When we get caught up in semantics


Salleh Said Keruak

It appears that some people would rather spend precious time debating semantics rather than focus on the more crucial issue of development and improving services. And because of that some have taken issue with my use of the word ‘prefer’.

Basically, semantics is the branch of linguistics and logic concerning the meaning of words. The two main areas are logical semantics — concerned with matters such as sense, reference, presupposition and implication — and lexical semantics — concerned with the analysis of word meanings and relations between them.

When I said 71% of subscribers ‘prefer’ the entry-level package for fixed broadband offered by Telekom Malaysia, which starts at 386 kbps, I was not using the word ‘prefer’ in the context of liking. I was referring to statistics where 71% subscribers choose the lower package over the others. And statistics do not lie.

Cost is certainly the main consideration here and Malaysians put cost as the prime consideration when choosing any service. If not then 71% would not be subscribing to this service. Therefore ‘prefer’ does not mean the liking of a lower Internet speed but about putting cost as the preference to speed.