How often do we all think similar ideas but when we express them in words, our words, they get misconstrued because our words do not match the listener or readers understanding?

How much is our limited way of expressing ideas getting in the way of our message being delivered?

I think very much!

asked 25 Feb '11, 08:45

you's gravatar image


edited 25 Feb '11, 10:52

IQ%20Robot's gravatar image

IQ Robot ♦

Our language is the box that we think from, but what if you want to think outside the box. For example, the concept of "Life Force Energy" is expressed by only one word in at least 80 other languages. Chi (China), Ki (Japan), Prana (India), and Mamawaska (Native American) are all different words which express the english phrase life force energy. For all intents and purposes Chi has actually become an english word to compensate for this language nuance.

Check out this link about how language shapes the way we think. It's not always a box sometimes its a sphere. :)


answered 25 Feb '11, 12:11

Brian's gravatar image


Brilliant insight :)

(26 Feb '11, 21:28) The Traveller

It's interesting because I think I've interpreted your question differently from Brian and Rpuls! So I definitely agree with you!

I understood you to be asking about something I personally have been struggling with, which is explaining the kind of concepts that are discussed on here in a way that can be understood by people who are not on an 'inward quest'.

There does seem to be a gulf in understanding. I find I can use certain language with some of my friends or people I meet, but have to completely change my phraseology and often subject matter for others who just wouldn't 'get' it, or who would think I was being 'airy fairy' or a bit of a weirdo. :)

The more I practice the easier it gets, but sometimes I am literally lost for words to explain my thoughts and feelings and understanding of the world.


answered 25 Feb '11, 12:40

aquamarine's gravatar image


Very much so Michael.

Im no good at communicating thru the written word. I answer some threads and when i re visit them i look at what i wrote and it only goes 50% towards what i wanted to say.

Perhaps i should answer twice!

There are some on this site who do seem very adept at getting their message across.Stingray for instance uses pictures,diagrames and some quite nice analogys.

Were all different and i will say that ive gotten something out of most of the stuff posted on this site. If its been written by an ace communicator or someone a little less gifted in that department.



answered 25 Feb '11, 13:57

Monty%20Riviera's gravatar image

Monty Riviera

I think you communicate just fine Graham :)

(25 Feb '11, 17:58) Michaela

Your very kind Michaela.

(25 Feb '11, 22:32) Monty Riviera

Understanding of our very existence is limited by our vocabulary; something that occurred to me almost twenty years ago while tripping on acid, in my early twenties. We cannot 'think' beyond what we're able to put into words. Imagine the possibilities, right? It just can't be done. When you take the time to look at it, we have numerous, albeit simple feelings/senses/emotions every day that we're unable to explain/describe. If I had a nickel for every time I've heard 'words cannot describe' in my life...


answered 28 Jul '11, 12:01

Clow's gravatar image


Your question brings up a great reason why we all need to continue to increase our vocabulary. Learning one new word and how to use it correctly can bring in 5-10 other words and their meanings. This allows you to have a wider choice of words to express more correctly what you are trying to convey.

Understanding the communication process is also important. Getting feedback, paraphrasing, summarizing, listening, body language, etc... Get a good book or go online to learn more about communication process. It is very valuable to know.. AND learn a new word today.


answered 25 Feb '11, 09:49

RPuls's gravatar image


I get what you're saying Michael. I think the problem is that we can't always articulate how we feel.

When we're in close proximity or in the presence of someone, it's often much easier to get what they're saying through their body language or just being clairsentient and able to pick up what they're trying to convey.

Like Graham, I've written answers and there are times I've re-read them and they don't quite convey what I was trying to say. Then there are other times the words just seem to flow and the meaning is crystal clear.

Could be that sometimes we tend to overthink what we're trying to say so the words become embellished with a hint of ego. And those times they flow, they're coming from a higher perspective so they're not misconstrued.


answered 25 Feb '11, 17:58

Michaela's gravatar image


you would need many words to represent 1 though!and even then people might not understand depending where they are in there mind when they get the message!


answered 03 May '11, 06:47

white%20tiger's gravatar image

white tiger

I am starting to get you. Thank you.

(03 May '11, 07:13) you

you are welcome om

(03 May '11, 22:32) white tiger

Being Telapathic as i am,you might say your thoughts and your words are about the same.We just change the things we want to say to others,maybe not to hurt their feelings or to hide what it is we don't want others to hear.We mostly say what we think.You can read a persons thought by their actions,becouse right before they do something the thought of exactly how to do it comes into their mind.Hearing it is something to get used to.Becouse its like someone is talking to you,just as if their useing their mouth to tell you something.When a person is just thinking of to do's,and about another person,or past expierance.They tend to stare off into space or look away to get their thought to be alone in their head without any distractions.


answered 05 May '11, 15:57

randy%203's gravatar image

randy 3

ok, what am i thinking right now?! haha

(28 Jul '11, 22:18) Back2Basics

well sometime words and what people think are 2 different things. example: someone might say to you i was happy to see you come back soon. and in there mind they say he is finally leaving if he would not come back i would be happy. and the fact that you never came back they never understood why. it happen to me once so i know.

(29 Jul '11, 05:17) white tiger

so randy did that ever happen to you someone thinking something else then what they say act or do?

(02 Aug '11, 00:21) white tiger
showing 2 of 3 show 1 more comments

Have you ever heard the phrase "word smith"? That is because there is an art to wrapping thoughts in words and sending them to others. Command of any language can really separate you from the rest. When you can articulate a thought in a certain way that may just be a feeling to someone else, that is powerful!


answered 28 Jul '11, 22:17

Back2Basics's gravatar image


One of the things that I can recall that my English Teaching Professor said to her students in class is: “I am going to given each of you the same assignment, and each of you will interpret and answer the question differently, and that is okay, as long as you do stray from the topic question!”


answered 01 Aug '11, 23:40

Inactive%20User's gravatar image

Inactive User ♦♦

i think everyone interprets words in their own way, after all language is based on symbols, and symbols are open to seems especially difficult when we communicate with people having a different social background to our own...however usually when talking with someone we can sense if we're on the same "wavelength" or not.


answered 03 Aug '11, 09:07

blubird%20two's gravatar image

blubird two

I agree many things can be interpreted in different ways to mean entirely different things. This is because our words can have entirely different multiple meanings or used as a verb or noun depending on the intention. However the intention is not always clear cut and this is where the confusion can come it to the picture.

A good example is speaking in the negative, in example: "You can't reach too far!" This could mean "Keep going there is no limit!" or "Be careful that is very shallow you'll hit the bottom!" I remember a sketch on Saturday Night Live that said "You can never look at the sun too long!" Everyone was wondering what the guy meant that said that. They said, "Does that mean we should not look at the sun too long or that no matter how long we look it's not long enough?" So everyone stared at the sun to find out and went blind! lol

That was just a comedy sketch of course on a stage indoors so no-one was really hurt.

This is similar to my question "How may we expand to see other possibilities than what we feel that we perceive" but mine was more about what we could do about it.

I put a link to give a broader perspective into this question so that on top of all the good answers here people can see all the good answers in my question and someone down votes me for it.

Anyway both places have a lot of good insights to be gained from for those that appreciate.


answered 02 Aug '11, 00:02

Wade%20Casaldi's gravatar image

Wade Casaldi

edited 03 Aug '11, 14:38

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