Words Matter: They are the Foundation of Modern Society

Peter B. GiblettStarred Page By Peter B. Giblett, 30th Nov 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/3_0-n8zn/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Writing

Why are words so important? This is a critical question that anyone who is interested in self-improvement should be asking themselves. Words are used to express, attack, or defend ideas - use the right words and people do listen; say the right thing and you can change the hearts and minds of people, you can move them to your will and by doing this change society.

A "Crickle" Little Boy

There was a little boy, who at the age of three and a few months proudly announced a new word that he invented, "Look mum, look at this wall isn't it crickle?" he proudly asked. There were many words in this little boy's knowledge, smooth, flat, rough, bumpy, and even crooked, well the origin of the new word 'CRICKLE' was based on something that was all of these things at the same time, yet was none of these things, a crickle wall is a wall that is flat, but bumpy (often because the builder placed stones or sometimes pieces of bottle, smooth side facing out, into the concrete), it was rough, but at the same time smooth, flat and level yet leaving a crooked impression, indeed it could be said that a crickle surface was one to hold your interest, it was well made, yet had nooks and crannies to interest either the eye looking at the surface or even little hands touching it.

This writer was reminded of that feat many times during his childhood, and even shown the wall that he originally described as crickle, and in all honesty today there is no better description of that type of surface described by that boy almost a lifetime ago, looking back I have a sense of pride to have thought something through so logically at such a young age and created something that did not before exist. There is also a place in London called "Cricklewood" which also stands as testament to my word because at the time when I was a simple child this was certainly a part of town where you had to take the rough with the smooth.

One thing is true although words are invented regularly so the language we learnt at school is not the same as used today, it developed, evolved, and changed, perhaps for better or for worse, yet values about the use of English are very important and words are the basic foundation for modern life.

Words Matter, they Give us Power!

The words we select and use matter so very, very much, they are the building blocks to our communication skills and ultimately if you wish your writing to improve it is vital to choose your words well, they give us the power to communicate effectively.

There are two prior lessons within this series, which the reader is encouraged to read and understand in association with this article:

These are the basis of understanding the power of words, the overall theme being portrayed in this series of lessons about the English language, let us take a journey together, learn, understand and grow as we all get to grips this language and its intricacies and apply them better in our everyday life.

Pick up the Dictionary

If you wish to improve your understanding of the English language then you do need to obtain one of the basic books of the language, the dictionary; this is a tool you should become familiar with, indeed it should be something you love and treasure and keep close to hand at all times when you are writing or creating things involving the beautiful English language. Right now I have three at hand:

  • the Oxford "Compact" English Dictionary, nearly 3 inches thick with over 145,000 definitions,
  • the "New" Oxford Dictionary of English, much bigger with over 350,000 definitions, and
  • the "Shorter" Oxford English Dictionary (1973 Edition) in two volumes, discovered at a book fair a few years ago.

As you will see none are the tiny mini-dictionaries many school children of my day used to thumb through. You need a serious dictionary to attain a serious understanding of this language, and if you are purchasing one today you need to spend in the region of $25 to $50, or £15 to £40, and sometimes more, in order to ensure you get one of a high enough quality to expand your word usage.

By the time this writer was fifteen years of age I have to admit that despite my love for words my spelling was atrocious and my understanding of grammar very poor, whilst in my early twenties and working as a programmer for an engineering company I was asked to write a report highlighting certain choices the company needed to make, the one lesson from that exercise was that I needed to improve my spelling and grammar dramatically if I was to get anywhere in life, so from that moment on I started chewing over a dictionary at every opportunity, you to can do the same.

Simply pick up a dictionary and open it at a random page and look at the second word on the page no matter how simple of complex it is, take a look at the one selected at random in opening my dictionary:

    patriarchy - noun:

  1. a form of social organisation in which the father or eldest male is the head of the family and descent is is reckoned through the male line.
  2. a system of society in which men hold most or all of the power

The point of this exercise is to understand each and every part of that definition. If there are words in the definition that you do not understand then look those up, even starting with the word "noun" (e.g. the language construct and how the word is used), know what it means and how it is applied then make up some sentences using the word in each of its forms. This is how you will understand word use and grow, the next time you open the dictionary open any page and select any word on the page and repeat this exercise, even understanding thoroughly one new word per day it will take you a long while to know every word in the dictionary, but you will have grown tremendously in the meanwhile.

