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Geek Speak: Say WHAT?

shutterstock_116997754Geek speak can be a conundrum. Geek speak or oblique speak…can make it challenging for some relationships to thrive (e.g., Doctors and Patients, Caregivers and Care-Receivers, Parents and Children, Teachers and Students, Partners and Friends, Me-Tarzan, You-Jane or joan -lol and So-called Leaders and So-called Followers, etc.)

In case You need to know, i have nothing whatsoever against geeks (aka Super-Smart and/or Experts in their given field)…i use this term “geek” endearingly!..i’ve known (appreciated, liked very much) many geeks in my life and consider myself…a wannabe lol:) Hey, don’t we all wannabe…something?! giggle, giggle🙂

Yes, some subjects are ineffable. Personally (don’t mind), i prefer terse verse. i “attempt” pellucidity! Though, my ebulliently discursive posts..may speak/tell/shout/whisper/reveal otherwise. 😉

Deep comprehension and clear understanding in communication is crucial to wellness. When an atmosphere of trust, dignity, respect, mutual understanding, love exists, communication is open and free. Pride, haughtiness and sometimes…big words-lol…can cause confusion, misunderstanding or be damaging/lethal to any relationship (and/or post/communication/conversation)!

Humility is a key component to compassionate communication and word choice. i’m always working on this quality (humility) or (the quality of this positive trait) because i don’t want my (attempts of) so-called “aiding” any BeautifulBreathingFragileLife to be (and/or come off as) officious or presumptuous.

Don’t all of us want to be understood?? To be heard?? or be helped when needed??…IF You’ve ever been ignored, misunderstood or misjudged–you get–you know–you understand–it can be life-threatening depending on context/circumstance! To be fully understood means to be fully appreciated. To be fully appreciated means to be fully valued. (To be fully valued means justice.) Justice takes time to unfold. Same with appreciation. Same with comprehension. Ah, patience…(i need more!)

Who doesn’t want to be fully appreciated and fully valued and fully heard or have your words, thoughts and feelings matter??  Then, perhaps, we need to modify our speech. Change our language to better suit our hearing or unhearing audience…

Take for example, the juxtaposition of a timid whisperer and a bold shouter. May be, IF we are timid whisperers, we need to become bold shouters…and IF we are bold shouters, we need to become timid whisperers…depending on audience (depending on their hearing/understanding/communication style/skills), eh?!

Some communicators are direct, others indirect…i like both. (Some communicators are soft. Some communicators are hard. Some communicators are convoluted. Some communicators trust simplicity.)

Psycholinguistics is sorta fascinating/interesting to me…cause i like interdisciplinarity…Unity, Harmony, Symphony….Greek: symphōnos, “harmonious”…Effective communicators unite regardless! Effective communication enables us to combine intellectual power, to combine knowledge progressively in our search for Truth! 🙂

I recently heard an illustration about tuning a guitar…before You play…You tune…all instruments need tuning…likewise all relationships especially close-partnerships (i.e. marriage) need tuning or adjustments for better communication synchronization.

“There is no such thing as a Stone Age language.” ~Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor/Author of: The Language Instinct

“Every culture which has been investigated, no matter how ‘primitive’ it may be in cultural terms, turns out to have a fully developed language, with a complexity comparable to those of the so-called ‘civilized’ nations.” ~The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language

I’ve touched this topic (language/psychobabble synchronization) of importance in a comment on my post regarding NSSI: Part 2: Caregiving & Coping with Disturbing Behavior: Non-Suicidal Self-Injury: 3 Tips!

As a psychiatrist who has published widely on NSSI I am writing to let you know that NSSI does NOT include overdoses or self-poisoning in the large American literature on the topic.. They dynamics of the two are different. However, in England overdoses are considered to be NSSI and this is why research findings are difficult to compare. ~Armando Favazza

Hi Dr. Armando:)THANKS for taking the time to read my blog and respond! Your comment well illustrates the importance of common/universal language and easily understood definitions of important terms(like NSSI)for better communication, research, caregiving, treatment, etc. Too much Psycho-”babel”:)as in “confusion” makes it difficult for everyone involved. Reminds me of the biblical account of Nimrod and one of the first cities to be built after the flood. “Babel’s God-defying program centered around construction of a religious tower “with its top in the heavens.” It was not built for the worship and praise of Yahweh, but was dedicated to false man-made religion, with a motive of making a “celebrated name” for the builders” (excerpt Insight on Scriptures)…Wrote Josephus: “[Nimrod] little by little transformed the state of affairs into a tyranny, holding that the only way to detach men from the fear of God was by making them continuously dependent upon his own power. He threatened to have his revenge on God if He wished to inundate the earth again; for he would build a tower higher than the water could reach and avenge the destruction of their forefathers. The people were eager to follow this advice of [Nimrod], deeming it slavery to submit to God; so they set out to build the tower . . . and it rose with a speed beyond all expectation.”—Jewish Antiquities, I, 114, 115 (iv, 2, 3).

