Language is one of the aspects that distinguish humans from other living beings, as it gives them the ability to communicate in a systematized and understandable way. I really like the definition of language made by the American linguists Bernard Bloch and George L. Tracer: ‘a language is a system of arbitrary vocal symbols through which a social group cooperates’. One of the main characteristics of the human language is that everything is communicative, creating new words when it is needed, which can describe or express new realities. There are, therefore, no areas that cannot communicate.
For long centuries, academics and linguists have been trying to understand without succeeding why there are so many different languages in the world. In many cultures there are legends that suggest that there was once a single common language for all peoples and as they angered some god, they were separated and forced to speak different languages. Beyond mythology, this has not been explained yet. However, “The Ethnologue: Languages of the World” estimates that there are currently about seven thousand living languages in our planet.
Ph. D. Professor Rafael Echeverría said in his book “Ontology of Language”: “Language has generative and recursive power for the future design and the management of change”. When we talk we act, and when we act we change reality, generating a new one, that is called the generative capacity of language. Language generates identity, generates coordination of action and is responsible for sadness or happiness.
A society without language would not have the possibility of existing, because of the difficulty of consolidating meaningful communities where certain structures of power are built up, such as the family and even the school itself. It is very clear that in addition to being a powerful communication tool, language creates our BEING so we must be aware of its true potential and its influence in our lives.
If we pay close attention to the language usually used when we refer to the current situation, we can see that the most commonly used terms are: pandemic, death, crisis, mistrust, cutting back, dismissing, decreasing, unproductiveness, closing, pessimism, opacity, unemployment, talent destruction, inefficiency, … But what would happen if we changed the language used? If the terms used were: life, trust, investment, increasing, happiness, opening, productivity, employment, talent, positivity, efficiency, collaboration, growth, talent development, transparency, … would anything change?
By using positive language, like the one described above, we are generating a new reality, a reality full of creativity, optimism, innovation, cooperation and synergies… all of them are crutial in this new age we are now living and that requires the best of ourselves. Have we noticed this?
Becoming aware of the language we use to speak with ourselves is highly important to realize that if we become aware we can decide to open ourselves to other possibilities and to change the perspective. In short, to see ourselves from another more positive perspective. In addition to being the most powerful communication tool, it also generates identities, relationships, commitments, possibilities, different futures, different worlds… it generates BEING.
On recognizing that speaking generates action and that action changes reality, we are recognizing the importance of a determining factor of language, listening. No listening as a passive act but active listening
(perceiving+interpreting) that asks questions, that is not satisfied with the simple story, the one that ultimately inquires which allows us to make the concepts clear and the one with which we can make consistent judgments. Listening is the foundation of ontological coaching.
Positive language and active listening are simple and powerful resources that we have at our disposal to build the Future and make a present with more well-being and happiness.
‘Language is the city for whose building every human being has contributed a stone.’ Ralph W. Emerson