Establishing the etymological origin of the word laconic that concerns us now, leads us to go, symbolically speaking, to Greek. And it comes from “lakonikos” which was the name used in Ancient Greece to refer to all that person who was a native of Laconia.
Laconic or laconium it’s a adjective that refers to who is native of Laconia, a nation of the Ancient Greece. The most important city in this region, which today is a Greek peripheral unit, was Sparta.
Hence derives the notion of laconic, which is linked to something concise, brief or compendious. Someone laconic, therefore, writes or speaks that way.
Spartan educators are said to require students to speak little. Another anecdote indicates that, when the region’s besiegers sent a messenger to warn the settlers that, if their side won the war, they would be slaves forever, the Laconia commander he barely answered: “If they win …”
Since then, the laconic has been associated with concise expression that includes the right words. The laconism (quality of laconic) appears in various areas, either for functional reasons (such as among the military) or philosophical (minimalism).
Precisely, taking as a starting point that brevity and conciseness in the language, we would have to emphasize that there are many writers who have become perfect examples of what it is to be a laconic author.
Many are the names of feathers of all times and places that are considered references of this type of writing. However, among the most significant are those of the American Ernest Hemingway, known for works such as “Adiós a las armas” (1918) or “For whom the bell tolls” (1940), and the Argentine Antonio Di Benedetto, who made such important novels as “Sombras, nada más” (1985) and “El silenciero” (1964).
Another Argentine writer of great international value is also considered by many to be a laconic author. We are referring to Jorge Luis Borges, a fundamental cultural figure of the 20th century, who created such significant works as “Universal History of Infamy” (1936) or “The Memory of Shakespeare” (1983).
Likewise, within the world of cinema and acting, in general, it is considered that there are actors who are perfect examples of laconic professionals. This would be the case, for example, of Gary Cooper, a regular figure in westerns such as, for example, in the Oscar-winning “Alone in the face of danger” (1952).
In order to better understand this last meaning of laconic, we can take the example of two soccer coaches whose teams are about to meet in a match. Both are asked what their team must do to beat the rival. One of the coaches states: “The key is to control the middle of the field to prevent its creators from being able to move freely: if we recover the ball in that area, we have options to attack from the sides with our wings or to kick from medium distance”. The other coach, laconic, responds: “To win, we have to score at least one more goal than the rival”.