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The Power of Words

The Words We Use

It has become a truism of humanitarian and social impact advocates that the words we use matter. When using terms or phrases that reflect the condescension, discrimination, or hatred of the past—even in jest—an individual can unintentionally undermine a person, practice, or institution. As an editor and communications professional, words are a medium that can be used or abused for good or ill.

Across time, words have shaped revolutions, nations, and wars. When the events of the past have expired into memories or dates on a page in some underused textbook, the words of famous men and women remain.

Gandhi would be the first to advocate that the pen is mightier than the sword.

Staring down the smiling Brazilian shopkeeper, I was suddenly reminded of the opposite challenge: when we have no words, what do we do? I couldn’t remember the last time I had failed to be understood, much less left speechless. Suddenly, I realized how much I had taken for granted my ability to communicate, regardless of context.

Within this publication, a number of authors have touted the benefits of global mindset, of getting outside your comfort zone through an intimate interaction with another culture, whether through the immersion of global pro bono, or through citizen diplomacy and cultural exchange. Confronting a circumstance in which words have little effect has a number of unexpected (and largely positive) consequences. When talking doesn’t work, listening intently is often the next-best option. It is these lessons in listening that enable us to better understand one another in the future, making us better leaders, collaborators, and friends. The more we listen, the more we understand.

The Numbers of Nonverbal Communication

My conversation with the shopkeeper, though imperfect, was ultimately successful. Between our limited understandings of one another’s language, much hand-gesturing, significant patience, and our hand-drawn map we were able to arrive exactly where the shopkeeper intended us to go. Unfortunately, it turned out that the shopkeeper’s intuition about the location of the Chalet, based on the photograph of the gate, was incorrect. Our map, while an accurate reflection of the shopkeeper’s direction, did not bring us to our anticipated destination. While the interaction didn’t immediately result in us finding our way, we were still successful in communicating and understanding each other under problematic conditions.

In such circumstances, non-verbal communication becomes vital in a way it never was before. In truth, when interacting directly with another, words make up only a tiny piece of mutual understanding. Experts approximate that 55 percent of communication is body language, 38 percent of communication is dictated by vocal tone, and only seven percent is actually the words we use.

Turning around and driving back to town, we stopped to ask another friendly passerby. “Rua Dom Pedro?” I queried, now confident at least of the road we were looking for. Straight past the quadrado, right, left, and right were the next set of directions. Now going in the opposite direction, I ignored the fact that the directions were exactly the same as those we had previously received from the shopkeeper. Executing the directions left us at the bottom of a hill, at a T-junction, contemplating whether we had reached the last right, or if we had somehow taken a wrong turn. A man stood next to a gate nearby. We rolled down the window: “Rua Dom Pedro?” The man shook his head. “Rua Dom Pedro?” he muttered something undiscernible under his breath.

For my husband, this was the final straw. Frustrated that I had allowed us to get so far with nothing but a hand-drawn map, he turned the car around and headed back to the shop.

I once again found myself standing in front of the persistently friendly shopkeeper when I had an almost comical realization. Was there a phone number? The shop owner generously offered for me to use his computer to check my email. There, in my inbox, was one unread message from my host, Sandra. “Alicia, please call to let me know when you will arrive!” her phone number listed below the message.

A phone call returned a male British voice. Confused, I spoke cautiously: “Hello… is Sandra there?”

“This is John Carlo, her husband. You must be Alicia.” Never had my mother tongue brought such relief.

Words Are Resources, Too

Words—in any language—are a complex tool, which in the hands of humankind have allowed our species to innovate and advance in powerful ways. In gentlemen’s agreements and contracts alike, words are the foundation of collaboration, partnership, and mutual understanding. Words are an important resource for solving problems, enabling or disabling the efforts of future leaders seeking to develop adaptive solutions to persistent problems in resource-constrained environments. The absence of a common language, while its own resource constraint, forces creativity, resilience, and persistence to find a way.


The Power Of Communication

Whoever said that the pen is mightier than the sword definitely knew what they were talking about. To humans, words are more than a means of communication, they can shape our beliefs, behaviors, feelings and ultimately our actions. Although swords can coerce us, and threaten, nothing is more powerful than a tool which can shape our opinions.

When it comes to language and communication, the rule is that it’s not what you say, but what people hear.  Words are one of the most powerful tools that we as humans possess; they can ignite revolutions or defuse tension. The problem is that words are underestimated as being central to thought and behavior processing as well as decision making.

Dr. Frank Luntz, author of Words That Work: It’s not what you say, It’s what people hear describes the decision making process and communication based on feeling rather than information. “80 percent of our life is emotion, and only 20 percent is intellect, says Luntz in a PBS interview. “I am much more interested in how you feel than how you think. I can change how you think, but how you feel is something deeper and stronger, and it’s something that’s inside you. How you think is on the outside, how you feel is on the inside, so that’s what I need to understand.”

