Understand the Real Power of Language

Dr. Buckminster Fuller is known for stating that the most powerful tool humans have invented is language. The discipline of communication studies is really all about how language is used, and misused. The funny thing is that most communication scholars tend to ignore that power in our own lives.

The thing is, we usually take language for granted. It’s like water to the fish.

Leveraging our language allows us to realize much more of our own potential for excellence.

Think about this. If there is no word for something, it’s usually  not something you would experience, or take much note of. Those of us who dabble in languages entertain ourselves when we note that, for example, Spanish has no single word for “to procrastinate” or that English has no single word for “consentir” or that French doesn’t have a good word for “fun.”

I think the U.S. is the only country that has the verb “to super-size.”

Consentir is a cross between spoiling (as in spoiling a child) and pampering that person.

Words are the link between our minds and each other, and a huge part of how we perceive reality and what we assume is normal.

Consider the difference in a mother’s perception when her teenage son comes home from school with the news that he’s met a new girl. What will the mother think if her son describes her as “wicked hot,” or “beautiful,” or “pretty.” Same idea, slightly different meanings that carry diverse potential outcomes.

Another funny thing about language is that while other people may not listen to us, “Did you say we had a test today?” — we always listen to ourselves. So when we depreciate ourselves, even in joke, there is a part of our subconscious mind taking note of that. Our subconscious mind does not know how to take a joke and so records that neural synapse as an expression of reality.

The trick is to catch yourself saying things that you really don’t mean. It’s a matter of being mindful about the words you speak. Even if no one else hears them, you do.

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2 responses to “Understand the Real Power of Language

  1. Tailoring language to fit our individual needs begins with the first utterings of sounds from children. Julian coined the word “spurky” meaning spunky and perky. And Julian was too lazy to pronounce the name of local Mexican restaurant, “Mazatlan”, so would instead take the long road and say, “that place that has tacos that’s not Taco Bell.”

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