Thank you for visiting! Please feel free to leave a comment. I accept anonymous comments as long as they are polite.

All written content is protected by copyright but if you wish to contact me regarding the content of this blog, please feel free to do so via the contact form.

Please pay a visit, too, to HILLIARD & CROFT


Christina Croft at Amazon

Sunday 28 June 2009

The Importance of Language

Isn't it interesting how the founders of every major religion in the world today came from the East? Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, the great Gurus of Hinduism and Sikhism, the Patriarchs of Judaism were not of a Western culture at all. They all spoke in languages which are not easily translated to the Western mind. They had (and still have) a language which is quite distinct from dividing everything into boxes, carefully labelled and everything in its scientific place. There are words in Sanskrit and Hebrew which simply cannot be translated to an equivalent European word (in much the same way as the French 'ennui' cannot be accurately translated into English, though the sense of it is understood; or the Italian 'disponibile' doesn't ring quite so true in the English translation) but can only be understood.

It seems that many centuries ago the Western world developed along such patriarchal/thinking in boxes lines that we curtailed our language to fit that pattern. We all went along with it and let it become our natural way of thinking. In the West, things are black or white, good or bad, one way or another. It's limiting and stifling as is our language. We have alphabetically ordered dictionaries that explain everything, every word we speak - and they are useful but there are so many things for which we don't have sufficient language. In the East, the language goes deeper, is more powerful and has a more profound resonance. We waste our words. We write dross about any old rubbish and call it poetry. The Eastern mystics chant the same word repeatedly and find the meaning and power in it and that is real poetry: the power of sound finding its way to expression of things which cannot be simply labelled and classified.

Language is surely so much more than the basic communication of needs and wants, or the throw-away words of social chit-chat. Language is something incredibly powerful and sacred. What we speak is what comes from within us. How many of us would be ashamed to pass water, to burp, vomit or break wind in public, yet we pay so little attention to what comes from our mouths, to the words we form and to what we express? All the time you hear people expressing all kinds of negative notions, paying so little regard to the words they are using. Drift through a typical shopping centre and hear the many conversations and hear how many people are speaking negatively of their health, their circumstances (and if you're in England, they're bound to include the weather, whether it's sunny or raining!!) and life in general. So much of it is taken up by social niceties or people just speaking for the sake of having to have something to say. Why waste words? ("By your words you will be acquitted and by words you will be condemned," said Jesus). People lie about global warming and other people respond by being very careful about their so-called (nonsensical!) 'carbon footprint' but how few people in the West take care about what we actually express in our everyday conversations?

No comments: