A commentary on the physical aspect of Words.
|Have you ever considered your 'words?' Do you pay attention to your words--what you say and what you write?
You can speak them, hear them, write them, record them, you can even eat them. And don't forget the unseen word--that which your actions often speak louder than.
Words are neat, they're cool. Without them, we could not survive.
They tear us down, they build us up,
They retaliate, they forgive,
They discourage, they encourage,
They make us laugh, they make us cry.
But most of all, they help us live, to communicate with fellow human beings.
How we use words defines us. They shape us, and mold us. Without them, our lives would be poorer indeed. whether dealing with others or with ourselves. Our words have more potential for good or harm than the mighty atom. And yet, few of us ever consider our words.
Twenty-six letters make up ALL the words of which one can think. How many is that? Mathematically, the number of possible combinations of letters exceeds 6 to the 36th power (that's 6,156,119,580,207,160,000,000,000,000,000,000,000). (Okay, I know that number is much too large--after all, do you know any words such as qzzybt or sfienyjjd. Thought not! But it's such a neat and LARGE number.)
Let's consider the average vocabulary of a person. According to Michael Quinion, of World Wide Words, it's common to see figures for vocabulary quoted such as 10,000-12,000 words for a 16-year-old, and 20,000-25,000 for a college graduate. These seem to not have much research to back them up. Usually they don't make clear whether active or passive vocabulary is being quoted, and they don't account for differences in lifestyle, profession and hobby interests between individuals.1
A person probably only uses ten to fifteen percent of these words on a daily basis. Even with the few words we use daily, think of how much trouble we could get into. Better yet, think of all the good that might be done.
An old Chinese proverb says good words taste sweet, bad words are bitter. So I made that up. But, I suspect there's truth in 'them there' words. The next time you want to communicate, think about your words. Sweeten them first before you turn them loose.
Word count: 422
1. Source: Internet. World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–2007. All rights reserved. (http://www.worldwidewords.org/articles/howmany.htm)