Working as a pollster and a linguistics consultant, Luntz advises the Republican Party on their usage of words, their communications to the press and the world, and in a sense, changes the way that they direct their language to achieve the results that they desire from the public as a whole.

Because we hear so many words and messages in our daily lives, we have developed a system to deal with certain types of messages. People can engage in two types of message processing, either central processing, which is an active and critical thinking process, or peripheral processing, which takes cues from other parts of the message, and evaluates based on other things besides the actual meaning of the message. Central processing is triggered by certain queues, such as involvement and immediacy. In short, if something is going to affect someone and soon, they are going to listen carefully to the message. If they are interested, or compelled to listen, they are much less likely to evaluate what you are saying on a central level.

When it comes to messages of the mass media, most Americans process the information peripherally. This also includes political messages and information. When it comes to politics, the complexity of issues are reduced to peripheral cues like source credibility, attractiveness and emotional words like responsibility and family values.

When it comes to mass media messages, Americans process most information peripherally. Issues such as complexity and disinterest in the message can lead to decision making based on surrounding cues instead of triggering central processing and an active decision.

Politics is full of messages that are designed to trigger peripheral processing cues and behavior based on emotion rather than information.  One word can be completely neutral in emotion while another word meaning the exact same thing can either spark love or rage in those that hear it. The emotion is the trigger, finding the words that cause the emotion is the job of linguistics experts like Luntz. His advise and consultation are partially responsible for the name change of the “Estate tax” to the “Death tax” and its subsequent elimination. “For years, political people and lawyers used the phrase “estate tax.” And for years they couldn’t eliminate it. The public wouldn’t support it because the word “estate” sounds wealthy, explains Luntz. “Someone like me comes around and realizes that it’s not an estate tax, it’s a death tax, because you’re taxed at death. And suddenly something that isn’t viable achieves the support of 75 percent of the American people. It’s the same tax, but nobody really knows what an estate is. But they certainly know what it means to be taxed when you die.”

Republicans have also crafted their language to neutralize the fear of hazards due to global warming. Instead of referring to global warmer, the concept is dubbed “climate change” which lessens fears associated with global warming. Because of this change of behaviors and beliefs simply by the change of words, Luntz has been accused of manipulating language and therefore the audience absorbing the message.

The manipulation is not only isolated to the political or corporate world. Science and science research have also attracted suspicious glances from the public. This is why issues such as stem cells research and other breakthrough technologies are reacted to as vehemently as they are. The public, without proper tools to understand, and bombarded with complicated names and jargon of the science and health fields, are left to jumping on hot button issues like stem cell research. For example, I recently wrote an article about new technologies to reprogram adult tissue cells to pluripotent iPS cells. A reader commented on my article, suggesting that scientists use language to manipulate the public and hide behind words to avoid the hassle from the public. According to the reader, ” Scientist have to be more careful about the names they give to their new (life-linked) researches and all of its parts in order to avoid “Xtrem moralists”, superstitious and “Science/Tech/Research enemies” witch all the time, are searching and digging for any word slim linkable to any moralist religious or superstitious concepts just to obstruct or forbid it. If Steam Cells technologies had been called something like “XMFT-007″ from its beginnings, Science wouldn’t have gotten all the troubles it has due ignorance. So next time, get abstract names for your new life-linked Research.”

Hiding behind abstract language is not the answer, effective communication is the key. This is another reason why people in power should use language which demonstrates clarity and reduces emotion. The public is also responsible for processing their information and relying on intellect instead of solely relying on peripheral cues. To better understand the way we react to information, research on communication is vital to understanding our reactions, emotions and how they build our behaviors and actions. With this information, we can better prepare effective communication to the public and also guard ourselves from fallacious or leading information designed to target our emotions. Because in the end “Its not what you say, its what they hear.”


Words Have the Power to Change Our Lives

A word has the power to change your life. Think about that for a moment because it is literally an Earth-moving statement – to change your life. For more than a decade, technology has brought words into our lives more than ever before. No longer are words just what we hear, write or read – they have become what we create and how we interact with the world around us.

We all grew up believing the children’s rhyme, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” Yet, at a certain point, you realized that was completely untrue and that words could hurt, just as you learned Pluto was a planet but many years later find out it is just a ball of ice no longer classified as a planet. Words, my friends, change everything! Words have a dramatic effect on what we know, how we interact with people and the decisions we ultimately make. Words can influence us, inspire us or just as easily bring us to tears.

Words change our relationships, our demeanor, our entire system of beliefs, and even our businesses. Being a planet or not being a planet makes a major difference, just as the words “I love you” or “I hate you” have majorly different meanings behind them. Words have a powerful and undeniably overwhelming influence on us – for good and, at times, for bad. Think for a moment how words have changed your life:

Marry me!  It’s a girl! You have cancer. We lost him. You’re hired! You’re fired. We won! We lost. Guilty. Not guilty.

