Headline Outline

When Words Are Not Well-spoken

One of the reporters of this magazine gave me the recording from the fit and proper test of candidates for Constitutional Court (MK) justices at the Commission III of the House of Representatives in February 2014. I felt so sad when I listened to that recording.

As a communications consultant, I am quite concerned by the fact that even those with strong educational background are not capable of using words properly.

My memory went back to the days when I was still a high school student. My late mother was furious to learn that my major was linguistics, regardless of the fact that many of my teachers wanted me to choose science or social study.

In response to her anger, I just smiled and said, “I know what to do, Mom. Don’t worry!” If only she was still here, she will regret for being mad at me and realizing that there are many things that can be absorbed when learning languages.

According to the Great Dictionary of the Indonesian Language, “word” means an element of spoken or written language, which is the embodiment of unity of feelings and thoughts and that can be used in the speech.

A word always carries a meaning because the notion implied in a word means that each word expresses an idea or a thought. Put differently, words are the transmitter of ideas that will be delivered by our minds.

An Indonesian language expert, Gorys Keraf, even said that words are like the wardrobe of soul, so the more words a person masters, the more ideas s/he can expresses.

In using words, both orally and in writing, there are at least five factors that should carefully be considered. They are:

  1. Language: a variation with regard to the use of words in speeches should be the main focus, adjusting to whom you are speaking to, what the subjects are, and the medium of conversation.
  2. Spelling: in particular, how to separate and combine words.
  3. Diction: choice of correct words in making a sentence meaningful and easy to understand.
  4. Sentence: a set of words that can stand alone and has a complete meaning. Sentence is the smallest unit of speech that expresses a thought comprehensively, both orally and in writing.
  5. Paragraph: part of an article or a scientific work that starts on a new line.

The use correct words that are corresponding to the circumstances would get anyone familiar with speaking politely, properly and effectively.
Whatever language is used, the core issue is choice of words or what-so-called diction.

Exactitude is required in choosing words in order to make the communication achieving what one expects. An accomplished negotiator will be very careful in choosing words. S/he certainly masters the art of speaking clearly, so that every word can be heard and understood to its highest complexity and the furthest extremities in order to ease the process of negotiation. Literary diction analysis reveals how one sentence generates an intonation and characterization. For example, the use of words which are related to physical movement demonstrates an active character, while the use of words related to thoughts shows an introspective character. Diction also affects the choice of words and syntax.

Policy-makers who master the art of formulating words would certainly face no obstacles in delivering their policies to public through media.

The language spoken would be nice, while the words are straightforward and easy to understand. Unfortunately, only a few people are capable of doing so. Just look at the perception gap that frequently happens between the policy-makers and media that eventually leads to denial.

From now on, let us try to choose and use words correctly and properly when speaking to anybody. Practice makes perfect. ***