Language and Learning Influences Our Way Of Being

Language and learning ontological coachingLanguage, moods/emotions and body are the three interrelated spheres of ontological learning that influence our way of being.  Our way of being is the internal reality we live in, which includes the relationship we have with ourselves.

What do you mean by “Language”?

Language consists of listening and speaking not only to others but includes the internal dialogue we have with ourselves.  Language has been regarded as the fundamental human technology.  It is the tool we have created that separates us from other animals.  It is also the tool that we can never put down. We are immersed in language much like a fish is immersed in water. The fish doesn’t even notice the water until he is no longer in it.  Language is such a transparent part of who we are that we often are unaware of the influence it has on us. The language we live in, how we speak to each other in our communities and how we speak to ourselves inside our heads, determine the possibilities for coordinating with others and what actions are available for us to take. 

  • Language is descriptive: We describe the world around us.
  • Language is generative: We use language to generate meaning in all areas of our lives.
  • Language is action: We use language, speaking and listening, to get things done. 

Speech Acts

Our daily living is one of continually performing speech acts.  There are six general categories of speech acts that are common to all cultures, regardless of their native language spoken.

  1. Declarations: Definitive statements, made with authority, which bring about a different reality. Example: The clergy declares you husband and wife.  Dad declares you’re grounded. You declare you will never ______ .
  2. Assertions: We describe the world. Statement of facts. Example: It’s raining outside.  I am a woman. 
  3. Assessments:  We express our opinions and judgements.  Example:  What a beautiful day.  He’s lazy.  I’m a good parent.
  4. Requests: Attempts to have people do things for us.
  5. Offers:  We put ourselves forward to do things for others.
  6. Promises:  When we commit ourselves to do things.

How we use and do not use language opens and closes possibilities for how well we can take care of our concerns and the concerns of others.  Language has a profound, subtle, and often invisible power to open or close possibilities. Through language we have the capacity to enrich or destroy each other and our own lives.

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