I love words and language, perhaps as much as I love anything. I am not sure if this is because I enjoy a particular brain structure, background, or touch from God, but words and language resonate with me the same way a Yo-Yo Ma, cello concerto might resonate with a classical music lover. Often, reading or hearing a certain word or group of words can induce in me a neural firing that is a physically discernible sensation. In the presence of a particularly powerful use of language, I can actually feel those dendrites and synapses waving around with acclaim and acknowledgement! Alas, words are so much more than an itch in the mind, or a pull of the emotional bow across the heart strings, they are truly the medium in which we live, move, and have our being.
Symbolic language is one of the most distinctive traits in the divide between Homo sapiens and the rest of creation. Words allow humans to transcend the limitations of a seemingly deterministic, physical reality and create! Since the Garden of Eden, when Adam named the animals God brought before him, mankind has been categorizing and cataloguing everything we interact with in this world by means of words, whether written, spoken, sung, or signed. We reflect on the world we encounter, ourselves, and the nature of existence itself through the clarifying and classifying lens of language. Indeed, words allow us the freedom to think beyond natural categories and enter into the world of philosophical abstractions, such as, justice, truth, or love.
The Koine Greek for ‘word’ is ‘λóγος’, (lä-ˌgäs), which can be rendered as ‘study or discourse concerning’. In English, we often use λóγος as a suffix for academic subjects. For example, biology is the study or discourse concerning living things, just as anthropology is the study of humans and human culture. Given this definition, wordswurdswirds aspires to be a study or discourse concerning words, language, how we use them, and how they move us from my perspective. Since I believe it is self-evident that language is culture, there are an infinite number of subjects this blog may attempt to address in future posts. Hopefully, this exercise in writing will yield some light that might otherwise not have been seen. I also hope it generates a little heat!
You can’t blog without log.
December 9, 2011