Genesis 11:1 ”Now all the earth continued to be of one language and of one set of words.” Verse 7 “Come now! Let us go down and there confuse their language that they may not listen to one another’s language.” 8 Accordingly Yahweh scattered them from there over all the surface of the earth, and they gradually left off building the city. 9 That is why its name was called Ba′bel, because there Yahweh had confused the language of all the earth, and Yahweh had scattered them from there over all the surface of the earth.” So after the confusion of language the building stopped, people scattered throughout the earth…”How frustrated the builders must have been when suddenly they were unable to discuss what had happened, much less reach a consensus as to why it happened! No doubt many theories were advanced, their diversity augmented by the inability of the language groups to communicate.”

“When these groups scattered into different parts of the earth, they naturally took along their religious theories. As time passed, these ideas, although basically the same, became colored by local tradition and events. From “only one religion” there soon arose “a hundred versions of it.” Clearly, this first experiment in religious-political activity had turned out badly. Its consequences have spanned the centuries to touch you, a fact you can appreciate if you have ever tried to discuss religion with someone of another faith. Even common religious words like “God,” “sin,” “soul,” and “death” mean different things to different people. Apt are the words of English scholar John Selden, who 300 years ago said: “If the matter were well examined, you would scarce find three [persons] anywhere of the same religion in all points.” (excerpt “2369 -1943 B.C.E.–A Hunter, a Tower and You!”)

The New Encyclopedia Britannica says: “The earliest records of written language, the only linguistic fossils man can hope to have, go back no more than about 4,000 or 5,000 years.” (This time frame fits in well with what Bible chronology allows.)

Some recent readings/tidbits on the topic of language origins and the Tower of Babel:

 “That is tricky,” says the Economist magazine. “Unlike biologists, linguists do not have fossils to guide them through the past.” The magazine adds that one evolutionary linguist arrives at his conclusions by “mathematically informed guesswork.

Nevertheless, ‘linguistic fossils’ do exist. What are these fossils, and what do they reveal regarding the origin of human languages?

The New Encyclopedia Britannica explains: “The earliest records of written language, the only linguistic fossils man can hope to have, go back no more than about 4,000 or 5,000 years.”

Where did archaeologists discover these ‘linguistic fossils,’ or ‘records of written language’? In lower Mesopotamia — the site of ancient Shinar.

Hence, the available physical evidence is in agreement with the facts stated in the Bible.

Archaeologists have unearthed several pyramid like, stepped temple-towers in the vicinity of Shinar.

The Bible says that the tower builders at Babel laid bricks, not stone, and used bitumen as mortar. (Genesis 11:3, 4)

In Mesopotamia, stone was “rare or even entirely absent,” says The New Encyclopedia Britannica,
while bitumen was plentiful.

Thus, the Bible does not say that all modern languages can be traced to a single “mother tongue.” Rather, it describes the sudden appearance of several apparently fully developed new languages, each capable of expressing the range of human feeling and thought and each different and distinct from the

What about the language groups of the world today? Are they fundamentally similar or different?

Cognitive scientist Lera Boroditsky wrote: “As linguists probed deeper into the world’s languages (7,000 or so, only a fraction of them analyzed), innumerable unpredictable differences emerged.” Yes, although tongues and dialects of one language family, such as Cantonese and Hakka in southern China, may be similar to one another, they are fundamentally different from those of another language family, say West Catalan or Valencian in Spain. ~Did Our Languages Come From The Tower of Babel?

Check this out, piece i read…about language legends echoing truth:

“Once upon a time all the people lived in one large village and spoke one tongue,” according to a story told by a hill tribe in Myanmar. While building a great tower, the builders “gradually acquired different manners, customs, and ways of speech, [eventually] being scattered all over the land.”

Similar legends are found among indigenous peoples of Africa, East Asia, Mexico, and elsewhere. If the Babel account had been an invention by Moses, the Hebrew writer of Genesis, would it have cropped up in the legends of such far-flung national and language groups? That is very unlikely. Thus, the existence of such diverse legends and tales testifies to the credibility of the Babel account in the Bible.

In order for all BeautifulBreathingFragileLife to find consensus, PEACE, unity/symphony: we all must speak in agreement, be well-tuned, readily understood. Our language shapes our thinking. Our language shapes our living. Our language shapes our wellness. Our language shapes choices/understanding of: size, shape, location, amount, value, medicine, respect, love, trust.

Read this interesting example in above-mentioned article:

In one language a person says, “There is a bug on your right hand.” But in another language, one would say, “There is a bug on your southwest hand.”


Whatever we speak–Geek🙂 or not, let’s make it kind, loving, understandable!  Whatever hand we use: right or southwest, let’s make it helpful and healing!

Can we patiently work on compassionate communication together?! 🙂


photo-communication-concept-hand-and-word available at Shutterstock

photo-making-the-right-choice available at Shutterstock

Geek Speak: Say WHAT?

Joan Winifred

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APA Reference
Winifred, J. (2013). Geek Speak: Say WHAT?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 26 Aug 2013
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