A weak collocation: compulsory sociability

December 6, 2006 at 5:21 pm | Posted in Language | Leave a comment

According to Google Compulsory Sociability is a weak collocation, i.e. “sociability” is not very likely to appear next to “compulsory”. Only 5 occurences to be found in the whole world wide web.

To my surprise, Spontaneous Sociability is a much stronger collocation (11,500 instances), stronger even than obsessive compulsory disorder (353 to day). I quote from a (completely arbitrary, but mentioning my search term) bookreview:

The countries studied are divided into two categories: low-trust and high-trust societies. While tightly knit family bonds characterize the former category, more formal concepts such as the law, contracts, reciprocity, and moral obligation characterize the latter. […] What primarily differentiates the two categories, according to the sociologist, James Coleman, is their endowment of “social capital” transmitted through religion, tradition, or historical habit (10). Its most important subset is “spontaneous sociability,” the degree to which their communities share values in order to subordinate individual interests to those of the larger group.

Today, I did however not subordinate my individual interests to those of a larger group. The Krampus, Austria’s version of Saint Nicholas’ companion paid his obligatory visit to all departments. His arrival was heralded by the ringing of a bell – I was on the loo when I heard it, and stayed there until the sound had passed me.

Otherwise I would have been forced to read out a poem or sing a song or engage in some other type of public humiliation just to get some peanuts. I would like to think that it’s _nice_ that this one colleague of mine offers himself up to doing this gig every year (he gets to drink a shot with every one willing to when playing Krampus), but I personally prefer not to pretend this was one big Disney park.

So I sneaked into my office and locked the door behind me, making double sure they wouldn’t catch me 🙂 Tomorrow I am going to boycott the company’s Christmas party (no one of our department is coming anyway, instead I’ll have a little poker session at my place with two colleagues and the nephew of one of these colleagues). Down with compulsory sociability!

Hey, I’ve found out that Dornbirn looks much nicer in the dark:


And F***ing Vorarlberg is becoming the most popular tag on my blog. Does this mean I should submit my blog to the Vorarlblog, the blogosphere of Vorarlberg? No way (although I know and like the guy who is maintaining it) – I think it’d be wiser to consider dissing Vorarlberg a private hobby 🙂

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