I have been doing a lot of observation and analysis on the words that shape our every day interactions. Words – They are so simple and increasingly abundant. They so greatly impact our world that we produce dictionaries, thesauri, word banks, spell check… the list is extensive. They are at the foundation of verbal communication. There are words that exist to be used with high frequency (e.g. that, I, on, here) and sometimes are haphazardly thrown about as if they have no meaning at all; mere spacers in the content of a story. Other words exist with such precise meaning they are ignored and rarely used (e.g. epeolatry, pinguescence, nychthemeron, floccinaucinihilipilification, and selcouth).
Having noted and given respect to the vast complexities that exist within the English language I explored a quasi-anthropological study. Despite the lexical system established, how do we behave and communicate with one other within this arrangement? Ever present, nonverbal communication is a large part of face-to-face interpersonal communication. I also note that the more intimate the relationship, whether friend or personal, the more unique the nonverbal communication. Verbally, however, we appear to be pulled to cycle through words. This occurs to the extent that human communication now presents as if to ignore grammatical rule and tense agreement is discarded.
Perhaps it is my sensitivity to language, but when I hear “he come up here” or “I done gone to kroger” I cringe. Is our society so lazy that even our language has become necrotic? This whole intrigue began when I nonchalantly mentioned to a friend that I had lost recall of so many words within the Spanish language. I was noting that my vocabulary recall for simple words had depleted due to not being used. Perhaps this is the same phenomena that native English speakers are experiencing without even taking note. Even within my own speech I notice word use patterns. Often I search for the proper word to fit contextually to a sentence and find myself with some form of nominal aphasia. Perhaps I need to reacquaint myself with those words less often utilized which are more accurate for description.
The world is changing. We are becoming complacent and lazy in my opinion and I am not immune. Is there a cure?
Some things are true whether we want them to be or not. Thoughts become words. Words become actions. Actions become habits. Habits become character and character… well it could be downhill.
Education seems to be in America the only commodity of which the customer tries to get as little he can for his money. Max Leon Forman