As a little child, I remember watching a British comedy television series titled ‘Mind your language’. It was a funny comedy because diverse ethnic groups were represented in it, with their diverse ethnic accents and fashions. The focus of the comedy was the adaptation of ethnic minorities into English culture, and understanding of English as a foreign language. At least, that was what I thought it to be.
Moving from comedy to the real world, language must indeed be minded. Language as a medium of communication forms the basis of development; whether technological, socio-economical or political. Before going further, I need to point out that language does not begin and end with verbalisation because there are other forms of communications that do not involve the vocal cord. Signs as forms of communication are languages. If they weren’t, no one would have known that Thamsanqa Jantjie; Nelson Mandela memorial sign language interpreter was fake. It took those that understood the language of the deaf to know that his translations made no sense.
In addition, language is not just a dialect; it has become the art and science of symbols and codes used in different associations; each association therefore, has its own language. For example, a couple may speak English, but in the language, have different ways of passing information to each other which cannot be understood by other English language speakers around them.
I have discovered that truly, the world can’t advance without understanding languages. Schools, at early years focus more on languages than other subjects simply because other subjects are written in languages. If you don’t know the language, you can’t know the subject.
What are the different forms of languages?
Cultural Language: cultural language is the language spoken in the society you live. It is rigidity not to know the dialect spoken in a society that you live – I consider it unacceptable. After a couple of years of living where you are, you have no excuse for not understanding the language. Language is a major part of a people’s culture; if you refuse learning it, you invariably insult the nativity of where you live. Apart from that, not learning the language of where you live limits you. For example, you can’t contest an election to lead a people that you don’t understand their language. Language forms a bond among people; you can’t fully bond with a society you don’t know the language.
Professional Language: every profession has its peculiar language even if it may be spoken in different dialects. The medical profession has its language; people like you and I don’t understand. The legal profession has its language; it takes a lawyer to really understand the jargons they speak. Imagine being a doctor or lawyer without understanding the language? In the true sense, there are people that belong to these professions, but don’t really understand the languages – because of this; they don’t thrive in their professions. Recently, I was in a big insurance company office. While there, I read virtually, every post I saw on the wall. I was impressed because most of the quotes were strategy, management, vision and leadership related. They knew their language, and they kept putting it everywhere for their staff to get used to.
Business Language: there is a language spoken by business people; mere men don’t understand it. If you’re going into business, or if you’re already in business, you better learn its language before you fizzle out. Understanding the language will help you in negotiations. Understanding the language will help you weather the storm when the going gets rough; most of the time, it gets rough.
Common Sense Language: when Justine Sacco; the fired PR Director of InterActive Corp (IAC) tweeted, ‘Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get Aids. Just kidding. I’m white!’; that was acute foolishness lacking in common sense. You see, you can speak a professional language but still be stupid if you don’t understand common sense language. Some professionals have been flushed through the toilet system because of lack of common sense. Some businesses have folded up because the businessmen or women didn’t know common sense; they could strike deals but don’t respect deals. Common sense language is vital in maintaining a wholesome wellbeing; without it, the best intelligence cannot help you.
Possibility Language: this is where a lot of people make errors. When you talk about possibilities, many people either ascribe it to religion or motivational messages. But looking at it from psychological point of view, what you speak is what you get. It has been scientifically proven that people with positive mindsets live longer and relate better. If that is true, why do you find people promote impossibilities and demote possibilities? Sometimes, you hear someone say, ‘I don’t think I’ll ever get that job’. When they don’t get it, they say, ‘I was the best in the interview. How come they didn’t give me the job? I think they discriminated against me.’ Why are you surprise that you didn’t get the job, when with your mouth, you said you won’t get it?
You must learn to speak possibility language to yourself, if you want to become something better than where you are. You are a cow if you say you are, and very soon, you’ll start acting like one. You are the best if you say you are, in spite of where you currently are – before long, you will become the best you said you were. Speak possibility language; say what you want to be and that is what you’ll be!