Can a word or a song affect our mood? Of course they can. We fragile human beings are as sensitive to words as we are to scents, colours or the touch of snowflakes on the skin.
We all know that hearing “I love you”, “I need you”, “you can do it” or “congratulations” can change our emotions in an instant, but why is that? Okodia’s professional translators have asked themselves this question and have come to some quite interesting conclusions …
The most beautiful language in the world: your mother tongue
Emotions start form from a very early age, from the moment we enter the world and begin to perceive the stimuli and words that ring around our homes. For each of us, the words learned in early childhood will have certain emotional effects, different in each case. Mum, dad, bread, dog, sun, aunt, grandfather, grandmother, biscuit, town, beach, school … these are words that, when translated into different languages, can lose some of that emotional meaning, that internal ting-a-ling that brings back memories and allows those moments from the past to take control of our adult lives.
Mama and papa, universal terms
Have you noticed how similar the words “mama” and “papa” are in different languages?
One of the best-known linguists in the world, Roman Jakobson, carried out some interesting research on these two terms that he called universals and found the explanation in the way we learn to speak.
According to Jakobson, all babies around the world find it easier to say the open vowels and, if you think about it, the letter “a” is the most open vowel of all. As they continue to progress in the difficult task of learning to speak, babies try other letters that are also easy to say simply by opening and closing their lips, that is, they discover the consonants “m” and “p”. If we combine an open vowel and a consonant, we have as a result the birth of those first universal terms that need little translation: papa and mama.
How to provoke emotions … much more than with words
Logically, the meaning of words is a big factor in how we feel when we hear them or say them ourselves, but there are other aspects of speech that influence our inner being even more. These are the tone and musicality.
We can see this clearly in the case of young children and in the case of pets living with a family. The same word can provoke completely different reactions and emotions depending on the tone of voice we use to say them. Try it out, and you might be surprised at the power of words!