It may not seem intentional, but it has been. At the core, a large “organization of words” shift has taken place right in front of us. As a result, words have forever changed our lives and will continue to change our lives as never before. For the majority of us, not a single day goes by when we fail to interact and create relationships with words. Take Google, for example. Google is a company with a focus on classifying and organizing words. It is a very simple focus, really: to be better than any other entity at organizing words. Now, they may say they organize information, including documents, videos, photos, maps and more. But at the core, they are all words. A document may have many words, but they are always organized in a theme, and a theme can generally be focused to a sentence or title, and a title to a primary subject or word. The same goes for videos, photos, maps and more.

Imagine you are in a doctor’s office and you are told, “you have cancer.”

A single word “cancer” just changed your life and the lives of everyone close to you. Clearly, you listen to what your doctor says, but then you go to a place you know you can get a lot of answers – a search. You may do this when you get home to your computer or tablet or immediately on your mobile phone. But nonetheless, you begin to create and interact with the words by typing a few into the search box: “what is cancer” “cancer treatments” “cancer cures” “cancer survival.” Cancer comes in many forms, so perhaps your search is more specific: “what is triple negative breast cancer” “triple negative breast cancer treatments.” As you type, the words interact with you, providing answers to your questions. As a result, you learn of clinical trials as a treatment option, so you again leverage the interaction with words: “clinical trials for triple negative breast cancer,” and you find a powerful option that gives you another word – hope. Then and there, words and our relationship to them cross over into something that changes our life once again – twice in the same day, perhaps.

The meaning and value of words have become largely dependent on real-time demand, and therefore, the perceived value is determined solely by the epicenter of time and need. In other words, it’s determined when a moment in time crosses paths with a particular individual’s needs and the two interact. In the new economy, words also have an economic value. Therefore, a search for “cancer” is infinitely important and invaluable for the person that was just diagnosed, while the words “free shipping” may be most important and valuable for someone about to buy a “42inch 3D TV,” and both words have monetary value to some third party (i.e. a research institute or Sony) as well as the provider (i.e. Google or Amazon).

Services like Twitter have also focused on words (very few, in fact, given the 140 character limit), defining trends via hashtags (a word following a # – i.e. #cancer). That said, words transcend both search and Twitter. Words have become the key to everyday life. In our vehicles, many of us use words to get assistance, either via a service such as OnStar (I need help, my car won’t start) or via GPS (and don’t turn left when told to turn right, or the next word to leave your mouth may well be S%*T).

On eCommerce websites, such as,, or even, words change our experience: Free shipping, We recommend, One Click Checkout, Out of stock, Pre Order, etc. The way we interpret the end result of each of those seemingly simple words changes our present and future behaviors in real time. In fact, free shipping is still considered one of the top triggers to purchase.

In the media industry, search – both paid search and organic (SEO) – is a huge segment of the industry developed around and focused on the use of words. Words have implications in both paid search and SEO. One of the biggest factors includes relevancy: how relevant are the words searched – to the text ad copy – to the words on the landing page – to the words on the website? They are all interconnected. Words have interconnected us with technology.

Consider the new iPhone 4S. A new feature is Siri, a tool that uses words to assist the user (and with amazing accuracy). By speaking out loud to the phone, users can send messages, schedule meetings, find nearby restaurants, make phone calls and more. If you haven’t tried it, you should. You will want to buy the new iPhone 4S just for this feature. In fact, Siri might even save your life, given you no longer have to look at the phone to select a number to dial, thus keeping your eyes on the road.

Words also have great impact in the social media context. If a company truly manages social correctly and mines the data for trends via social intelligence analysis, what they would find are great differences in their customer mindset, purchase strategy, message associations and ultimately needs. This learning can translate into applied strategies in Customer Service, TV, Print, Outdoor, Event and Digital Media channels to further connect with customers in a way – and in words – the customer wants and expects from the business, instead of what the business thinks the customer wants.

Finally, words also have powerful meaning in religion. Great debates and even wars occur over the use and meaning of certain words in religious context. Consider the great differences in thought that occur simply with the mention of the words God, Allah and Buddha. The same can be said for politics. You will get strikingly different responses from everyday ordinary folks with just the simple mention of Republican, Democrat or Tea Party.

Words have forever changed our lives. They change our perspective, buying habits, moods and even how we use technology. Perhaps they help you find a friend, a product, a service, a job, a spouse, get a recommendation or even save your life.


