Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > General > Distinguished English Linguist: Time to understand words DO affect our perceptions of the world and one another

Distinguished English Linguist: Time to understand words DO affect our perceptions of the world and one another

By Laurel Airica
Laurel Airica

“Speak a new language so the world will be a new world.” Rumi

A concept that has gone in and out of fashion among linguists for decades is that words affect perceptions. This would seem obvious to most of us. But now cognitive science has proven beyond doubt that this is true.

So, what would you do if you knew that the words in your mind-mouth-ears – and throughout the at-most-fear – were literally ‘bugged?’ What if you discovered that the food-for-thought packed into letters and words contained cultural biases – akin to computer viruses – that infected the thinking of long-dead people and have profoundly affected your own worldview?


Would you want to spit them out in a hurry – or at least clean up your speech?

As one who has spent a lifetime playing in the magical undercurrent of word symbols and sounds, I have come to the conclusion that English is largely a fear-based language of limitation and persuasion toward conformity and mediocrity. And I think we need to do something about it.

Betrayed By Our Own Tongue

“The Women say the language you speak poisons your glottis tongue palate lips. They say, the language you speak is made up of words that are killing you.”

Consider the sad ring of ‘mourning’ that greets us each new day as we come ‘a wake’ from our nightly immersion in our personal Life’s Dream. Hear how the ‘week days’ sounds like the ‘weak daze’ and how ‘weekend’ is hardly different from ‘weakened’ – which is precisely how so many of us feel after being pulverized by the ‘daily grind’ through which we endeavor to ‘urn’ our living at various jobs and ‘undertakings’.

What a somber vision of a fallen life such words conjure together when shown in trance-lation. It’s little wonder, then, that our most common salutation to each other is ‘HELL-o’. Ten years of such mind-numbing living is termed a ‘decade,’ which the British so wisely pronounce ‘decayed.’

We are almost as unconscious to words (and their subliminal inferences) as fish are to water. Yet according to Scriptures, “Life and death are in the power of the tongue.” This means that just as we alter what we see through our acts of observation, so what we say helps define our life experiences. For not only is it ‘done onto you as you believe’ but ‘decree a thing thus and it shall be established onto you.’

We are constantly decreeing what we are not even hearing or seeing – through the unheard words that cohabit the vibrations we give voice to every day. By assuming that anagrams, puns and the ‘cymbals’ of the alphabet have little, if any significance or impact, we have virtually ex-communicated ourselves from knowledge of the power of The Word to reflect and shape our world – and from our response-ability to take command of the language and make profound ‘See Changes’ in the polluted Ocean of Human Consciousness.

But where does all this pollution come from?

In The Language of the Birds, author/mythologist William Henry explains that –

“Our brains are primarily formatted by the commercial Roman alphabet and worldview instituted by force in the early 400’s. The Roman worldview has nearly completely separated us from nature, from the world of interpenetrating patterns, the web of life in which our lives are intricately weaved. [Sic] As a result, our civilization is more interested in churning out kids with master’s degrees in business than it is in allowing true spiritual mastery to gently emerge. Fortunately, however, if we can speak English we all have access to the Language of the Birds and access to our true selves.”

Through commerce and conquest, we have ‘put a lot of English’ on the globe. And the spin this has placed on humanity’s whirled-view has left many too dizzy to decipher the Actual from the factual, the Real from the reel, the Cosmic from the comic.

We are caught in a web of illusions – many of which have been spun by our words.

The late plant-based consciousness explorer and wisdom teacher Terrence McKenna intuited that, “We are inside some kind of linguistic construct that springs from out of the collective unconscious of all of us.” He concluded that, “all possibilities exist but we have to deconstruct the cultural tyrannies of language.”

What are these ‘cultural tyrannies?’ How are we to deconstruct them? And what can we do to upgrade our language so that it can support the fullest cultivation and expression of our authentic Selves?

It is fortunate that wordplay holds some real answers to these questions, for “Wordplay is one of the most beloved practices of human beings the world over and throughout recorded time.” Wordplay also offers entrée into the Language of the Birds.

The Language of the Birds

“…. Solomon … said, “O people, we have been taught the language of birds, and we have been given from all things. Indeed, this is evident bounty.”

