The Inadequacy of Human Language

Image: Public Domain, Morguefile
Image: Public Domain, Morguefile

I love writing, and talking, but there are times when I think the human language is just so inadequate, and has become too muddied over time. It can make communication difficult and annoying, but it’s all we’ve got for now.

My post about magic got me thinking about language once again. A lot of people have preconceived notions about the word, so it can give a person a particular feeling before they even read the piece. Regardless of the writer’s meaning, a person can go into it with ideas and feelings already there because of what they think certain words mean, and how those meanings make them feel.

Communication can become so difficult when people already have their own views on certain words. I remember a time when I hated the word “interesting” because so many people in my life had used it as an insult, rather than the true meaning of the topic catching their interest. I got over it (mostly) but it was a sore spot for a while. Things like that happen every day.

Society keeps changing what words mean and how they’re used, so words get muddied over time. What was once an innocuous term becomes an insult, an insult becomes a compliment, a technical term becomes common slang and the list goes on. It’s not just American English either, it happens all over the world.

Add that to the fact that some people, like myself, are conceptual thinkers, and it can make getting an idea across quite the challenge. I tend to think in concepts and images, not words, so translating that using the language at my disposal isn’t always easy.

I often wish that I could just record videos of my thoughts and play them for people. Many of the things I have to convey would make more sense and have more impact if they could be conveyed in a different manner. Unfortunately, we’re stuck with words, whether written or spoken, and we have to do the best we can until better technology or a higher level of evolution comes along.

Do you ever think that words are inadequate and problematic?


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