“What’s the better human invention: words or music?” Floja Roja’s question in Friday’s “The Daily F Bomb” diary spurred a number of answers. Most people said “words” but didn’t explain why.
Whether written or spoken, why are words so essential to us? Words explain, they shine, they bind us together and tear us apart. They tell the stories of the ages, into the past and into the future.
Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning. ~ Maya Angelou
What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic. ~ Carl Sagan
As noted above by Angelou, meaning may be created by tone of voice. Consider, for example, the ways a person might state “John Boehner is a strong leader.” They may sound earnest; they may sound sarcastic. Their tone of voice lets us know their intent.
The specific platform of delivery can provide information for us, too. If we know a “news” item was published by the Onion, we expect it to be tongue in cheek, even if otherwise it is completely believable.