Language in peace and war

While Gerrod was off gallivanting around Washington, D.C. I was attending in an awesome lecture on “the use of language in war and peace”. It was the first instalment of the Secretary-General’s lecture series that I’ve attended and it was sooo interesting!

The two expert speakers were Professor Chinua Achebe, an incredibly accomplished 75-year-old Nigerian novelist with honorary degrees from over 30 universities, and Professor Paul Muldoon, a Pulitzer Prize winning poet from Northern Ireland.

Some of Professor Achebe’s best insights were:

  • The origin of language is to explain the world around us and to explain us to the world. We must stay true to this.
  • The integrity of language is constantly under threat: lies are free and easy to tell. To deceive is to destroy the integrity of words and to lesson their power.
  • We should be wary of word play that lessens the meaning of words. Here, Prof. Muldoon added a not-so-professorial insight: “for instance, how can we accept Starbucks calling their smallest drink a ‘tall’?”
  • The ability of language to mediate in human conflicts depends on our ability to trust what we hear.

In short: say less. Mean more.

Posted in everyday life
One comment on “Language in peace and war
  1. Katie says:

    wait…I’ve heard this somewhere before…now where was it?

    Oh yes.

    “Let your yes be yes, and your no be no. Anything more than this comes from the evil one.”

Leave a Reply

Recent Comments

  • Janet: Good luck, my Epson WP4530 is 18 months old and is giving me a paper jam error message. The paper isn’t out and there is no paper jam. I have spent 3 hours inspecting, cleaning and...
  • Jason: I did the tank swim many years ago as part of a work thing – pretty cool!
  • Leanne: Congratulations guys that is wonderful news!!!!
  • Nick: Hope you get better soon dude!! PS I’ve asked the misses for a new bike for my birthday with your initials on it :-)
  • Nick: Congratulations guys! So happy for you!!

Random Photos

Southbank

IMG_6748.JPG

Happy Moshers

Charlie

Hayley

Archives

2014 (36)
2013 (71)
2012 (87)
2011 (121)
2010 (159)
2009 (175)
2008 (137)
2007 (166)
2006 (235)
2005 (330)
2004 (278)