Language as a Life Changing Tool
Language is the media of expressing of our feelings, thoughts, ideas, needs, interest and creativity. It makes human being different from other creatures. By using a language in a proper way one can change his position and it gives him many facilities. “Language shapes our behavior and each word we use is imbued with multitudes of personal meaning. The right words spoken in the right way can bring us love, money and respect, while the wrong words—or even the right words spoken in the wrong way—can lead to a country to war. We must carefully orchestrate our speech if we want to achieve our goals and bring our dreams to fruition.” —Dr. Andrew Newberg, Words Can Change Your Brain
Language is far more than a tool for communication. The word “language” comes from logos, which means category or concept. With language we categorize, distinguish, and create the universe. Ultimately, we perceive the world according to our language. For example, when we think in English, we perceive a world made up primarily of objects: people, trees, and houses. These objects do things or have things done to them using verbs. We literally see everything in the world in this fashion. We don’t perceive “things out there” because they really are things out there.
Most humans are fascinated by language, by our species’ ability to talk, to inform, to persuade, to insult, to lie and to praise. To express the range of our thoughts and feelings through symbols in the form of sounds, gestures, marks on paper, drum beats, and the myriad of other ways we have found to use our senses and brain for communication. Language takes us through our human world. It is the theme of myths, philosophy, literature and science.
Human languages, such as Bangla, French, Cantonese or American Sign Language, are socio-cultural entities. Knowledge of them (`competence’) is acquired by exposure to the appropriate environment. Languages are maintained and transmitted by acts of speaking and writing; and this is also the means by which languages evolve.
Languages inhabit from two distinct modes of existence, which have been called (by Chomsky, 1986) `E-Language’ and `I-Language’. E-language is the external observable behavior — utterances and inscriptions and manifestations of their meanings. E-language is regarded by some as so chaotic and subject to the vicissitudes of everyday human life as to be a poor candidate for systematic study. (E-Language corresponds to what Chomsky, in earlier terminology, called `performance’.)
We think in words. So, the more words we know, the more thoughts we can have (Benjamin Lee Whorf). This compound notion that language allows us to have ideas and that by extension people who own different words live in different conceptual worlds — called “Whorfianism”.
Language actually makes a lot of sense in our mind. Similarly, words can change our brain. Throughout human history, great leaders used the power of words to transform our emotions. To enlist us in their causes and to shape the course of destiny. Similarly, by changing our habitual vocabulary, the words we consistently use to describe emotions, we can instantaneously change how we think, how we feel and how we live. This is the power of transformational vocabulary – consciously using our words to improve the quality of our life today and for the rest of our life.
Generally, language is changeable and it differs from person to person, society to society, class to class, profession to profession and country to country. In our practical life we can see that the language of an educated person is totally different from an uneducated person because an educated person uses standard language and his language is thoughtful, meaningful and perfect. He always tries to apply the best words and sentences according to the situation. On the other hand, an uneducated person is not aware of using any language. He applies his language according to his own will and interest. He never thinks about the depth of the language and the situation. Similarly, the languages of the urban people and rural people are also different from one another according to the meaning, accent, pronunciation and so on. For example, the rural people use dialect where the urban people use standard language. So, rural people cannot get much facilities like the urban people.
It is also seen that a man can acquire more than a language. The more language he can acquire the more he is benefited.
For example: If a person only learns his mother tongue, he can only communicate with the people of his own country. But if he knows more languages than his mother tongue he can communicate with many people of different countries and it helps him to get better job and better facilities.
Again, the language which we apply in our own country, society and culture it is not applied in other countries and their societies. Because language is changeable and it is changed for the benefit of the language users. It differs from country to country and culture to culture.
For example, in Bangladesh we use the term “PohelaBaishakh” but it is not used in western culture. Similarly, the Bangla word “Oviman” is very common in Bangla language but it has no existence in English language and western culture. So, if the western do not know the meanings of the words they cannot understand our culture properly.
Each profession has some specific languages and terms which are used only for the purpose of that profession. The languages and terms are totally different from one another.
For example, in medical science, the doctors use some specific terms which are not applied in business field. Similarly, a software engineer uses some terms which are not applied in literature. Thus, the language of a profession differs from one profession to another. So, if a person of a profession has not much knowledge about his own profession, he cannot shine in his professional life and change his luck.
Language is power if it is applied in the proper way and in the proper time. On the other hand, language is a curse if it is misused. So, if we want to change our life, if we want to shape our decisions and our actions, shifting our emotional patterns are the key. One fundamental tool that can change it faster than anything else is consciously selecting the words we are going to use to describe how we feel. This is how we create a level of choice instead of a habitual reaction.
For the vast majority of us, our thought processes have been profoundly shaped by the introjection of language into our cognitive worlds and the collective product of countless generations. Human thought, for the majority, is not simply the individual outcome of our evolved neural architecture, but also the result of our borrowing of the immense symbolic and intellectual resources available in language. So, it’s clear to us that language is the only way which can shape our life, change our position, give us much facilities and give us a better opportunity.
Chomsky, N. (1986). Knowledge of language: Its origin, nature and use. Westport: Greenwood
Sapir, Edward (1921), Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech, Harcourt, Brace
Whorf, B. L. “The relation of habitual thought and behavior to language” in Carroll (ed.) 1956
Whorf, Benjamin (1956), John B. Carroll (ed.), ed., Language, Thought, and Reality: Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf, MIT Press