The Meaning of…….


It’s interesting how we put different meanings to words – depending on our

  • values
  • cultural upbringing
  • or perspective.

My background as a language teacher allows me to explore words both in English and Japanese. The artistic side of my brain is nourished by the beauty of the Japanese characters, whilst the logical side enjoys the structure which allows the character to be written in a balanced way.

Language and the love of words has always featured in my life and was nurtured by my grandmother who wrote “racy”novels for Mills and Boon in the 1920’s using a pseudonym as it “wasn’t the done thing to do” in her social circles in Colonial India. There is even the family story of being distantly related to a Poet Laureate, but not substantiated.

As a child in England, I have memories of the family sitting down and competing to get the best score in the Reader’s Digest Increase your Word Power and ongoing games of Lexicon and Scrabble. We didn’t have a TV until I was 15, then it was quickly disposed of when my grades at school plummeted.

I remember feeling surprised when talking to a student in a relaxed moment on a school camp, when he revealed that I was known to be slightly eccentric because of my extended vocabulary. Teaching students to find a better or alternative word became more than a passing interest after the tedium of marking essays filled with vernacular and repetitive words. The discovery an Edward de Bono book that had exercises using words was incorporated into language coaching classes and students given games to play using the thesaurus on the computer.

Even more recently, I was looking up a word in the dictionary – yes I still use a paper one – I ruminated on the words following…..

I was following up an idea about manifesting, as per  The Secret and all of that….(another post perhaps) when I noticed that the word following was “Manifesto”.

I bought a copy of the “Communist Manifesto” in a tiny bookshop in Nelson (NZ) in the late 1970’s that  my parents threw out when they “repacked” my stuff, not realizing that I bought it out of historical interest and not ideological alignment.

Again perspective comes into to the picture!

So how do you feel about the term Manifesto?

If an organization that you had contact with in the free, democratic world used it,  how would you react?

Do you see it as something that clarifies their position, states  their policy or something more?

If you are a Baby Boomer, as I am, what emotional attachment have you inherited from the word? Implications of control, compliance…….?

Then I turned the page and found some new words to ponder……………


One thought on “The Meaning of…….

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