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The Power of Language

Language by definition is the “communication of thoughts and feelings through a system of arbitrary signals, such as voice sounds, gestures, or written symbols” (The Free Dictionary). Language is one of the most amazing and powerful tool a human being possesses is stronger than economic wealth and in my opinion stronger than actual political power.

The origins of human language will perhaps remain forever obscure. By contrast the origin of individual languages has been the subject of very precise study over the past two centuries. There are about 5000 languages spoken in the world today (a third of them in Africa), but scholars group them together into relatively few families - probably less than twenty. Languages are linked to each other by shared words or sounds or grammatical constructions. The theory is that the members of each linguistic group have descended from one language, a common ancestor. In many cases that original language is judged by the experts to have been spoken in surprisingly recent times - as little as a few thousand years ago (Origins of language). Here we see that language is by far one of oldest and most perfect human creations, oldest than the wheel and fire. The need to communicate and the complexity of life evolved the language to the form we all know it. Today the right use of language is considered as one of the main advantages of a person, making it an integral part of modern life. A good example of the power of the language is politics. Where language becomes a tool that can control millions of peoples without any other mean but the language.

What we call intuition is the natural power that some individual has in order to have feelings about his environment. Intuition is something that most of the peoples do not take the time to express by words. However some individuals have the ability to synchronize their feelings and thoughts with words. These individuals that can express better the feelings of the masses and create a trustworthy personality usually became politicians or even more political leaders. By expressing the beliefs and values of the masses, leaders gain the trust of the persons they address to. The strongest link between language and power is persuasion.

As I mentioned earlier the complexity of the language is what gives it a great power. As an example of the power of the language can be seen the propaganda, by this term we mean “the systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause.” Propaganda is actually based on rite use of language in order to persuade peoples. Adolf Hitler's abilities of public speaking were to master level; he understood the importance if this power and gave to the propaganda a new level. As a result of this Hitler's ability we had WWII.

Moreover, public speaking is not the only way of using the power of language in order to persuade peoples. Millions and millions of persons read written language through typed and electronic press every single day, giving to the Medias power to control the masses. Also major novelists, such as J. K. Rowling that have written several best sellers like The Harry Potter novels of have been made into films that are attended by a major scale from the public at theaters. It is in this way that J. K. Rowling has gained power over the readers of her novels and the viewers of the movies. One kid in Great Britain suffered from third grade burns that were caused to him when he tried to replicate an experiment depicted in the novel. This is an extreme example on how language can manipulate a person's thoughts and actions.

The power of language has manifested its dynamism and has shaped history in numerous occasions. By the year 1517, Martin Luther fastened to the door of the church in Wittenberg a manuscript list of 95 propositions. Martin Luther among many other thesis denied that the pope had the right to forgive sins through the sale of indulges. The same list that he fastened in the door of the church was widely diffused in Germany and Europe causing a great controversy. In this case the power of the written language had as a cause the Protestant Reformation.

But the use of the power of language can not only be seen in history but in every day life as well. An example is the world of marketing “If your marketing activities aren't successfully moving your audience to the desired actions, you find it difficult to move prospects to a decision, or you're unable to get buy-in for your ideas, your power of persuasion may need some help” (Alyssa Gregory). This shows that nowadays peoples without high communication abilities have denied access to many professions in which the use of language is of vital importance. In addition as an example of the power of the language I want to justice. Lawyers are known for their capabilities of using the proper language in the proper time. In many cases the accused, despite scientific evidence presented to the court, were finally found not guilty because of the amazing skills in the use of language by their lawyers.

In conclusion I want to emphasize the role of a shaping power that the Language has. The world was shaped and continues to be shaped by the language. A person with high abilities of use of language can transmit an exact vision and even more can persuade others to one point of view. Language is knowledge and this is why knowledge is power.

References

“The Free Dictionary” <http://www.thefreedictionary.com/language>

“The Power of Persuasion” <http://www.sitepoint.com/blogs/2009/10/19/power-of-persuasion/>