September 17th, 2009

Creative Joyous Cat

For The Love Of Words

I've been thinking lately about how people interpret others' use of words.  Being able to speak well--intelligently and clearly--is good, right?

If it's so good, how did we (USA) end up with a President who tripped over his words constantly?  Why are politicians who speak well so often looked upon with suspicion?  I mean, besides the fact that people look at all politicians with suspicion.

Maybe it's that many people don't see a reason to get really good at words for telling the truth.  After all, if something is true, you don't need to say it beautifully, do you?  By that thinking, the only reason to practice using words well is to lie.

I have trouble imagining that attitude, but it would explain some things.

But, just in case any of my readers wonder why else people might want to be good at words, I will share a few more thoughts.

I think that clear communication is a perfectly reasonable goal in and of itself.  There's so many ways for your meaning to go astray if you aren't aware of how grammar affects meaning, of how people in different areas use the same words differently, of puns and double-entendres, of the connotation as well as the denotation of words, and

More than that, words are, in essence, magical, in that they can change the world.  Think about it--words shape our thoughts, our emotions, and our actions.  And there is nothing that has changed the Earth more than human actions while we've been around.  Sure, we could all be wiped out by cosmic mischance, but until and unless that happens, our words have power.

But the people who are best at words, in my experience, simply love words.  They love the sounds, the rhythms, the fact that these unlikely sounds have meaning.  They care about their use, their history.  They care about all the poetry and stories that are given form with words. 

So, why do you care about being good with words?

And if you have other thoughts about why people are suspicious of people with a "silver tongue", I'm interested in hearing that too!