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Digging deeper into the words we all use differently

February 6, 2017

George Lakoff

Photo: Pop!Tech (CC)

I love language, but I haven’t studied it formally. I want to understand it better as a writer and a speaker. It’s critical to persuasion and marketing.

Linguist George Lakoff wrote an 8,000-word post-mortem on the 2016 presidential election called “A Minority President: Why the Polls Failed, And What the Majority Can Do.” I’ve read it a couple of times and shared it on social media.

I’m going to re-read it and study it till it sticks in my brain.

One idea he explains is the limits of facts and rational arguments. They don’t always work, since everyone processes information differently. If we’re wired more for logic, those facts might be persuasive. If we’re wired more for values, these arguments are simply incompatible, almost as if speaking a foreign language.

I’m planning on reading Lakoff’s updated version of his 2004 book, [aff. link] “Don’t Think of an Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate” to better understand the psychology behind our language and how to reach more people.

Maybe I can rewire my brain to use language more engagingly and understand how others perceive my words.


Video: George Lakoff on why facts don’t move all people

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