Steve Pinker: What Our Language Habits Reveal

On this video, it tells mostly about about how the change of wordings and the words itself can affect the listener (or possibly reader). Steve Pinker has mentioned that the language changes consistently as language comes from the human interaction of that time period. The good example of that would be, people have hard time or even cannot understand the books that are from the 18th century England. The language is still the same language (English) that I am currently writing, but it sounds different as of the culture, perspective, and the way people talk has changed.

Depending on the wordings, meaning could be changed totally. Steve Pinker has shown us the example of ‘Invading Iraq’ and ‘Liberating Iraq.’ The deep meaning is still the same of attacking Iraq, yet depending on how you portray it, it could be shown as cruel invaders or the savers of democracy. I personally believe this is already used well in advertising and marketing.130808_RIVAL_AvisLittleFish

Every product has the problem or the weak spot, but it is how we portray it. Bernbach has used, “When you are only No.2, you try harder. Or else” for Avis. Just like that, it is how you say it, but customers will take it totally differently. Each wording is especially important these days. In the past, people have read the long long body copies. But do we still do that? Advertisers might have less than 3 seconds to give the impact with our language skill (visual skill or copywriting skill) to interact with the customers. On that limited time, we have to show, what makes our product special compared to other hundred brands that are selling the same product with a little bit of difference. This TED talk have made me to think more deeply about the power of the words itself.


2 thoughts on “Steve Pinker: What Our Language Habits Reveal”

  1. Hey! I do agree that the way we word things can totally change the perception people have on something and also the effectiveness of communicating a message. I think this video was very interesting and helpful and it really made me think about the importance of copywriting! I think it is also interesting to think how language changes and develops and even how language depends not only on time periods or the pass of time but also the location, which is why even sometimes the wording in global campaigns change depending on the country it is targeted for even though the language might be the same.


  2. Jung I to watched this specific ted talk and its very interesting to see how language can be interpreted by different individuals. People always say mean what you say and say what you mean but even if that is true it all comes down to how it is interpreted because in the american language we have multiple ways of saying the exact same thing. great discussion overall


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