The Power of Words

Once you have spoken words, they are no longer yours. Other people will translate them, evaluate them, and measure them. Choose your words, make them appropriate for the situation, and be aware of the power of words. Poorly chosen words or speech used for personal, hubris, or evil can impact self-esteem, destroy morale, kill enthusiasm, inflame bias, incite hatred, lower expectations, hold people back, and even make people physically or mentally ill. Inappropriate words can make work and home toxic, abusive environments. There are many empirical studies showing that people who live and/or work in toxic environments suffer more colds, more cases of flu, more heart attacks, more depression, more of almost all chronic disorders, physical and emotional, than people who report living and/or working in happy, enjoyable, caring environments.

The old parental advice, “Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can never hurt you,” was simply bad advice. However, well-chosen words or speech for the benefit of good or hope for others can motivate or inspire others to greater feats and deeds. They can offer hope; create vision; impact thinking beliefs and behavior of others; and alter results of strategy, plans, objectives, and people’s lives.

Peggy Noonan, the national syndicated columnist, knows a thing or two about words and how they impact us. She wrote recently about the advice Clare Boothe Luce once gave the newly inaugurated U.S. President John F. Kennedy. Ms. Luce was truly a remarkable woman. Her career spanned seven decades and nearly as many professional interests—journalism, politics, theatre, diplomacy, and intelligence.

According to Ms. Noonan, the sentence idea comes from a story Clare Boothe Luce told about a conversation she had in 1962 in the White House with her old friend John F. Kennedy. She said she told him that “a great man is one sentence.” His leadership can be so well summed up in a single sentence that you don’t have to hear his name to know who’s being talked about. “He preserved the union and freed the slaves” or “He lifted us out of a great depression and helped to win a World War.” You didn’t have to be told “Lincoln” or “FDR.”

She wondered what Kennedy’s sentence would be. She was telling him to concentrate, to know the great themes and demands of his time, and focus on them. It was good advice. History has imperatives, and sometimes they are clear. Sometimes they are met, and sometimes not. When they’re clear and met, you get quite a sentence (Wall Street Journal 2009).

Let’s look at a more contemporary example: the historic 2012 presidential debates. These debates may have more significance than previous ones because of the words chosen by the candidates, their rhythm, and their physical, nonverbal cues. A big part of communicating successfully depends on how well we negotiate the paradox of how the vast majority of human communication is conducted.

We know that more than 97% of human communication involves nonverbal cues (body language). To have a successful presentation, speech, or presidential debate performance, we must compose a sophisticated but seamless message, uniting our words in the proper rhythm, and use the corresponding nonverbal cues. If the words chosen don’t match the nonverbal cues or vice versa, the audience will be confused and the message will be diminished or, worse, ignored.

In the world of movies, theater, art, and entertainment, words have a dramatic impact. In a recent Wall Street Journal edition, a special report entitled “What’s In a Name?” discussed a number of box office successes that might have had a different result if their original titles had not been changed. For example, the Bogart classic Casablanca had an original title of Everybody Comes to Ricks. The Julia Roberts/Richard Gere blockbuster Pretty Woman had an original title of $3,000. The successful G.I. Jane was supposed to be released as In Defense of Honor. The world might not have ever remembered Diane Keaton and Woody Allen in Anhedonia, which was fortunately changed to Annie Hall (Wall Street Journal 2012).

Words have the power to affect both the physical and emotional health of people to whom we speak, for better or for worse. Words used to influence are inspiring, uplifting, and challenging. They encourage, motivate, and persuade; they can be visionary; they can change people’s lives for the better. Verbal communication is a powerful human instrument, and we must learn to use it properly. We need to not only learn to think about speaking in new ways, but also learn to think about language and human nature, psychology, and sociology.

Throughout history, there have been many examples of memorable quotes to demonstrate how what is said is just as important as how it was said. For example, when Lyndon B. Johnson was stumping for political office, he was debating an opponent and was asked the difference between himself and the opposing candidate. He famously replied, “He matriculated and I never matriculated.”

Some of the most famous speeches made by Abraham Lincoln are memorable not just for the message, but also for the fact that he condensed an enormous amount of information into them. It was not only the power of his words, but also his cadence that made the impact of the speeches more powerful. His second inaugural speech was only 700 words and the Gettysburg Address was just under three minutes.

The power of words can actually harm others. Power verbs express an action that is to be taken or that has been taken. When used correctly, a powerful verb has the power to impact your life whether you are going into battle, running for president, or simply interviewing for a job. Researchers have observed that when students are given standardized tests and told the tests are “intelligence exams,” the average scores are from 10% to 20% lower than when the same exam is given to similar students and told it is “just an exam.”

We know that words create impressions, ideas, images, concepts, and facsimiles. Therefore, the words that we hear and read influence how we think and consequently how we behave. This means there is a correlation between the words we select and use and the results that occur.

