Our family knows how to have huge fun with language—ask anyone who knows us. We are a peculiar verbal variety. Our relaxed wordplay stems from study of language, backgrounds and creative experimentation that has given confidence spurring our quirky communication.
Every family has their own set of specialized words that may stem from a toddler’s mispronunciation—perhaps words that ‘stuck’ and are too cute to let go.
Similarly, every group develops its own specific jargon. I’ve studied and worked in places where a major part of the training was learning the vocabulary—knowing the history and concepts behind words one may never have heard before.
Architects speak a different language than homemakers, bankers, webmasters, or theology students. Bring them all together for a community project, however, they must step out of ‘default language mode’ to find common ground of understanding each other.
Problems can arise when a person or group becomes egocentric in expecting ‘outsiders’ to adapt and strive to understand the ‘insider lingo’—with no dictionary to go along with it. Communication experts call this ‘high context’—no clear explanation is given and folks must sleuth out the hidden meanings that are implied, never sure of what is precisely being said. A notorious language barrier.
Spiritual groups are famous for this breach in communication. ‘Religious’ language often becomes the norm. But when used on folks outside a particular belief or denomination, relationship is strained and people feel like they do not belong.
Communication of the heart gets lost.
There are times to lay aside our worldview and make efforts to enter into others’ realities. Know thy audience. Don’t assume that others understand your insider lingo. Stretch out of your comfort zone to learn and speak THEIR ‘language’. It is the kind thing to do.
For fun, here is an example I received a while back…see if you can translate:
“But I would like to know, sister, have you been washed in the blood, dunked in the river, do you have your fire insurance? Have you been delivered? Have your shackles been loosed, bondages removed, have you experienced the fire? Can you walk through your dreams, do you see the orbs, have you drunk the new wine, done any rug time lately? Can you name it and claim it, confess it and possess it, blab it and grab it? Are you soaking in the Word? Are you possessing the land or just longing for your new body? You know that chilly Jordan river is waiting for us all. Tell me, sister, can you see the chariot coming over the hill? Now dance and say amen while waving your hands.”