Words, Words, Words

Words are remarkable creatures. They can create worlds we’ve never seen, people and places are granted life, information and history are conveyed and preserved. Words live together as a language, and define realities, and inform ideas. Though they look so innocent laying there on a page, just these little dribbles of ink, or points on a screen, Words are deceptive creatures, and Words are powerful creatures which have life and vitality that seeps into the minds of readers. These little creatures, like other animals, have come with us through a vast history of meaning and change, so understanding them takes a great deal of time to achieve, and there are a lot of them to get to know.

There is such an array of species: Verbs, Nouns, Adjectives, Adverbs, Pronouns, and sub-species, cross breeds, not to mention their interactions within a sentence, or a paragraph, or a work. Even a simple sentence where a single Noun and a single Verb live can have a variety of meanings. If the Noun “Dog” is introduced to the verb “Dig”, then the possible progeny of this marriage have varied potential: “Dog dig” – “Dog digs” – “Dogs dig” – “Digging dog” –  “Dog digging”   and that’s not even feeding them punctuation or articles.

Words live in complex environments of meaning, and are subject to individual interpretation. They are key to creation and understanding, and they are tools for shaping perceptions of the world. When an object, person, or idea is defined with words, those words assign it meaning. Saying, “Sam’s dog is obnoxious,” defines the dog, and leaves little room for alternate interpretations. If, however, “Tom thinks Sam’s dog is obnoxious,” the meaning is altered slightly because Tom finds the dog obnoxious, but there’s the possibility that others do not.

But for individuals to maintain constant verbal vigilance and meaning mediation is unrealistic. There is a saying, that “Humans have 20/20 hindsight,” and an old Greek advised others to examine their lives and think about those mistakes made in speech or action, and think about other ways to approach them, and think about other ways to phrase a sentence or take an action. By doing this simple thing mistakes can become lessons for the future, and measure by measure the power of words and language will become clearer, and more accessible.


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One thought on “Words, Words, Words

  1. how true this is words do have the power to do more damage than war itself…to choose words circumspectly causes our actions to to leave less destruction along the journey!

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