Language within the language

Wilson Orhiunu

First Gentleman with Wilson Orhiunu

Email: Twitter: @Babawilly

Many subsets exist among English language speakers. The professionals seem to have their own take on what English should sound like. Once technical words get thrown in, a document becomes impossible to understand even in the hands of an educated man. Lawyers, engineers, doctors pilots, the list is endless.   The economists are the worst in my opinion. While the whole of the adult population works for money or at least spends money for goods and services most days, when the economist opens his or her mouth to talk about the money you spend daily, their English takes on an alien life form of its own.

Young people love to set themselves apart from adults who they deem as ‘not cool’, and they strive to speak a form of English laced with grunts and slangs that are only understood by their peers. The well -heeled in society have their accents which announce them quicker than their perfume does. They want it that way. The accent announces you and is just as effective as the lion’s roar in the jungle. So the English language is like a mighty ocean with a lot of things going on in it. All kinds of creatures use it for multiple purposes.

For those who want to join a subset in society, one of the ways might be to learn how they speak, for men of a speech flock together

The word professional gives the impression that the one referred to as such makes claims or professes to be competent in a given skill or trade. Professionals call themselves so, and people try them out to see if they can do what they claim to be able to do.

If a man is asked what his profession is, he replies by saying what he has been telling others. If he can prove his claims true, he would not be asked that question again by the same person for they now know. The professional would be expected to understand the jargon of his trade and thus be able to communicate with his professional colleagues.

Some professionals however have so performed that their actions speak louder that their words. I doubt if anyone would ask Messi what he did for a living.

Irrespective of age, sex, social class or educational attainment, people with certain personality types and character traits tend to use the same kind of language. The serial procrastinators speak of some day while the lazy say I cannot kill myself. The -make it happen girls say let’s do this while the ones forever needing hourly affirmations ask hope I am doing well?

In the end our personal world looks closely like the words we speak. Now does speech create the environment or does the environment make people speak in a given way?

Everyone would have to make their minds up about this. A baby learns to speak how its carers speak but an adult might decide to change how they speak.

Fake it till you make it?

I have noticed that many great people in various fields have had great mentors who drilled them during a hard apprenticeship. Technical knowledge can be taught in a class but the language of confidence, courage, dignity, love and respect for humanity is transferred from person to person outside a lecture hall. One could top the class in physics and totally lack the courage to start any venture in life. This might be due to coming from a home where the dialogue is never inventive or creative. Some dinner table conversations are centred around complaints about someone doing something wrong. That is a recipe for an empty life with no exciting challenges, innovations or victories. Talking about how things go wrong around the clock will produce risk averse individuals. And there is an internal dialogue to go along with this kind of dull living.

Autobiographical books and interviews are tools to study how different types of people talk and think. Even if our internal dialogue is negative one could mimic the speech of those in the subset of English speakers we wish to belong to and just keeping on faking it till change comes.

What is the alternative?

P.S: English is used in this article but the same applies to any language.