17 May This is how languages influence emotions
Can a word or a song affect our mood? But of course! The fragile human being is as sensitive to words as he is to aromas, color or the feel of a snowflake.
We all know that hearing “I love you”, “I need you”, “cheer up” or “congratulations” can change our emotions in an instant, but why? Okodia’s professional translators asked ourselves this question and we’ve come to some very interesting conclusions…
The most beautiful language in the world: one’s native language
Emotions begin to be cultivated very early on, from the moment we go out into the world and we begin to perceive the stimuli and words that resound through the house. Thus, for each of us, the words we learned in early childhood will have certain different emotional effects in each case. Mama, papa, bread, dog, sun, aunt, grandpa, grandma, cookie, town, beach, school… are words that when translated to different languages may lose part of that emotional meaning, that inner resonance that brings back memories and makes those past times take control of our adult lives once again.
Mama and papa: universal terms
Have you noticed how similar the words “mama” and “papa” are in different languages?
One of the world’s best-known linguists, Roman Jakobson, did interesting research on these two terms he called universal and found the explanation in the process of learning how to speak.
According to Jakobson, all babies in the world find it much simpler to articulate open vowels and, if you look closely, the “a” is the most open vowel of all. As they continue to make progress in the difficult task of learning how to speak, babies try other letters that are also easy to articulate by simply opening and closing their lips, that is, the discover the consonants “m” and “p”. By joining an open vowel and a consonant, we give rise to those first universal terms that require virtually no translation: papa-mama.
Awakening emotions… much more than with words
Logically speaking, the meaning of words has a lot to do with the kind of emotions we feel when we hear them or pronounce them, but there are other aspects of speech that influence our inner being even more: tone and musicality.
We see this perfectly in the case of small children and also in the case of pets living with families: the same word can arouse completely different reactions and emotions depending on the tone in which we pronounce them. Try it, you may be surprised at the power of words…