Call me a nerd, call me geek, call me whatever you feel is appropriate but I like words. I never realized how much I liked words until I traveled to a country that does not speak the same words I do. But, even here, I like words. I like how they sound as they roll off the tongue, I like how fulfilling using the right word feels, I like how they create emotions and tell stories. It’s fitting to me then that the past five times I have written the word “word” (make that 7), I have written world. You see this is part of the beauty of words, one letter and you have a whole new meaning, a new avenue to explore, a new world to discover.
But this beauty in words comes with a price. In the same way words can be sweet, comforting, and delightful, they can quickly become sour, discouraging, and hopeless. Our generation is not one for words and here are some reasons why:
I’m not saying we write phrases such as “R u sure?” or “What r u doing b4 the party?” I’m sure some people still are (for instance my mother), but thanks to unlimited texting we have moved forward in language to texting complete sentences. I do believe however, that the quick pace of typing and pressing send has created a society of lazy language. We don’t look for the richness of language rather; we use it as a simple communication device. That is what the main purpose of language is, but having an understanding of the power of words can create a more effective, precise, depth to this communication.
When was the last time you heard a word on TV (other than the discovery channel) that made you think. Television could be a great avenue to learn new words and communicate ideas at a deeper level. I dream of a world where characters don’t just say “you look beautiful,” but use similes and metaphors, and words such as exquisite and pulchritudinous (well maybe save that for the word geeks of the world). But alas, words are simplified for our understanding instead of made more complex for our learning pleasure.
Have you forgotten the Shakespeare play you read in high school? You know the one with all the tricky words you never actually read thanks to Sparknotes. Just pick up a classic book and flip through its pages. It should become evident that the words on the pages are deeper, packed with meaning and intricacy. Time has caused such words slowly fade and be replaced by swag and yolo, not exactly the most classy of syllabic combinations.
Words are beautiful. They have the power to uplift, encourage, and create. Our generation is quickly using words to destroy, tear down, and wound one another instead. Here is my challenge. Think before you speak. It’s like your mom always said. And maybe, just maybe you’ll find a superior word, an inspiring word, one that is more gratifying than you have ever used before.