L is for Language


For millions of years mankind lived just like animals

Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination

We learned to talk.

~ Stephen Hawking (Intro to Pink Floyd’s Keep Talking).

At the beginning of the A to Z Blog Challenge I drew up a quick list of prompts to help trigger ideas for entries. Most of my first 11 entries I could remember what the prompt was without looking at the list, but today I was stumped. I took a look at the list and was a bit surprised to see I had pencilled in Language. Disclaimer: I am suffering through a head cold right now, so this might help explain why my memory is a bit fuzzy or why when I first looked at the word, I was all like what ever will I write about? As a uniliginual English speaking North American, I can hardly claim to know anything about foreign languages. But the the fog lifted a bit and I realized I wrote the word down because words and ultimately language is my life blood.

Language has the power free us or imprison us, it can unit or divide, it can inspire hope or instil fear. Words, and especially spoken language is a power tool. From movie quotes – “I’ll be back!” – to political sound bites – “Yes we can!” language has a way of imprinting on us. Becoming triggers for feelings, emotions, place holders for a memory. A friendly voice long distance over Skype or down an old fashioned phone line can brighten our day.

Language and words are power and adaptive. A word can have many meanings depending on their context and can change with time. A word that is in common use today could die out in the next 20 years or continue to be used 1,000 years from now.

As a writer, I naturally love the written form and nothing thrills me more than be able to take words and communicate to someone else thoughts, ideas, and images that I had in my mind when I put the words on paper. As long as there has been language in the world there have been story tellers, and as long as there have been written form of language there have been writers.