Researchers state that an average male speaks around 7,000 words a day, a female 9,000 – 20,000 respectively. We use articulated utterances to express ourselves, our ideas and feelings etc. about the past, present and future. That’s one thing that separates us from animals. We speak.
The image that comes to my mind, when trying to illustrate the usage of words, is the metaphor of houses. Describing human nature we often hear terms like body and soul. Human body is the temple of the soul. The body is nothing but a shell to live in and to operate by in the physical realm. The real person dwells inside the body as if a man lives in his house. We do have eyes to see what is happening on the outside and it is as if we went to the window to take a look at the street. Have you ever been told that your eyes have given you away? It means you, your inner being, who you truly are and what you think, the real person has been sighted standing in your windows. However, it is quite difficult for others to peek inside, except perhaps for some close friends.
The only way someone can actually see who you are and what you look like, is when you open the door and stand in the doorway. This is speaking. The words we say tell others who and what we are. If we misuse our language, we may give others the wrong impression of ourselves. If the usage of our language is not beautiful, no matter how fancy the house may be, the one living in it will be known as one ugly person. An arrogant language use indicates there’s a mean bastard living inside. If we do not say anything, it may seem as if the house is empty. Sometimes it’s better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.
As there is no good without evil, so it is with the mastery of language. Not many know the pathways and secrets of having a way with words but for those who do, using their knowledge in playing with words might be considered either a powerful weapon to have their own way in life, or a precious gift to educate and entertain the hearers with the music of the language. Think about politicians and poets.
Have you ever wondered how differently we all speak in different circumstances. The same way we choose an appropriate outfit for a special occasion, we use levels of formality in the usage of language to create different images and make different impressions of ourselves. This is yet another case of playing with words.
Language changes in time. In that respect it can be seen as something alive, capable of evolving, even prospering. Whether the language prospers or not depends on those who speak it. Language belongs to everybody. There is more to speaking and writing than just organizing your ideas in a particular order. It is a sort of play where you play with words and the words play with you … if you let them.