The Language of Communication

I was dreaming some story about a guy who wouldn’t say or acknowledge hearing words which ended in S, unless they were plurals. His first name ended in S, so he wouldn’t respond unless you called him by his middle or last name. Somehow he had a following.

That sounded strange until I remember that I wouldn’t say my Rs correctly when I was young. This got me into speech class which was way more interesting than my regular class. The reason I wouldn’t say them is that I learned how to speak near Boston, where they pronounce Rs as Ws and vice-versa. I just did the vice and not the versa.

In spite of strange self-imposed rules like that, language is important. I’m somewhat of a language expert. I pick up other languages quickly, and often use words or phrases from foreign languages (and sometimes made up languages) in my books. I created a meta-language for computers (and for programmers and non-programmers to communicate) called Hi5ive. A metalanguage is a language to describe other languages. Hi5ive does this by reducing computer languages to their common elements. It has very few commands or statements. I guess Hi5ive is really more of a universal computer language than a metalanguage. Esperanto is another universal language.

English is theoretically a Universal Language. I can go almost anywhere and somebody will speak English. I have been places where no one spoke English. And once in Mexico, somebody tried to speak English to me, very poorly. We could have understood each other much better speaking Spanish, even though I spoke Spanish from Spain, rather than Mexico at the time. Still, he was trying. And I appreciated that. A question on Twitter today was whether “you Americans would understand the term chav”. I know some British terms, but had to look that one up. In my opinion, if you’re writing a British book or are a Brit writing a book, use British terms. There are plenty of dictionaries on the web. If you know that a term might throw readers off or that they won’t get the story if they don’t look it up, put it in context. That’s my answer.

Speaking of terms one might not understand, consider trade languages. If you work in a certain trade – computers, for example, there are terms that you use which are only understood by those in the trade. And that’s ok, within the trade. It can form a camaraderie. It can let you know that this person understands the work – though they may only know the terms and not what they really mean.

Somebody once asked me what technology platforms I use. Even though I work with computers, I had no idea what she meant. I asked her to put it in other terms, no response. If she was trying to get new customers, it didn’t work. But it often happens that people speak to those outside their trade, using terms of their trade, expecting them to know what they’re talking about. I’m probably guilty of the same, but I try to explain things in terms that others will understand while not talking down to them. Sometimes the easiest way to do this is to put it in simple terms of a trade language. The other person may not understand those, but when they ask, it will be easier for me to think of other terms that they might understand. I try not to spout off acronyms that I forget (or never knew) the meaning of.

When I write, I often look up words, especially if they’re slang. I want to make sure they’re not racist or otherwise derogatory. If they are, I find another term which is not.

Hawaiian Words you Should Know

heart drawn in the sand

There are several lists on the Internet of Hawaiian words you should know. These lists invariably list words the author thinks you should know before visiting Hawaii.

I have my own list of about 140 very useful words. I have these lists of English words, which I created from my own travels and have translated into various languages – Hawaiian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Thai. You can purchase these or other handy tourist “cards” from Yellow Bear Journeys for a donation of $5 or more. I can also provide the list in other languages, but that will cost you more than the already prepared lists. I started a Chamorro language card, but most of the “tourist” words don’t have Chamorro equivalents.

But I digress. This article about Hawaiian Words is about words which have deep meaning. These are words which draw you into deeper oneness with all that is.

The first Hawaiian word, which probably almost every knows is Aloha. Wehewehe  tells us that Aloha means Love, Compassion, Affection, Mercy, Sympathy, Pity, Kindness, etc. Aloha is used for both Hello and Goodbye. Aloha can also mean Remember.
Alo means Front, Face, or Presence. Ha means (among other things) Breath, so Aloha means The Presence Breathes or The Breath of the Presence is here. It could mean We are Present, let’s Breathe! Ha also means Four – a reference to the Four major Gods, so Aloha means the Gods are with us.

Mahalo is used mostly for Thank You. From it’s roots it means May the Breath flow through you.
In Star Wars terms, Aloha means The Force is strong in this one. Mahalo means, May the Force be with you.

Hoaloha means Friend. It means, We share Aloha.

Ohana means Family and includes all your besties or best friends. An Ohana is an extended family, some of whose members may only be spiritually related. Ohana can be extended to mean we are all one family. Children (Keiki) in Hawaii call most adults Aunty and Uncle. Ohana means we share the same roots. Ohana means we remember who we are. Ohana means we share responsibility for making sure our roots grow into healthy, nourishing plants.

Malu is one of several Hawaiian words meaning Peace. Malu means Shade, Shelter, Peace. Lulu means to lie quietly in calm water. Kuapapa means Good Things are Piled up. Niau means Flowing. Ku’u means Set free.

Kaulike means Equality, Evenly balanced, Made alike.

Aina means Land, or That which feeds or Food Source or Nourisher.

Melemele means Yellow. More deeply it means Song of Songs or Heartfelt Song. So Yellow Bear is the Bear with the Heartfelt Song or Song Bear. I don’t do much singing these days, but there’s always a song in my heart.

Many words and phrases in many languages have deep meanings. Sometimes the meaning varies, depending on who you ask. Deep words are more meaningful, when you find the meaning yourself, hiding there in your own brain or thought stream.
If you come with us on Spiritual Beach Walks, we can help you find you own words which have deep meaning. One place to look for them, is to look at words and phrases you use a lot. That might require listening to yourself. It’s easier to understand the deep meaning of words when you understand your own deep meaning. And that’s usually where our Spiritual Beach Walks start. Helping you understand a little more clearly who you really are.

Le toca a ti, is a Spanish phrase, usually used when playing cards which means It’s your turn. Le toca a mi would be, It’s my turn or more literally, It touches to me. Le toca a mi has a deeper meaning of It’s my responsibility. No le toca a mi means It’s not my responsibility. Part of understanding who you are involves understanding when something needs to be attended to by you and when you need to allow somebody else to take care of it.

People who speak multiple languages are called polyglots. I, myself, am more of a poly-galoot.