Thursday, 26 June 2014

Creativity In Language

"an anonymous, collective and unconscious art; the result of the creativity of thousands of generations." - Edward Sapir

For me, the most fascinating part of the human language, something which makes it so unique and so powerful, is its room for creativity. It is not simply a means of communication as it is for animals; it is a tool with which we engage with the world around us. It is our way of describing and making sense of our surroundings, like no other species can. Literaturemusic, theatre - where would we be without language? Yes, it may have begun simply as a means by which our ancestors could communicate with each other better, a way of hunting or foraging more efficiently in times when survival was our only goal. But today, when it is no longer a case of every man for themselves, the human language has become something quite different.
Language is inextricably linked with our society, with our culture and with our traditions. It is fundamental to the entire experience of human life; it defines us. We can see it everywhere and there's no escaping it.
Literature is of course the most obvious example. Books, poetry, newspapers, magazines; today's society is controlled by words. Writers manipulate language, meticulously construct each and every sentence to conjure up in our minds a specific image or to draw from us a particular emotion. Similes, metaphors, irony; only because of our language's uniquely symbolic nature are these concepts even remotely possible. I think it's remarkable that simply shapes on a page are able to make us laugh or reduce us to tears, or produce the most detailed picture in our mind of a person or place we've never seen before. Language is, in itself, an art form.

Words are powerful. They can persuade, move, manipulate, shock. A carefully constructed advertising slogan, an intriguing newspaper headline or a well-chosen book title is able to grab our attention and perhaps even convince us to buy that product, that particular newspaper or that new novel.

This is again why language is something so personal. We can be creative with the language we use; tailor it to fit our own personality and use it in a way which represents our own unique thoughts and ideas. 

"Our language is the reflection of ourselves. A langauge is an exact reflection of the character and growth of its speakers." - Cesar Chavez

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