Thursday, June 1, 2017


Language - the spin starts here. In a world where up means down, black is white and spin is massive, we are expected to understand things being communicated to us. The following definition seems to fit - "the method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way". There are some 6500 spoken languages, many with as few as 1000 speakers.  Then there are other languages - those used to program  computers for example. The world of languages is large and diverse.

Various areas may speak the same language - lets use English as an example. Britain, Scotland, Canada, the USA, Ireland, Australia an New Zealand all speak English but there are substantial differences in how the language is spoken in each country.  And consider the different  dialects available in each country.

Once, years ago, I was driving across the country whilst moving from Northern California to Connecticut. I needed  to make a gas stop in West Virginia. I grabbed my Diners Club card and asked the attendant if they accepted Diners Club at the station. He replied we take Donners Club. I was baffled - was this a local card? I checked the door and saw the Diner Club sticker and held my card up to the guy and said "Diners?" - He replied yep - Donners.  I quickly filled my tank and headed off to the next stop - my old friend Stuart's place in New Jersey. Luckily Stu and I had been friends since we were 11 or so and he spent  summers visiting his cousins - our neighbors. So I could speak fluent  Joisey and Stu was fluent in Ca hippy speak. After Stuart's place the next stop was our future home - New England (Rocky Hill, Connecticut). Of course each state in New England has a different dialect.

One of the best things associated with being an avid reader is the discovery of a real wordsmith - an author who can really evoke emotions and feelings in his/her work. Most of my regular readers know I am a huge mystery buff and find the observations on the human condition in that genre equally as valid if not more so than so-called real literature. I have read very few authors as adept and skillful as Dana Stabenow in her Kate Shugak mystery series set in Alaska. Playwrites and screenwriters can see the success or failure of their scripts rise nd fall on their use of language.

Spoken language is even more interesting to me. A speaker's voice can  set a tone almost immediately.

Listen to the difference in the voice of the actor who played Darth Vader (David Prowse)  and the actor who\voiced Darth Vader (James Earl Jones).

In politics often the person who can best manipulate language and put the best spin on a topic and even win the election - against all odds. Just ask POTUS 45.

Verbal language skills are often showcased in debate. Skilled debaters are fun to watch. They employ a number of tactics to control their topic. I was good at increasing the volume of my words and could intimidate many of the other team. In one class I apologized for the tactics at the end of the quarter, Several classmates were livid and claimed the entire class a waste. The professor asked them how it was a waste of time when in every debate he consciously put me on the side of the topic he knew I opposed in real life yet my team constantly one. The nature of the exercise dawned on them and all was well. Listen to the late William F. Buckley in debate some time. Just enter his name in the YouTube search window and pick one.

And last but not least there is the language of music. Music has been called the universal language. There is a song for every emotion. Here are a few examples - just click on the link to hear the song that fits the emotion (try Excited)


Effective use and understanding language can go a long  way to your leading a happy, productive life.
Our topic this week was suggested by Ramana. Check our other bloggers and see how they tackled the subject.

RamanaPravinMaria and Ashok


  1. A side bar to your thoughts . . . in today's high tech world, just proper spelling, grammar and syntax doesn't always mean successful communication. When texting it's not always evident what the mood is of the sender. I've lost count of the number if times I misunderstood what seemed to be a simple statement. Better to put down the smart phone (especially when you're in the same room with the person you're texting, which happens A LOT) speak to the person directly :-)

    1. Agreed - now of course I need to double check the post - LOL

  2. This post is unlike any thing that you have ever written. It is almost poetic and the two clips to illustrate what you wish to convey is brilliant. Yes, indeed, language will be useful provided it is effectively used!

  3. Nonverbal aspects of language i.e. facial expression, body movements are such an integral part of verbal language -- so lacking in digital communication.

    I'm always intrigued by the music others like. I much preferred the Mellow tune to Excited, but had to hold my breath that the bow strings in either would last until conclusion! *grin*

    1. I'm partial to mellow as well, being born in Colorado and spending my first 10 years there - but those guys are really talented and fun to watch and I share your concern about their bow strings.