Monday, January 12, 2009

The Power of Language

Pick the appropriate word and see the outcome shifts to your advantage, that's the power of language. In a video entitled 'The Persuader', one guy has taken the use of language to its greatest capacity. Frank Luntz, the man behind the terms: war on terror, climate change, and tax relief, shows how humans, most of the time, think not with their head but with their heart. And yes, men are included.  

It is frightening to see how easily people shifted their opposition to war at a simple modification of the term 'war in Iraq' to 'war on terror'. How people flock to support environment cause after the term 'global warming' was changed to 'climate change'. How the positive tone of 'tax relief' gained much wider support than the term 'tax cut'. 

This fact leads me to think if there were things that would have easily gone to the other direction had we mastered the art of language. Maybe if we had used the word 'baby execution' instead of 'abortion', this issue would not have been this heated. Maybe the word 'rescue plan' would have worked better than 'bail-out plan'. And maybe the US citizens would have been more favorable to immigrants had we used the word 'visitor' insted of 'alien'. 

Those examples are far from perfect but the point being is sometimes it only takes a simple cautiously well-thought word to shift people's perception. Now you know why 'organic food' and 'designer clothing' attract such crowd. It's not rocket-science. 

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