Using powerful verbal imagery helps people to imagine vivid images and allows people to figuratively and literally see concepts being mentioned. This was first discovered in the early twentieth century and was initially known as the Perky effect and later called visual simulation. Individuals can project abstract thoughts. Almost everyone does this from time to time, but we refer to it as daydreaming. When a person daydreams, he is completely awake and his eyes are wide open, yet he imagines being somewhere else, doing something else, seeing smoothly, and doing something else.

Visual simulation impacts what people hear and how fast they respond. A cognitive psychologist, Rolf Zwann, has done a lot of research on how people describe objects and shapes to which they are exposed. The experiment includes just showing people visuals, asking for responses, and providing audio prompts before the visual stimulation. The results indicated people respond faster if they are given visual and aural stimulation before being asked to see the shapes. (Bergen 2012, 95). Many studies have confirmed that people construct visual simulations of objects they hear or read about.

People construct shape and orientation simulation. Studies show that when people listened, they more often looked at the set of objects that fit with the meaning of the verb, even before they heard the name of the relevant object. People make predictions about what the rest of the sentence will contain as soon as words that they have already heard start to constrain what could reasonably follow. People start to cobble their understanding of the sentence incrementally (Bergen 2012, 125).

Grammar helps get the visual simulation going by pulling together all the pieces contributed by the words in the correct configuration. People will more easily and clearly understand and comprehend your meaning if you have structured your sentence correctly.


Understand the Power of Words

Do you remember when you were taught the famous comeback as a kid “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”? We all know how far from the truth that saying is. We are all aware of the enormous power in the meaning of the spoken word and what it means to the person who is on the receiving end. I’m sure you have been the recipient of words of wisdom, words of encouragement, or words of praise. On the other hand we have all experienced condescending words, words that hurt, words that destroyed our spirit, or words that have made us angry.

It is critical that your spoken word is carefully chosen in order to ensure success in all aspects of your life. Words influence your thinking and reinforce concepts within the psyche. The psychological association with the words you speak can affect the outcome of your goals and at what level you achieve. Words that are badly chosen can slaughter your passion, lower your sense of worth, and sabotage your level of enthusiasm. This can retard your progress and produce anemic results. Words that are well chosen can stimulate the psyche, rekindle enthusiasm, generate more insight and vision, increase your expectations, and produce greater outcomes.

The spoken word you choose creates an impression of you and the image you want to portray. If you want to be perceived in a certain way, the words you choose can help you or hurt you. If you want to make and keep friends your spoken word can make it happen. If you want to influence others, choose carefully your words. If you want to drive them away, don’t.

Let us examine the power of words and the words we choose. You know how your words affect others; you can analyze the feedback you get. If you truly want to succeed and be a winner, pay special attention to the words that flow from your mouth. Use it to work for you not against you. Begin today to pay close attention to your spoken word, you will be amazed the power that lies within.

When Words Do Damage

“Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs.” -Pearl Strachan

If not carefully chosen, our spoken word can wound others. These wounds can stay with someone for years to follow and affect them in ways we could never imagine. The power of the spoken word is so great that not only can we destroy someone but our words can cause us to self-destruct as well.

Words can be used to slander, to lie, or to destroy the reputation of someone. When one does such things they seldom stop to think of the negative psychological impressions that are implanted into their psyche. After a while it can become almost impossible for this person to utter words of encouragement to others. As the words become more contaminated one’s persona can have a tendency to change as well. Before long this individual may not be able to recognize his/her pattern of speech and why others seem to be repelled by it.

Words have the power to ruin relationships. If words are not chosen carefully, relationships can be destroyed, jobs can be lost, or customers can leave. Remember in life we are constantly engaged in relationships with people. Many of these relationships can promote our success in life. It is of utmost importance that our words are chosen wisely to build relationships and not destroy them.

Parents we sometimes wound our children by the words we speak to them. Unable to cognitively understand why their parents speak to them in a derogatory way, they grow up feeling insecure or put down. By not choosing your words carefully, by talking down to your children, or yelling at them, it can cause serious long-lasting emotional and psychological damage to their tender minds.

Examine the words you speak. Are they destructive? Are the spoken well? Do they encourage or put others down? Make a special effort to choose your words more carefully – they are a reflection of what’s on the inside.

Encouraging Words

One of the most powerful things your words can do is to change the world in which you live. By your choice of words you can influence others in positive ways and as a result achieve peace and prosperity in your life. The following are ways to realize that:

  • Pay a genuine compliment or a kind word to someone who crosses your path.
  • Say something nice to build someone’s self-esteem and self-confidence.
  • Your power of words can encourage and motivate someone by saying “you did a good job.”
  • Say words of comfort to someone sad or grieving.
  • Use your words to admit when you were wrong.
  • Use your words to say “I’m sorry”
  • Don’t forget to say “Thank You”
  • Use your words to show appreciation
  • Use your words to show respect for others.
  • Say thing funny to make someone smile and brighten up their day.
  • Use your words to help that special someone in your life feel secure with your love.
  • Use your words to speak to God from your heart to give thanks for the blessing in your life.
  • Use your words to praise your child for their efforts.
  • Say words to let your children know what a gift they are to you.

