Language, Words, Meaning

Language is very mysterious to me. Words have such a big impact on people. Yet they can mean different thing to different people and most people only accept their understanding. They do not ask for clarifications “is that what you meant?” they even do not want to listen to explanation.

I remember when I used a word I did not intended to and said “upps this is not what I meant” I heard. “No this is what you meant, it was your subconscious talking”.  What a strange perception I thought and asked “What makes you think my subconscious  speaks English”.

I do mix word, sometimes I cannot recall what is the name of the concept I have in mind, or I will say one that sound like the one I intended to use.

For me words are like labels that we use to identify things, concepts, ideas.

It was best explained by my IT lecturer at Queen Mary Collage who wrote his name on a blackboard and asked “what is this?”.

We said:

  • It is you.
  • No I am standing here
  • It is your name
  • No, it is chalk on a black board, arranged in a pattern that points to my name, that points to me.

For me this is what words are: sounds arranged into patterns that we recognised as pointers to concepts, ideas, thoughts. We use them to communicate, as we do  not know how to exchange thoughts in any another way. To do this we would need to be better connected to each other. Some may call it being on the same wavelength.

Words are especially difficult in describing emotions or feelings:  For me each time emotions feelings are different, there will be a variation depending on the situation, circumstances, people involved before and in  the moment.

I do not know about you, but I always have a mixture of emotions. Mixture of feelings.

How do we learn what is the name of an emotion we feel? Well, we look at a situation, observe how we feel, listen to what others are calling it, but the same circumstances can give rise to different emotions.

I remember staying in a hotel in Wales over Easter holidays. There were 3 groups of people English, Italians and Poles. It was long time ago when the TV was only in the lounge and we were watching a comedy show. I found it amazingly funny that each group laughed at different moments (in addition to the laughter on TV). Different cultures, different backgrounds, different sense of humour.