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The Fabric of Communication: It Is All About The Sound & Delivery Of Words

When was the last time you really paid attention to the way someone spoke? When was the last time you listened to a person’s choice of words? How closely have you been listening? Have you been tuned in? Tuned out? Are you as astute as an eagle/queen scout?

            The sound and delivery ingrained with communication is fascinating. It speaks so much to how a person’s mind is operating, feeling, and thinking. Almost nothing gives you as much insight into someone’s mind as when they speak and how the messages are being delivered.

            Thinking about various words is just so much fun. Words are not nonsense – they are meaningful. They make up sentences and ideas to reveal how a person thinks and feels. Without words and language, we would be reduced to miming behavior and contorted movements. Really, we would be much more bizarre creatures.

            Now there is an interesting word; ‘bizarre’. The word itself is irregular, it is not used as often as say ‘weird’ or ‘unusual’ in the expression of human language. Why is it not used as much you may be wondering? Likely because there is a ‘z’ and 2 ‘r’s’ in it. The pattern of letters in the word ‘bizarre’ may also not be as easy to memorize. But there it is, the word ‘bizarre’. I secretly think that unusual words like ‘bizarre’ are used as attention getters. If someone begins to fade in a conversation, having their eyes glaze over as you begin to speak, a good communicative strategy may be to implant the word bizarre within the sentence. Just like the word ‘implant’ and ‘glaze’ tend to not be used as much as other words that possess similar meanings.

There are just so many words to pick and choose from, what will we do with all of the possibilities?

            What about the word ‘crux’. Now there is a word that is not used too often. And it is often used in an expression “Well, that’s just the crux of it.” Again, the point of using the word ‘crux’ is to recapture people’s attention as you see them nodding off in chronic boredom. The word ‘crux’ can also be delivered (in terms of sound) in a very nasty way. The ‘ux’ sound intimates a hissing sound that a scaly creature likes to make and can be quite offensive to sensitive ears (a sensitive brain really).

            Another interesting word is ‘palatable’. Think about the sound of the word as you sound it out. It is difficult to make the word ‘palatable’ sound bad or offensive. It is just such a smooth word. ‘Palatable’  has within it the word ‘table’. Tables tend to be smooth and sturdy, enduring time well while not fading away. All in all, palatable is a wonderful word to use when speaking. If you are using the word palatable in your speech, it is also likely that you are a palatable person.

            The word ‘satiate’ (while rhyming with the word ‘hate’), is actually quite a sharp word. It tends to be a word that is consistently used by neuroscientists. Everyone wants to satiate their hunger, and neuroscientists want to understand ‘why’ hunger needs to be satiated. It all kind of makes sense doesn’t it, chaotic and random as it all seems? When you or I do not eat, we begin to experience feelings of satiety – we therefore need to satiate the hunger no less quench the thirst.

            ‘Quench’ is another great word – crisp, refreshing, and right to the point. By ‘quenching’ your thirst and ‘satiating’ your hunger, you begin to sound sharp, definite, and bright all in one mouthful. Language is powerful – it is a tool. Language is also a weapon, be careful how you use it. Unexpected outcomes may emerge when certain words are jammed together to create hapless sentence. Be mindful, language is powerful.

Speak well or forever hold your peace,

Matthew Polkinghorne

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