Start today to make a conscious effort to monitor your words. Make it a point to bring friendly words into every relationship in your life. Learn to respond in ways that disperse good and positive energy into the world around you. Be aware that the power you have in your words can move people to act in helpful or harmful ways. Use it to empower self and others.

Choosing Your Words

According to a study carried out by a professor at Penn State University, it showed that irrespective of age or culture, there are many more words in our vocabulary that expresses negative rather than positive emotions.

Our spoken word could mean the difference between failure and success. In choosing more carefully your words it’s essential to envision the impact you want to have on the people around you. Think about how your plans for achieving your goals can be affected positively or negatively by the words you choose? Let’s look at some common negative words we use and how we can make better choices.

  • Change “Problems” to “Challenges”. By looking at the situation as a challenge it is perceived as temporary and solvable.
  • Change “I can’t” to “I can” or “I will”.
  • Change “Should Have” to “Could Have”. By doing so it removes guilt and shame and puts no one down.
  • Change “Always” to “Often” and “Never” to “Seldom”. These two words are exaggerated words and do not convey an accurate meaning. They cause others to become defensive and you seldom get the results you need.
  • Change “Mistakes” to “Life’s Lessons”. This removes the guilt and shame and allows us to learn from the past.

Remember, a positively spoken word is a powerful affirmation. It can replace any subconscious cues that have the potential to sabotage your success in life. Become more aware of the negative words you say and try to catch yourself saying them.

The spoken word has the power to play a destructive or constructive role in your life. I hope I have helped to bring more awareness to the power of words that flow from you and the impact it has on your world. Always remember to THINK before you discharge your words.


















The Green – Power in the words (Video & Lyrics):


La Riqueza Lingüística en España: Mucho más que cuatro lenguas oficiales (2)

Lenguas en peligro

Con el castellano, oficial en toda España, y lenguas como el catalán, el gallego y el euskera o vasco, cooficiales en las autonomías en las que más se hablan, conviven otras lenguas y variedades lingüísticas. «Junto a estas cuatro lenguas principales, conviene señalar la presencia del aranés, variante del gascón que se habla en el valle de Arán, en el Pirineo leridano, y del gallegoportugués en algunas localidades de la frontera con Portugal. Además, es necesario apuntar la pervivencia de dos variedades históricas importantes, el leonés y el aragonés». Así inicia la doctora en Filología Románica Pilar García Mouton su libro «Lenguas y dialectos de España» (Arco Libros) del que está a punto de salir la sexta edición.

La profesora de Investigación en el Instituto de Lengua, Literatura y Antropología del CSIC añade además las lenguas no autóctonas habladas por inmigrantes (árabe, rumano, chino, etc) y de otros extranjeros asentados en determinadas zonas, el caló de los gitanos, el árabe dialectal del norte de África o la variedad del bereber que tiene como lengua materna parte de la población de Ceuta y Melilla.

Entre los dialectos, García Mouton diferencia entre los «históricos» (que se pueden considerar también lenguas), que vienen directamente del latín como el castellano/español, el catalán, el gallego o el asturleonés, y los «innovadores», que proceden del castellano, como el andaluz y las variedades extremeñas, murcianas y canarias. «Lo de lenguas y dialectos minoritarios es relativo. En general se aplica a los que no tienen ningún tipo de protección oficial, pero hay quien lo amplía a lenguas que están en situación desigual en el uso, porque sus hablantes son bilingües y conviven en una situación de diglosia con otra lengua más fuerte socialmente», explica la asesora de la Fundéu.

La Unesco considera «en peligro» al aranés, con menos de 3.000 hablantes, el aragonés, con unos 10.000 y por encima de los 150.000 el asturleonés (que engloba el asturiano, las hablas leonesas de Zamora, León y Salamanca y algunos restos más al sur). En situación «vulnerable» sitúa al euskera (unos 660.000 aunque García Mouton duda de si la Unesco incluye en su recuento a hablantes del sur de Francia).

«Desde principios del siglo XX los dialectólogos vienen advirtiendo de que hay que recoger deprisa todos los testimonios lingüísticos porque están en riesgo y, sin embargo, de una forma u otra han pervivido mucho más de lo que se pensaba», tranquiliza en parte la coordinadora del proyecto del CSIC para elaborar el Atlas Lingüístico de la Península Ibérica.

Las lenguas y los dialectos que han sobrevivido en España, continúa García Mouton, «lo han hecho en una situación de convivencia con el castellano mucho más dura que la actual, desde el punto de vista de la consideración social y de la protección oficial».

