Word Power

I’ve been thinking about our language and how it shapes us. This is not a new area of interest for me. I was a journalism  major in  college.  I studied and practiced writing so that I could communicate succinctly, conveying the facts and making my words give a clear, unbiased picture.

But when people talk about feelings, how they perceive themselves or others, what is true becomes a subjective matter.  This is the use of language that can make a difference in how one sees the world.

Our everyday language today has been compromised so that it rarely presents a declarative sentence.  My kids and their friends use language peppered with the word “like.”   I am constantly asking if what their talking about was truly “like a house* (*substitute any noun)” or if it was actually a “house. *” I often wonder whether the American language can survive this onslaught of “like.”

As an artist, I find that I often use words that minimize the strength of my statements. The use of modifiers in my speech can change an achievement into less than it is.  If I say, “I have only completed one painting,” I have diminished my accomplishment by the use of the word “only.”   If I simply said, “I  have completed one painting,” it is a report of fact, without making it bigger or smaller.  There are plenty of words in our vernacular that  reduce the power of what we are saying:  kind of,  actually,  really,  just, to  name a few.  Not only have I  minimized my accomplishment to someone else, I have diluted it for myself.  Speaking the words, I send myself a message that I start to believe.  So I try to make distinctions in the language I use.

Do you notice the impact of language that lessens one’s achievement?

"Entice"I sometimes use words in my artwork.  This piece entitled “Entice” is part of my Small Treasures series.  It is made with a variety of media including collage, arcylic and ink.

On a personal note, I’d like to wish my sister, Davina Brown, a happy birthday and wonderful year, fitting for such a terrific person.

This entry is dedicated to the memory of my mother, Sylvia Garnice Friedland, who died on this date in 1972.  I miss her still.

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About karenfriedland

I am a visual artist-- painter, sculptor, photographer-- coloring the world. My travels take me to many places around the world and I love connecting with others at home and on my trips. I am also a teacher (art), business person and creativity and business coach. My website is: www.ArtistKaren.com. I am so glad you have visited my blog!
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