At the heart of things

Why is language so important, you may ask? After all, it’s the most everyday thing, apart from the air, or the sun.

But just take a look around. Language is everywhere. You can connect language with pretty much everything.

Language and politics. There are “big” languages and “small” languages – even if political correctness has replaced this label in the past years. There are language wars – the survival of the fittest measured by the political “fitness” of the rival communities. There are countries in the world where there is a second official language, just because the country is – or was in the near past – politically subordinated to another state.

Language and economics – and finance. Language wars are also fought on economic grounds. This is how “standard” German, English etc were established in the history. Languages are learned because an economic power is invading the markets.

Language and the social structure. Listen to someone talking and you’ll know how “middle-class” they are.

Language and religion. Listen to the church representatives, or read religious texts and you will experience a different range of meanings and of registers. Witness a religious service and you will understand the importance of ritualic words.

Language and feelings. Ask yourself why you speak a foreign language so well, or so poorly. Is it maybe because you love, or hate it – or its culture? How efficient are you when you learn a language, if you like it, or if you don’t? If you speak several languages, do you feel a different person when you speak each?

Language and psychology. Think about manipulation in political speeches, or in the media. Think about psychotherapy. Think about why you prefer a certain language – is it because, you say, it “suits me better”?

Language and philosophy and arts. So many different meanings and shades of meanings. The incredible power of words to convey images and visions.

Language and sciences. How scientific language differs from our everyday talk!

Really, is there any part of our existence that is not related to language? That is not dependend, or anchored in, language?