Las situaciones de bilingüismo, recuerda la filóloga, se pueden mantener durante mucho tiempo. «Lenguas y dialectos históricos han sufrido a lo largo de los siglos la influencia del castellano y ahora sufren la de la lengua oficial, el español, pero ellos a su vez han permeado el español que tienen más cerca, de manera que recoge léxico, entonación, giros, etc. que vienen de esas lenguas y de esos dialectos», añade.

A juicio de la coautora junto a Alex Grijelmo de «Palabras moribundas» (2011), las hablas locales «son las que pueden correr más riesgo, pero todo dependerá de sus hablantes». Se conservaban mejor cuando las comunidades vivían aisladas que en el mundo actual globalizado. «Los medios de comunicación y la educación tienden inevitablemente a generalizar los usos lingüísticos más “rentables” para el hablante, y fenómenos como el turismo y las buenas comunicaciones contribuyen a desdialectalizar algunas zonas aisladas que hablaban variedades locales, como las pirenaicas», constata Pilar García Mouton, pero al mismo tiempo su consideración social ha cambiado, contribuyendo a su conservación. «La tendencia es a que el número de hablantes disminuya, pero también hay una voluntad de mantenerlas por parte de la comunidad que las considera parte de su patrimonio».

Más riesgos y más protección

Hoy se protege este legado «mucho más» que hace cincuenta años. «En general se valoran las lenguas y los dialectos», continúa la experta del CSIC; aunque «esto no quiere decir que sea suficiente para preservarlos de los peligros que existen en un tipo de sociedad tan comunicada como la nuestra, que tiende a nivelar las diferencias».

Será la comunidad de hablantes la que decida el destino de lenguas y dialectos, a juicio de la filóloga. «Los que consideren importante su variedad, pondrán especial empeño en transmitírsela a sus hijos».

García Mouton considera «una pena que se haya politizado tanto todo lo relacionado con el legado lingüístico, que debería considerarse patrimonio de todos, una riqueza cultural». En su opinión, convendría seguir la recomendación de la Unesco de escolarizar a los niños en su lengua materna y luego ir añadiendo otras a sus conocimientos. «Y también convendría que a los niños españoles se les enseñase desde pequeños que, además de la suya, hay otras lenguas en su entorno, y que aprendiesen rudimentos de esas otras lenguas a través de canciones, adivinanzas… Así se familiarizarían con ellas, aprenderían a valorarlas y a la larga desaparecerían ciertas actitudes heredadas».


Se estima que en torno a 12.000 personas hablan el aragonés, sobre todo en zonas de Huesca, aunque los que lo conocen se elevan a los 40.000. Quedan pocos hablantes puros de esta lengua latina cuyo primer texto conocido se remonta a las Glosas Emilianenses, de alrededor del año 976 (Monasterio de San Millán de la Cogolla (La Rioja).

Su grado de conservación es dispar, con zonas donde es la lengua habitual de comunicación, aunque sin oposición al castellano, y otras en las que la «fabla» está muy castellanizada.

En 1987, con el I Congreso para la normalización del aragonés, se asumieron de forma general unas normas comunes para unificar la lengua. Hoy hay asociaciones y colectivos que trabajan para la recuperación de la lengua aragonesa, como el Consello d’a Fabla Aragonesa o Ligallo de Fablans.


Esta variante de la lengua occitana que se habla en el Valle de Arán es desde 2010 la tercera lengua oficial de Cataluña, junto al catalán y al castellano, y de «uso preferente» en este territorio de 620 km2 donde se habla desde el siglo XI.

El 80% de la población aranesa entiende la lengua, aunque solo son capaces de hablarla, leerla y escribirla un 35% de los 10.000 habitantes del valle, según los datos de 2013 del Instituto de Estadística de Cataluña.

El alcalde de Viella, la capital de Arán, señalaba sin embargo a ABC el pasado enero que «el aranés es hablada por 2.000 personas y está en peligro de extinción». El castellano es la lengua más hablada en el Valle, según Àlex Moga, mientras el catalán está en retroceso.


La Unesco cataloga como «lengua en peligro» a esta lengua histórica que procede directamente del latín y engloba el asturiano, las hablas leonesas de Zamora, León y Salamanca y algunos restos más al sur.

Es hablado por entre 300.000 y 450.000 personas en estos territorios, según apunta Héctor García Gil, de la Universidad de León, en el trabajo «El asturiano-leonés: aspectos lingüísticos, sociolingüísticos y legislación». De ellos, entre 5.000 y 10.000 hablantes aproximadamente de la variedad mirandesa, entre 20.000 y 25.000 hablantes en la región leonesa (León y Zamora), y la mayor parte en Asturias.

