The Oxford Dictionary list around 250,000 words. Somewhere along the way, people came up with a word for each object or action and it was picked up as common usage. This in and of itself is incredible. These days slang moves quickly with social media but back then for a word to get around and of accepted use, had to have taken a very long time.
I’ve heard the English language is difficult to learn but I certainly find any second language difficult especially Chinese and Japanese. One of the problems with the English language is that some words that sound the same have different meanings and are spelled differently. For example: “Look, there’s a bear!” or “The pantry is bare.” People who are learning English have to know that although the sound of the word is the same, when they write the word “bear” they need to apply the right meaning. Our language is loaded with the above situations including: “Farmers produce produce.” That’s got to trip some people up who attempt to learn our language. I’m personally impressed with anyone who is bi-lingual.
A picture can paint a thousand words but words can also paint a thousand pictures. Authors have taken my mind to places I would’ve never been. When they describe a scene or a person in a book I’m reading, my brain uses those words and all of a sudden I see a picture of hopefully what the author intended.
It’s easier when I have something to work with but the authors that make me see things I’ve never seen before like what J.K. Rowland did with her Harry Potter books are beyond phenomenal. Think about this, George Orwell had people seeing technology they couldn’t dream of in his book: 1984 which was published in 1949. Or how about when Jules Verne wrote: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea back in 1870? He took peoples’ minds about 100 years into the future. Wow!
What I also find incredible is that with all the power words possess, that when it comes to oral communications the words themselves only impact a conversation around 7%. Whoever came up with the phrase: “It’s not what you say it’s how you say it” was correct.
The tone we use with our words can completely change someone’s message and it makes up 38% of effective oral communications. I knew the difference when my mom yelled at us to come in for dinner; she might have used the same words the second time she told us to get inside but I certainly could tell by her tone when we better get in or else. I did experience “or else” on a few occasions and it wasn’t pretty.
Our body language significantly impacts our conversations as it represents 55% of effective oral communications. We can certainly talk with someone and see if their angry, confused, happy, sad, sarcastic, sincere, etc. If someone tells you things are going great but you can see on her face that she’s sad, do you believe what she’s saying or what you’re seeing? If someone says he believes you but rolls his eyes, you better believe the eyes and not what he said. Sometimes when my wife is mad she’ll say she isn’t but being the skilled communicator I am, I know she’s mad.
Effective communication can be challenging and words alone through emails, posts, or text, have certainly gotten many people (including me), in trouble because they don’t include body language and tone which are more effective communication vehicles.
If I can offer any advice, if you’re upset with someone don’t immediately write and send a message in anger. If you want to enjoy a better life, wait at least a few hours to respond to someone who upsets you. In most cases it’s better to refrain from writing anything at all because the person can read it over and over again making the situation way worse than it deserves to be.
We’re much better off in many cases (not all), addressing disagreements in person because once again communication is more effective when we can use body language and tone as there’s less chance of misinterpreting what someone is saying.
Like I wrote above “some cases” not “all cases” because I admit there are certain people that the last thing I’d want to do is address a disagreement in person because of how emotional they can get. You know the type. At the very least, call the person because they can hear your tone, versus escalating an argument via text as it typically comes with a faster and better outcome.