen? Medics across the globe started warning people against injecting disinfectant after Medical Centres starting receiving calls about it’s effectiveness in treating Covid-19.

If Mr Trump was not the President of the United States, he could be deemed to be some sort of stand up comic, entertaining at every opportunity but given his influential position, the word idiot comes to mind. The Cambridge Dictionary describes the word idiot as meaning a stupid person or someone who is behaving in a stupid way. [2] I think the word idiot fits the bill but maybe not quite.

In an article by Dr Richa Dahiya of SRM University’s Department of Management Studies, he says ” Communication simply means to transfer the information or message from one individual to another or to a group.” [3]

If this is the case then Mr Trump seems very good at communicating because the things that he either says or tweets every day definitely leave an impact. However, Dr Dahiya goes on to say that “effective leadership in communication means transferring a message by keeping in mind the understanding and ability of the receiver and to make sure that the receiver will be able to find the exact meaning of the message or information passed to him. An effective leader while communicating must ensure that there would be no chance of any kind of mis-communication or misunderstandings.” [3]

According to this definition, Mr Trump is definitely not an effective communicator as a leader and today on Facebook I actually saw a post describing Donald Trump as a Cockwomble. The word Cockwomble originates from the Scottish and has been adopted as a British slang word. It means a person, usually male, prone to making outrageously stupid statements and/or in appropriate behaviour while generally having a very high opinion of their own wisdom and importance. I think that cockwomble comes closer to describing Mr Trump’s communication style than idiot.

According to British Comedian John Cleese , “President Donald Trump’s idiosyncratic policy announcements and public comments are making the lives of comedians harder than ever before. “How do you match Trump?” . [4]

Dr Dahiya argues that the utmost essential key to great leadership is communication and that it is a vital aspect to a leaders fate. If this is the case then perhaps Trump will finally trump Trump and the English language will have the last laugh.

[1] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-25/donald-trump-inject-disinfectant-coronavirus-sarcastic-covid-19/12184508

[2] https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/idiot

[3]https://www.mcgill.ca/engage/files/engage/effective_leadership_is_all_about_communicating_effectively_luthra_dahiya_2015.pdf ]

[4] https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/john-cleese-how-donald-trump-is-stealing-comedians-best-lines-1030458