Words as the Foundation

With access to words, particularly powerful words we are able to express powerful thoughts. You should have understood from the exercise performed here the power of the humble dictionary, it is not an aid to spelling but to comprehension of our language, the spell checker on the average word processor is able to correct our spelling much more effectively and quicker than the dictionary, but by understanding these definitions we can understand the origins of the word and how it should be applied whenever we communicate.

Words are the foundation to everything that we do in life, use them well and they will empower you and it is important to be precise about the words we select, particularly in print. They are the building blocks of knowledge and as such also a part of the foundation for our society, if you wish to change things then you must use words to convey the what must change and why they are the foundations for great things in our society.

Look at the great political leaders, philosophers, writers, entrepreneurs etc. and you can understand that ideas must be expressed in words to other people in order to be acted upon. Great arguments, rhetoric, and philosophies are based on words and the way you combine them to build propositions, phrases, sentences and paragraphs, do that right and your ideas are likely to be heard by a wider audience.

Words Matter

The lesson here is to improve your understanding and usage of words. Can simply changing the words used turn a bumbling fool into a powerful philosopher? Why not?

Perhaps you should never answer a question with another question, but here it is appropriate because this is all about the power of the words that you use and the truth is anyone can choose to improve the words they use, it is all about making that choice and improving the English you use, you may not have lofty ambitions, such as becoming Prime Minister or President but whatever your goals the power of the words you select makes all the difference.

Improving the Words You use!

Peter B. Giblett has recently published the following articles on the subject of improving your writing:

Thinking about writing? If you are then you should do something about it - your view is as crucial as anyone else's, the first thing you could do is ADD a comment providing your own thoughts and feedback is always much appreciated. Sometimes however your thoughts transcend the limits of a simple comment and you need to make your own contribution of 300 words or more; perhaps penning your own article is more appropriate, well you can make your own views felt.

Join Wikinut today and have some fun telling the world about your favourite things. Write what you like! Join Wikinut, then post your masterpiece and Wikinut will publish it for you, it can be that simple. Wikinut is regarded as the best on-line site for budding writers, here's why:

  • It is easy to get started,
  • You can include your pictures and youtube videos,
  • There are REAL people moderating your work who will provide you with feedback
  • Wikinut is fun, we have a great community of writers who regularly talk to each other.
  • AND you get paid as well, you might not become a millionaire with on-line writing but its still nice to receive something into your PayPal account regularly.
  • Lets face it you have nothing to lose and everything to gain sign up TODAY

Tags

Basic Foundation, Basics, Crickle, Dictionary, English, English Grammar, Peter B Giblett, Power Of Words, Sentences, The Words We Select, Words, Words Are The Foundation, Words Matter

Meet the author

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
Author of "Is your Business Ready? For the Social Media Revolution"

Social media consultant, with C-Level background.

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Comments

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
30th Nov 2012 (#)

Without the power of words for communication we might as well all be like apes in the trees.

Sadly it seems many people are dumbing down the English language. For example proper sentences have become this "Who my baby daddy?"

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author avatar DuitByJames
1st Dec 2012 (#)

How bout word up Peter G? Seriously, Thank You, sir for your sage guidance!

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author avatar Judy Ellen
1st Dec 2012 (#)

I agree with you 100% on this! Thank you for this very important advice!!

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author avatar Buzz
1st Dec 2012 (#)

Like Winston Churchill, I love the English language, Peter. I also collect dictionaries, both American and British. My favourite is Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary, aside from the Concise Oxford Dictionary, be cause it illustrates the usage of words in a sentence as compiled in a corpus or data base gathered from people from all walks of life in the modern world, especially American and British. Thanks for sharing.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
2nd Dec 2012 (#)

When the right words hit the right place they prove magical. No amount of emphasis on this basic concept is overdone. Thanks Peter for this post - siva

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author avatar Val Mills
29th Dec 2012 (#)

Enjoyed reading this after my absence from Wikinut. It made me feel good to be back!

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author avatar M G Singh
2nd Jan 2013 (#)

peter, its a great post, you hit the nail on the head

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author avatar Stella Mitchell
2nd Jan 2013 (#)

Next to my Bible , my dictionary is a good friend at hand . I too love the English language and value its contents .
Bless you Peter

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