Words Mean More Than What Is Set On Paper…

by Odimegwu Onwumere

A child is engaged with words than reading and this comes even with the
child’s first days in school. Processing the child’s thoughts and actions
in communication analysis are at most times difficult. Parents and teachers
will require the voice skill to properly convey some inbuilt message so
that the child can understand instructions, respond and grow up. This is
the reason why politicians in Nigeria unlike in the West particularly do
not send letters to persuade the electorates during electioneering.
Nigerian politicians use speech to address their political spectators and
followers in order to make them come to terms with the intrinsic meanings
of their political message. Even when they possibly send letters across,
they still follow up to digest the content of their missive with oratorical
skill or voice. Else, they will not be taken seriously.

Maya Angelou was an American author and poet born on April 4, 1928, in St.
Louis, Missouri. She died on May 28, 2014, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
in the United States. She was credited with the phraseology: Words mean
more than what is set on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them
with shades of deeper meaning. She was right in noting that voice
communication has the effectiveness for clarity than written words, because
there is always room for explanation by the speaker. The importance of
human voice in communication has been seen to be more important to written

Some organisations like the Museum of the Word, which is set on the first
route of Don Quixote International, saw this importance and set aside every
23rd November each year, as the Day of the Word. The Word here is regarded
as a Bond of Humankind. Complimenting this capturing and symbolic
representation of the sense of words, one Barbara Walters had admonished
humanity about the importance of voice-words that we live with. Walters
said: Many people think that polysyllables are a sign of intelligence. It
takes the voice to explain every bit of word written or said. One may read
written words without comprehending what has been read in line with the
writer’s view point or sense. But with voice, it will be more explicit as
questions will be asked and interactions made to explain the embodied

In the good words of one Jean Baptiste Girard, people are meant to know
that, by words they excavate, fix the word puzzles and learn thoughts. And
by gaining insights on thoughts they learn life. In addition, using colours
to form knowledge and meaning, one Edward Thorndike did sum up what Girard
had said: Colors fade, temples crumble, empires fall, but wise words
endure. Even in some religions, the power in voice-words is essentially
recognized. The Christian Bible in the book of Luke 6:45 said: The good man
brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man
brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the
overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. From this biblical capturing of
words, we can understand that words are used as a mechanism of expression,
flowing from the heart. Words are mirrors of the inner heart. A cultural
heart is framed on the language and dialectics of symbols of a group’s way
of communication.

Somebody like J. B. Phillips saw the deeper side of voice in communication
and consequently said that “If words are to enter men’s minds and bear
fruit they must be the right words shaped cunningly to pass men’s defences
and explode silently and effectually within their minds.” In one of Tomasz
P. Szynalski’s treatises, the writer although believed the obvious in
‘Reading is easier than listening’, yet had this to say: The only real way
to learn to understand fast or accented speech is to spend a lot of time
listening to many different speakers. This is why a child who is new to
school learns through voice before learning how to read. Words open the
listening and communicational orifices of humans to learn.

Maya Angelou was right with her philosophy associated with words and
learning. Many scholars like Vincent Ferraro and Kathryn C. Palmer of Mount
Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA would say that for any person to
understand communication better, that person must be dynamic with human
orifices. And this is what the oral communication represents, unlike the
static aspect which written communication represents. While the scholars
believe that there is “a higher level of immediacy and a lower level of
retention in the spoken words” they however did not betray the fact by
accepting that a speaker has more aptitude to connect with the listener
expressively. The argument is contained in the “Differences Between Oral
and Written Communication”. Showing Maya Angelou to be right with her view
point, her knowledge and expression contenders even wrote that the written
language can be significantly more precise, which invariably means that it
does not water the quest of the learner to understand more in an
understandable approach where there may be questions to ask and answers to
be derived. In the modern scientific information on dyslexia, learning
difficulties, and developmental disorders in everyday language, one would
notice that using oral-IQ and processing tests in the diagnosis of dyslexia
and other learning difficulties, have been said to be the best.

Linguistic and language specialists had given this point of view as it is
above in ‘Understanding words, behavior, and concepts’. Here, it was shown
that a newborn is a fast learner not by the text he or she reads, but by
the voice of the parents, even though that the newborn does not fully
understand what the parents are saying. The wrangle of this position is
that linguists have shown through research that even while in the womb,
babies start listening to their parents’ voices, not reading their parents
written words. The source of this insight further stated that: Once born,
your baby begins tuning in to your words and sentence patterns to figure
out what you are saying and instructing. The child also uses his or her
learning curiosity, sensitivity and powers of observation to learn about
some of the more complicated things – such as love, trust, time, and cause
and effect – that exist in his or her physical and emotional world and

It is imperative to know that in voice communication people learn well than
when they are reading. Professionals would say that even when listeners do
not understand what the speaker was talking about, there is every tendency
that the listener might learn and pick certain aspects of the speaker’s
voice style, namely body gestures and moods such as happiness, sadness,
love, concern, anxiety, and anger; unlike when they are reading.
Connoisseurs also had shown that using voice sends message deeper than
written words. They buttress this point by using a baby as a case study. In
some estimation, listeners use their senses to take new information about
the world around them. Significantly, voice keeps people sensitively
adjusted to the people closest to them, than the books closest to them.
People respond to the tone of the speaker’s voice, the smile and maybe, the
placate of touch. Maya Angelou invariably was saying that through voice,
people’s motor skills advance deeper than when they are reading. And she
was right!

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