The sense of speech – by An­dreas N. Bjørn­dal

Do you want to im­prove your sense of speech? Is there a sense of speech?
You are right to ask if there re­ally ex­ists a sense of speech or a sense of words. A sense is used when we per­ceive some­thing but be­fore men­tal rea­son­ing is ac­ti­vated. Is recog­ni­tion of speech a men­tal ac­tiv­ity only putting sounds to­gether? These are sub­tle steps that we will ex­plore in this ar­ti­cle.

Let us start with Lu­cas my dog. He knows dif­fer­ent com­mands like sit, wait, quiet, role over etc. He un­der­stands if we say “……. is com­ing” talk­ing about some­one ap­proach­ing the door. Also if we say the word “see” he starts to look around. He know the names of each mem­ber in the fam­ily even the tur­tle named Molly. I can ask him; where is Molly? He will search her and show me where she is hid­ing. So, in ad­di­tion to hear­ing sounds, he per­ceives words. Only an­i­mals at a cer­tain level of de­vel­op­ment can do that. Still, Lu­cas can­not speak these words. The same goes for small chil­dren they start to per­ceive words be­fore they can say them or use them.

Let us take an­other ex­am­ple. You travel to a coun­try where you do not know the lan­guage and you can lis­ten to peo­ple speak­ing but do not un­der­stand a word. If you lis­ten care­fully, you will start to per­ceive cer­tain words as fa­mil­iar to words you know in your own lan­guage or you will re­late them to set­tings and ac­tions in the same way as small chil­dren learn a lan­guage from ex­pe­ri­ence. You start to recog­nise a set of words and still, you do not un­der­stand the mean­ing of the sen­tence.

The sense of speech, word or lan­guage is the abil­ity to per­ceive mean­ing through your lan­guage. This is more than just hear­ing. Imag­ine you live with mon­keys and grad­u­ally you learn to per­ceive sounds mean­ing; dan­ger, food, spi­der, snake, en­emy etc. Then you per­ceive the mean­ing as well as the sound.

This is a more sub­tle level than just hear­ing sounds. This is ad­di­tion­ally an un­der­stand­ing. You can un­der­stand the mean­ing, wishes, in­ten­tions or warn­ings of the other per­son.

There is also a lan­guage in ges­tures and mim­ics that is closely re­lated. We can learn to read body lan­guage or face ex­pres­sions. Here we see how dif­fer­ent po­si­tions and phys­i­cal pos­tures speak to us. Some­times the body lan­guage tells us that the ex­pressed mean­ing is not com­pletely in tune with the feel­ing of the per­son. They say they are open to some­thing but also cross their arms at the same time as they say it. You right away get scep­ti­cal or at one level or an­other you ques­tion the re­al­ity of what they say.

The body lan­guage can be the other per­son nod­ding, say­ing “yes … yes … yes” as you speak. The per­son could also be lean­ing for­ward and even abrupt you with “I see” “I un­der­stand” or “agree” even be­fore you have fin­ished the sen­tence. Such feed­back can be very dis­turb­ing.

If that is the case, you feel the other per­son is not lis­ten­ing to you. You rather have a per­son sit­ting there look­ing steady at you re­ceiv­ing your words and body lan­guage com­pletely as they sit mo­tion­less and en­velop and per­ceive you com­pletely. To re­ally lis­ten to some­one and per­ceive their lan­guage, you have to learn to stop mov­ing. The sense of mo­tion (Read here about the sense of mo­tion) and the sense of lan­guage are op­po­site. The more you move the more noise and dis­tur­bance. If you can sit quiet you can per­ceive much deeper.

Mov­ing and ges­tic­u­lat­ing is lan­guage. When the other per­son is mov­ing as you talk, it is just as they in­ter­rupt you with a kind of talk­ing. Some­times, I have to gen­tly re­mind my pa­tients about this and ask them to be silent. It could be by putting my chair closer to them, gen­tly touch­ing their shoul­der or giv­ing them an ex­er­cise not to nod or re­spond as I ex­plain the ex­er­cise. As I do this I ask them to pay at­ten­tion to the qual­ity of my voice. And I will change my voice from be­ing metal­lic, sharp com­ing from my fore­head, to go down into my throat again and be­come more soft and broad. Then fi­nally I will let it go all the way down to my belly, en­velop­ing the whole per­son as I am fill­ing the room with my pres­ence and voice. Of­ten, I will have to re­mind the pa­tients many times not to nod, or make a sound or move their hands or feet. When I then get silent they can feel the space we have cre­ated that makes us lis­ten at a much deeper level, and they also can lis­ten at that level. (Read more about si­lence in the linked ar­ti­cles be­low)

At this level, you per­ceive the mean­ing much deeper and eas­ier. This shows how ges­tures and lan­guage are closely con­nected. Even deeper the ges­tures and body lan­guage is dif­fer­ent in dif­fer­ent cul­tures. Some­times you can see just from the way a per­son moves their eth­nic­ity. Even more ob­vi­ous is it that you can see it in the body phys­iog­nomy. The eyes of Asian or north­ern cul­tures, the mouth of Africans are just some ex­am­ples. It can also be re­lated to the way dif­fer­ent styles of mu­sic stim­u­lates us to move in dif­fer­ent ways ac­cord­ing to dif­fer­ent stiles. Some stiles of mu­sic, par­tic­u­larly folk mu­sic can eas­ily re­flect their ge­o­graphic re­gion of ori­gin. Some stiles are also re­lated to spe­cific times in his­tory.

