Choose Your Words Wisely Raising the Barr Weekly Memo: Issue 405

I am a naturalized US citizen, having been born and raised in Israel to parents, who themselves, emigrated to Israel from Poland and Russia following World War II. My parents were fluent speakers of many languages; my mother’s native tongue was Polish and my father’s, Russian. But living in a newly created state comprised of refugees and immigrants from all over the world, it seemed like a mini tower of babel with all the languages that I heard growing up. Along with their native languages, they also spoke Hebrew, Arabic, Romanian, German and Yiddish; the latter spoken as a common language with so many other refugees, one that I never learned and always knew was spoken so we wouldn’t know what they were talking about!

Coming to the US at 23, my English vocabulary was miniscule though I knew a few requisite phrases to get by. I understood some but spoke even less. Reading and writing English was out of the question. So, I began an intensive English as a second language program at Case Western Reserve University where my love of the language and vocabulary began and blossomed. I even recall how my fascination with colloquialisms got me in some trouble.

Over the years, with Laurel’s help and attending college, I went from reading the kindergarten book, The Monkey’s Paw, to reading voraciously and writing and publishing my own books relating to my business. Each and every day, I strive to add a new word or two to my vocabulary, increasing my knowledge and understanding of the English language.

Language is powerful and the words we use can be a catalyst for change, both good and bad. Webster’s word of the day for today is usurp which is defined as:

1 a: to seize and hold (office, place, functions, powers, etc.) in possession by force or without right
b : to take or make use of without right
2 : to take the place of by or as if by force : supplant.

“Usurp” certainly fits into today’s scene of political chaos and a fight for control in government. Our words have consequences and I know it’s best to choose them carefully.

As you invent new ways to grow your business and web presence, what words will you use to get your message across? Choose them wisely for once spoken or written, they are out in the universe for all to see and hear.

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