What U Said?
Welcome to a new week! Are you ready? Are you prepared? Are you still waking up? We have been burning the candle at both ends for the last week and we can safely say we are pooped. This is our 8th straight day blogging and there seems to be no end in sight. Why do we do it? Simple, we do it because we’re nuts, bonkers, loco, batty and all things insane. We also do it because we love to write. It’s all about the words for us.
Lee says: Did you know that there are 6913 spoken languages in the world today? That is amazing; 6913 ways to say water or baby. Do you think those languages have different ways of saying love like we do? We can say enamored when we are in love which is just a hairsbreadth away from saying enamorado which is Spanish for ‘in love’. Language is a fascinating thing and those people who command it are truly gifted.
In our world, we put little energy in choosing the right word and yet they come to us when we need them. The use of one word over another occurs in an instant as certain neurons fire and the information is communicated. However, spoken language is only one part of the equation. We can use all the right words and place them in an order to have the most impact but this means very little if the listener has poor receptive language.
As writers and pseudo-intellectuals, we tend to use ‘big’ words since they more aptly describe or communicate what we want to say. Many a time we have been told to ‘dumb things down’ so that people could understand us. We have both worked in places where our expansive vocabulary separates us from the crowd. We are seen as elitists because we don’t speak like everyone.
For example, I worked in a place years ago where I provided support in the form of counseling to those people in physical therapy. Most of them were older individuals who tended to suffer from depression and, due to a loss of function, were really in need of some help. My co-workers were educated people, so I thought. What I found was that my language was too advanced for them. In fact, they once had me write a recommendation letter for one of their interns. I obliged and handed the letter to the physical therapist who requested I write it. As she stood there reading it, she burst out laughing and proceeded to show the letter to her colleagues. When I asked what was so funny, they pointed out to me that ‘behooves’ was not a word. I had to produce a dictionary to stop the mocking and my judgment that these people were ever well educated went out the window.
It’s not like we drop ‘thous’ and ‘hithertos’ on people. We’re talking using the same words you would read or hear from more educated people. Yet you drop one ‘f’ bomb and all of a sudden you become common or, even worse, beneath the same Neanderthals that didn’t know what ‘behooves’ meant. ‘Fuck’ is an incredible word and I use it to pepper my communication. I also use this word to accentuate and punctuate what I say.
Language is a gift that is taken for granted. Nobody knows that more than a parent waiting for their child to get old enough to tell you what they want or why they are crying. Language is what unites and divides people and I for one thank God I can work it to my advantage. Kind of like putting a little English on the ball so you don’t scratch. People I’m still speaking in English, don’t freak out.
Paul says: With the amount of times that I got bet up as a youth because of my command of language, I better be good at it. In truth, if I had not been bitten by the science bug at a young age, I would have been a rhetorician. I am fascinated by the use of language. So, that being said, language is …ummm…cool and…ummm…like…ummm…
OK, language only works when you have something to say.