There is a con­nec­tion here be­tween ex­pres­sions of dif­fer­ent peo­ple, their phys­iog­nomy and the lan­guages of the coun­tries. There is a lan­guage be­hind form, shape, move­ment and sound. There is even a con­nec­tion with the land­scape you live in an your lan­guage or di­alect.

I re­mem­ber as a young kid recog­nis­ing the sim­i­lar­ity in the faces of peo­ple hav­ing the same name or sim­i­lar sounds in their names, al­most as the sounds use to name or call upon them formed and shaped them. Also some­times par­ents wait to de­cide a name un­til they see the baby, to see if he or she looks like they could have that name.

From a spir­i­tual per­spec­tive we speak about a folk soul, or archangel that makes a na­tional aware­ness. Hu­mans needed to reach a cer­tain level of de­vel­op­ment be­fore we could go be­yond the old city-state and form na­tions. A na­tion is a higher holon than a city. Unit­ing na­tions as U.S., or EU is even a higher holon to­wards the holon of the whole world and whole hu­man kind. To­gether every part rep­re­sents dif­fer­ent vari­a­tions, flavours, colours, sounds put to­gether in pat­terns we mostly recog­nise sub-con­scious.

Grow­ing up on the coun­try­side in Nor­way I re­mem­ber peo­ple talk­ing about dif­fer­ent fam­i­lies and qual­i­ties they had through gen­er­a­tions as the most ob­vi­ous thing.

As we hu­mans evolve our cir­cle of ac­tion be­comes big­ger and ex­pands. From the womb, to the in­side of the house, out into the gar­den, to the vil­lage, and step by step out into the world. Some of us are afraid of leav­ing our house, some will never leave their vil­lage, oth­ers will not travel abroad.

Some peo­ple are stuck at a na­tion­al­is­tic level, rigid and can­not per­ceive the gain of unity across na­tions and cul­tures. With the in­ter­net as a dri­ver to­wards glob­al­i­sa­tion these peo­ple will be more and more chal­lenged as we grow into a world com­mu­nity.

When you are able to tran­scend that level in your­self and start to con­nect with hu­mankind as such you will start to per­ceive the lan­guage be­hind all lan­guages. The more lan­guages you know, the more you lis­ten to body lan­guage, the more you lis­ten to na­tures sounds and per­ceive the phys­iog­nomy as an ex­pres­sion, the more you start to learn the lan­guage be­hind all lan­guages; the lan­guage of mean­ing, shape and form.

You will start to per­ceive the qual­ity of each sound and the shapes and pro­por­tions. We are head­ing back to this kind of aware­ness, as we had in the past, but then in a more un­con­scious way. I strongly be­lieve that on the way in the his­tor­i­cal de­vel­op­ment to­wards the first al­pha­bets some peo­ple still had this per­cep­tion. They knew how to form and shape ac­cord­ing to prin­ci­ples of mean­ing. Some al­pha­bets seem cre­ated ac­cord­ing to such un­der­stand­ing (Read here about the he­brew al­pha­bet as one ex­am­ple)

The po­lar­ity be­tween the sense of move­ment and the sense of speech can also be seen as a po­lar­ity be­tween frag­ments and whole­ness. At one end you have a lot of dif­fer­ent sounds, let­ter shapes or words at the other end you per­ceive the small frag­ments as a mean­ing­ful whole.

There is re­search show­ing that ex­er­cises with rhythm will make kids per­ceive lan­guage bet­ter. Rhytm has a good bal­ance be­tween frag­ments and whole­ness.

The sense of speech or lan­guage is a higher sense a more ad­vanced sense that we do not see in all an­i­mals and that de­vel­ops as the child gets older. A wise old per­son can lis­ten to a young per­son hav­ing ques­tions or frus­tra­tions and al­ready know the an­swer still wait­ing or not even an­swer­ing, know­ing it will hap­pen, or be un­der­stood in due course.

You could also call this sense the sense of mean­ing or sense of semi­ol­ogy. As this sense if de­vel­oped you un­der­stand the lan­guage of sym­bols, shapes and forms both ab­stract and in na­ture more and more.

A good ex­er­cise is to taste words be­fore you use them, try­ing to go be­hind the an­swers of peo­ple you talk with and chal­lenge how much you per­ceive, ask them if it is right how you un­der­stand it, or just look at geo­met­ric fig­ures and see what they tell you. Lis­ten to the sea, the wind and the woods.

Here are some re­lated ar­ti­cles
Hush hush lis­ten
Si­lence, peace and noth­ing­ness
Let go
The sense of mo­tion or pro­pri­o­cep­tion
Mind the gap
Let­ters, pic­tograms and ar­che­types

Holon, unity and wholeness, holonistic knowledge, self-development, spirituality, nature and mysticism as the way to truth

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