Saturday, May 26, 2018


words @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Language is magic.

If I say a word, an image or idea from my mind magically appears in yours. For instance, I can say (or write) the word "house," and the image/idea of house appears in your mind. But the house in your mind may look very little like the house in mine. What if I add vivid modifiers to the word house? With each modifier, the image in your mind more closely resembles the one in mine. Brick. Two-story. Colonial.

Alternatively, I can replace the word house with a more precise noun, the definition of which includes the idea of house + modifiers. Chalet. Mansion. Cottage. Yurt. Nest. Now a single word from my mind builds a vivid, precise image in yours.

Do you know how many words we have in the English language? Depending on the qualifications of "word," we have between 200,000 and a million words in English.

We use language to think about and communicate ideas.

The more words I know, the better able I am to think and reason abstractly. The more words you and I share, the better able we are to communicate, vividly and precisely.

Yesterday, my young son was feeling emotional about something. I asked him if he was concerned. He said no, that wasn't accurate. Stressed? Distressed? Worried? Apprehensive? On edge? No, those weren't strong enough. Panicked was the word that best communicated his emotions.

Give yourself the gift of language. Give your children the gift of language. Give your community and culture the gift of members who can communicate with others in a vivid, precise way. With knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. And heaps of grace.

1 comment:

Laura at By the Bushel said...

Truth. So true Heidi. The more precise we are the better we are able to not just share ideas, although that is purposeful and enjoyable, but we are able to build and rebuild a culture of truth, goodness, and beauty. Thanks for this post. It's been lingering in my mind.