Friday, September 9, 2011

Language Barricade

It is not money that makes the world go around: it is language. Without language, without the ability to communicate ideas, who would know that a piece of paper could hold enormous value?

For those who have learnt that a piece of paper can hold enormous value, money is language. Money, as they say, talks.

And like money, language, or at least your knowledge of language, can either help you or hinder you, as you travel through life.

Your language may be a barrier to getting what you want, or it may help you open doors.

Biologist, Mark Pagel, points out that language barriers have their uses. For example, if I’m talking to my buddies about a spear technology that I’ve invented, I don’t want some sneaky – ah – person from another village listening in and stealing my idea.

This example may seem unusual in the modern world. We don’t think about people stealing ideas: we live in a world that has elaborate systems that ensure the creator of an idea gets the credit they deserve. Well, most of the time anyway.

So, in the past, the language barrier may have helped us protect our technology without the need for lawyers.

But even today, and even amongst those who speak the same language, there can be barriers. Language can be a kind of code spoken amongst an elite few.

Jargon, legal terms, religious language, class and regional accents, separate those in the know (those in the group) from those who belong outside (those who should be treated with suspicion and, perhaps, derision).

Anyway, once you know there is a barrier in front of you, you can work out how to: remove it, get around it, or ignore it.

Just don’t expect me to share my Brachion 5000 spear technology with you willingly.

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