Mind Your Language

Is it possible to have a language that only you can understand?  It’s easy to imagine having a few phrases that are very personal to you, that make no sense to others – calling a sponge a scrubber may seem logical to you, but may raise eyebrows if brought up in conversation with others.  A truly personal language, however, a language that only you can interpret?  This is much harder to grasp.  I think it can be better defined, rather than a private language, as a way of tracking one’s emotions during a documented event.  As an example, let us discuss anger.  I know how I feel when I am truly angry, but is it the same as someone else who describes themselves as angry?  Is it with the same ferocity?  Does it lead on to other emotions?  Is the anger caused by two very different experiences: jealousy versus embarrassment?  If I then document my experience as being ‘angry’, when I read it back, I know what this means; I can understand what anger, to me, means,  But if someone else reads my document and sees the word ‘anger’, will they interpret it differently?  Will they read ‘anger’ and trigger an emotional response within them that relates to a time when they have experienced ‘anger’?  

 

Obviously, we can all look at a dictionary definition of the word anger, and find a generalised, publically accepted definition of what it means to be angry, but this is simply an 85th percentile rule definition: one that most of us agree is the best way to describe that emotion.  It is the same with colours.  I see red, and you may also see red, but is it the exact same red.  Is your view more pinky, and mine more orangey, but we both say it is red, as that is the closest approximation of the colour we ‘see’.  

 

I think that we can have such a thing as a private language – one that only we truly can understand it’s complete meaning – but it can be interpreted by others.  It may not be an exact translation of my language, but it is a very close approximation.  I guess, this is true of any language spoken.  When I form a verbal sentence, I have to use the vocabulary that I have collected over my lifetime, to try and articulate what I am thinking.  It may not be exactly what I am thinking, but it is close enough for someone else to understand.  It’s a window into my mind, but one that is slightly frosted.  

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