Imagine speaking a language that is as sonically nourishing to Nature as birdsong (which has been proven to enhance the growth of plants). According to ancient legends, humans did once speak such a language that was so vibrantly resonant with all of Creation that all we had to do was ask and we received – without the lag time and personal frequency adjustments currently required to become magnetically attractive to that which we desire.

This was the condition we refer to as Paradise. And ironically –

… the fact that all needs were met
may even be the reason Need and Eden
share the same three letters
of the Alphabet.

According to Mr. Henry, this original language was called ‘The Green Language’ and ‘The Language of the Birds’ – possibly because of its compatibility with natural harmonies and because birds are associated in mythology with angels. The Language of the Birds is a language of puns. He explains –

Because it uses phonetic resonance the Language of the Birds is called a ‘phonetic cabala’, a phonetic language code. … This code equates words that sound alike in different languages, connecting word concepts by sound in English. These language connections reveal astonishing literary and historical synchronicities or meaningful coincidences that point to the interconnectedness of all creation.

What are our chances of ever recovering and reviving this mystic, holistic linguistic sound system of Human-Nature interpenetration (or what we could call ‘communification’) – which was said to confer enlightenment, re-open the gates to Paradise, and “bio-physically reprogram the human body to a higher (or lighter) being capable of entering this gateway”?

Our chances are probably not very good.

However, William Henry identifies English as the Language of Birds. And documentarian Ken Burns calls English ‘the most powerful force on Earth.” So, given that English is rebuilding Babel’s tower – in the sense that it is the language that facilitates global communication – we could actually create the Language of the Birds anew by putting wings on our words to empower our ascension.

Toward a New Word Ardor

“What cannot be said cannot be created by the community. So what we need then is the forced evolution of language.”

When we speak, it’s like casting our prayers to the wind. As we wRite, we are conjuring energies to configure along the lines we have inscribed upon the page. So, how much more effective might we be if we evolved our language concurrently with our consciousness to support our more enlightened explorations and expressions?

Those of us who chant sacred syllables regularly to attune ourselves to universal harmonies – enjoy an extraordinary flow of favorable synchronicities among many other beneficial consequences. So, imagine what could happen if globally, creatively and progressively we endeavored together to ‘tune-up’ the English language to convey a higher frequency of consciousness in our communications and inspire a greater frequency of kindness in our interactions.

Since we possess the awesome ‘power to name,’ it is clearly up to us to evolve English into a language of the Heart. The fact that Heart and Earth are practically the same word – differing only in the placement of the Letter H – to my mind underscores the appropriateness of such an undertaking. How else could we possibly talk our way back into accord with each other and with the systems and the cycles of our Mother Earth?

With the recognition of Divine Mind as our ‘heart drive,’ we can start downloading and sharing heartening new symbols, sounds, words, metaphors and phrases that give voice to the exquisite octaves of Love-Beauty many of us are now accessing in consciousness – but which are currently beyond expression primarily because of the limitations of our language.

In The Language Crystal, author Lawrence William Lyons writes that, “A force foretold as the Second Coming is ‘the Word’ itself.” By reversing the linguistic curse that was put upon our consciousness long ago, we may more readily learn the simple truths that have been hidden in plain view in the mirroring dogma of our everyday language.

Once we re-cognize that we are each an eye/I of the Creator, and can say with conviction that I Am God, we will need no dogma to guide our way. Our mind will be guided by the wisdom of our heart. Thus, compass-ion will be our natural direction.

So here are three questions worth asking ourselves and considering together: Could a global movement for linguistic improvement help create a Global Warming of the Heart? Could we generate a high enough degree of warmth to precipitate our evolutionary transformation from HumanKind to HumanKindness? And wouldn’t this be a good time to put our ‘articles of faith’ in the Power of the Word to the Ultimate Test?

“Come my friends, ‘tis not too late to seek a newer world.”

(Editor’s note: Footnotes for quoted material are available in the original article published in the July/Aug. 2012 issue of Awareness Magazine under the title “The Language of the Birds.”)

Laurel Airica is a Santa Monica-based freelance writer and an English Language linguist who has spent a lifetime exploring the means by which the World is fashioned from the Word. She shares her discoveries through articles, books, workshops and performance/presentations of WordMagic: An Enchanted Literary Entertainment (

Related posts

Leave a comment