Language is one of our most fascinating communication tools. Even besides its popular accomplices; dance, music, food and love, it stands out brilliantly.
From the tender age of 6-12 months we start making bubbling and gurgling sounds that are admired and worshipped by the Big People who feed and care for us. We spend years developing and crafting this vocalising tool to communicate, to assimilate into this complex world we live in.
Ironically decades later, many of us still struggle to express ourselves, even in our own mother tongue. We copy, imitate, read…lift the lid off our heads and pour in all sorts of knowledge, truths and lies, in order to continue understanding and interacting with our fellow humans. We possess this astonishing oral gift that gives us and those listening, pleasure, power and potency.
It is still extraordinary to me that our alphabet only has 26 letters. It’s like a shower head, turn on the tap and you get this rain of fabulous, fat, sharp consonants. Add a little cold, and out spray your juicy vowels. This is the magic and drama of words that travel from brain to heart and tongue.
It is this creative ability that I want to emphasise and encourage.
Be playful with your language. I don’t just mean those saucy double entendres but be open to shuffle and conjure up new phrases, new word order. You could cook up another colloquialism, gist or nuance. Why not? More than 500 words, phrases and senses were added to the Oxford English dictionary this year. The Merriam and Webster dictionary are asking for new words.
Here are some of the latest: YOLO added this year, meaning, you only live once. FOMO, added in 2015 meaning, fear of missing out.
As I said in my last blog, “Don’t You Love a Story” , this is the story collectors season. The time to listen in and listen up! To gather tales from the past and dreams for the future. Then, you mix it up with your own authentic linguist talents. You add the salt and pepper of your new exciting, liberated vocabulary.
-When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new- Anon
It is writers and speakers who can create and influence the world to make changes, to make a difference by introducing new phrases and words to change our way of thinking. To put us in touch with a new approach to conditioned thought patterns. Let’s be playful with our language. We have freedom of speech, let’s not take this fragile privilege for granted.
There is another way to improve your verbal inventive abilities, learn a second language. Then, watch how new phrases will spark your imagination.
As Federico Fellini said; “A different language is a different vision of life”
Remember, know the rules – then break them!
Step Up & Stand Out advocates ingenious and innovative language. Take the dictionary by the neck and give it a good shake about. Get creative in 2017!