Words change meanings over time, some words never really mean much to some, but a whole lot to others. So what is in a word? Well, there are consonents, vowels, syntax, context, pronunciation, definition and slang definition. But depending on where you are, these concepts aren’t static. We all know about dialect and accents, and love to argue about who is right. As a Minnesotan, I am all too familiar with this conversation. In some other countries, words are spelled based on how they sound. Some people pay attention to literal meanings, others are up-to-date on slang uses and some people just don’t know many words. It’s all just part of the variety and uniqueness of each of us regarding language.
But this can be problematic. When I say I’m fine, that tells the listener nothing. It just leaves them guessing what I actually mean, and how I use the word “fine” and whether there is something deeper that I am expecting them to understanding. Talk about confusing and unnecessary! I am equally guilty of this. It’s so difficult to say what you actually mean and in language that is clear, simple and comprehensive. Words like good, bad, nice, fine, ok, etc. should just be removed from the English language. While I’m not sure of the feasibility of that or the potential impacts, it’s interesting to think about. How would our relationships change? How would our self-expression change? Would that reverberate and affect our self-esteem or ability to say what we mean to say? Would it help get rid of the deceitfulness or vagueness of language? I don’t know the answers, but I can say it would affect my life if I could improve my language usage.
The challenge this week for myself and any of you is to pay attention to speech and how you use language. Be aware that language is just a set of sounds that help describe a situation or event in a way that everyone in the certain group understands. It is not truth. Language is not definite.
So how can you speak more clearly? How can you (I) say what I’m actually intending to say? How can we take some of the suffering and confusion out of relationships?