“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”
― Markus Zuzak, The Book Thief
It’s really enthralling how a mere collection of symbols can become so transverse; ranging from the outright diabolical to of divine beauty. Words and language are probably mankind’s most conflicting inventions, capable of inflicting injury and pain as well as thoroughly comprising of substantial ability to soothe, calm and heal. It’s these words, that defined men like Mark Antony (See: Caesar, Julius), Aristotle, Confucius and the modern day legends like Martin Luther King Jr., Mohandas Gandhi to the writers like Shakespeare and the Tolkiens and Rowlings.
English is a funny language. It can be understood through tough, thorough thought; though. It’s very simple, it’s logic. You start with the basics and then you spiral downwards into the abyss of queer grammatical rules and funny phonetics. Then you delve into the well of meanings of words, and soon you start getting the hang of it.
The Gods of The English Language are just warming up!
You learn meanings, synonyms, antonyms and rhyming words. You go for singular and plural and see that the plural of box is boxes, but ox is oxen. Why!? Plural of goose is geese, but plural of mouse is not meese! So to solve these minute problems, you read. And the absolute blunt end of a read when you encounter a word never seen before, never thought before, never imagined before (there’s a fair chance that that word was invented by Shakespeare or picked up from a random language)! You voraciously and furiously check out the meaning and that’s when you feel satisfied. And then, you are introduced to the legendary Shakespeare – a massive troll I tell you – and you read a few lines of his original works and you either drop the book in spellbound awe or continue reading due to the same reason. You read with heart because Romeo and Juliet were foolish, Hamlet isn’t the spawn of Ham and MacBeth isn’t a hamburger. Aristocratic English becomes your fascination, because, hey, who doesn’t adore Robert Downey Jr. saying “Doth Mother know you weareth her drapes?”
When you finally think you’ve got it, you get questions which make you think. What is the difference between listening and hearing? Rejuvenate and resurrect? Envy and jealousy? Genuine and authentic? Admit and confess? Heal and cure? Difference between being content and being satisfied? Or when to put ‘a’ or ‘an’ before abbreviations and acronyms?Or whether the sentence structure is right or not? As a kid, I often used to think aloud a sentence and if it didn’t sound right, I decided it was wrong. My judgement was eight on ten times right. Not blowing my own trumpet, but definitely banging my own drum.
I have always believed, that greater proficiency in language has to be used to help others communicate and put forward their points and ideas better rather than putting them off and unnecessarily flaunting. Because words, if properly woven can create a web of intricate detail which enchants you, traps you into a world with special abilities and special scenarios. They can be the ointment on the scars of life. Words, if carelessly used and spewed, can corrupt, harm, create strife and be the source of death. The pen is mightier than the sword, and the tongue is even greater. A drawn sword can still be sheathed, a blabbered insult cannot. Because sometimes, the deepest scars are not visible, and are a reason of inappropriately said, unwanted words. While the usage of words is a delicate job, the lack of words is the workshop of illegitimate thoughts. So many differences and distances have popped up in lives all around the world simply because the parties haven’t exchanged enough between them.
Words are not just permutations and combinations of the alphabet governed by a set of rules, they are a key. The key to yourself, to your communication partner, and to the entire world.