Las encuestas sociolingüísticas realizadas desde los años 70 muestran que en hablarían bable unas 200.000 personas, lo que supone entre un 20% de la población total de Asturias, indica el profesor de Filología de la Universidad de Oviedo Ramón de Andrés. Es una lengua minoritaria dentro de Asturias y la mayor parte de esta población asturianohablante (en un porcentaje imposible de precisar), continúa De Andrés, habla un asturiano en mayor o menor medida influido o interferido con el castellano. Es el conocido como amestáu, presente en amplios sectores populares de ciudades como Oviedo, Gijón o Mieres.



Mapa interactivo Unesco:


2015: Des Bonnes Résolutions pour la Nouvelle Année?

Les bonnes résolutions des Français pour 2015

Chaque passage d’une année à l’autre, il est de coutume de prendre de bonnes résolutions. a tenté d’établir les résolutions que souhaitent prendre le plus grand nombre de Français pour l’année 2015.

Quelles sont les bonnes résolutions que prendront les Français en 2015 ? Un sondage réalisé par Babbel, une start-up allemande d’application d’apprentissage de langues, révèle un classement des résolutions qu’ils souhaitent prendre.

En tête de leurs bonnes résolutions figure “apprendre une nouvelle langue”. 30% des Français indiquent vouloir s’y mettre, loin devant le fait d’“être moins stressé” (15%).

La forme, la famille et la télé

Garder la forme est une intention que les Français gardent bien à l’esprit. En moyenne 14% d’entre eux déclarent vouloir “perdre du poids” et 13% “faire plus de sport”.

Suivent vouloir lire plus (11%), “passer plus de temps avec sa famille et ses amis” (5%) et enfin “passer moins de temps devant la télévision” (4%), juste devant le traditionnel “arrêter de fumer” (2%).

Prendre une bonne résolution est une chose, mais s’y tenir en est une autre. A ce jeu, les Français se montrent plutôt bons élèves, puisque 60% d’entre affirment avoir tenu leurs résolutions de l’année 2014.

Quelle sont vos bonnes résolutions pour l’année 2015 ?

Arrêter de fumer

Passer plus de temps en famille

Commencer un régime

Se coucher plus tôt

Etre moins stressé

Faire plus de sport

Boire moins d’alcool

Manger plus de fruits et légumes

Regarder moins la télévision

Passer moins de temps sur Internet ou sur la console

Lire plus de livres

M’inscrire à un cours (de langue, de dessin, …)

Dépenser moins

Ne plus oublier les dates d’anniversaires

Ne plus remettre à demain ce que je pourrais faire tout de suite

Ma bonne résolution cette année : ne pas en prendre


Les 10 résolutions pour l’année 2015

Cette année tire à sa fin, ce qui signifie qu’il est temps de commencer à faire des résolutions pour le Nouvel An.

Il y a de nombreux objectifs communs qui peuvent vous aider à améliorer votre vie. Mais parfois, il est vraiment difficile de définir les résolutions du Nouvel An que vous atteindrez. Vous pouvez être confiant de la réussite au début, mais quand la nouvelle année vient, il est facile d’oublier vos objectifs en raison de votre style de vie ou des problèmes familiaux.

Si vous n’avez rien décidé, voici 10 des résolutions du Nouvel An les plus populaires pour 2015.

1. Perdez du poids

Quand il s’agit des résolutions du Nouvel An, la perte de poids est toujours au sommet de la liste (notamment pour la gente féminine). Presque tout le monde veut perdre quelques kilos. C’est particulièrement vrai après une saison de fêtes et de vacances. Voici votre chance de rejoindre une salle de gym et commencer à manger plus sainement. Avec un peu de travail, vous pourrez mincir juste à temps pour la saison du maillot de bain. Si vous êtes une maman occupée, envisagez de faire de l’exercice à la maison une habitude avec vos enfants. Vous enseignez à vos petits comment mener une vie active et perdre quelques kilos indésirables en même temps.

2. Arrêtez de fumer

Le tabagisme est une terrible habitude qui peut avoir un impact majeur sur votre santé. Faites votre choix pour arrêter enfin. Vous économiserez de l’argent et nettoierez vos poumons. C’est un grand chemin à faire. Je sais que c’est plus facile à dire qu’à faire, mais si vous travaillez dur pour atteindre cet objectif, vous allez certainement l’atteindre.

3. Obtenez un meilleur emploi

Janvier marque le début d’une nouvelle année. Il peut aussi marquer le début d’une amélioration de votre carrière. Consultez les offres d’emploi dans votre domaine et envoyez des curriculum vitae. Vous pourriez décrocher l’emploi de vos rêves. La résolution de cette nouvelle année est particulièrement bonne pour les gens qui détestent leurs emplois. On ne vit qu’une fois, alors ne perdez pas votre temps précieux sur les choses que vous ne voulez pas faire.


Les 28 résolutions de la nouvelle année qu’on devrait tous appliquer !

1.    Positivez, avancez et ne regardez plus en arrière.

2.    Inquiétez-vous moins de ce que pensent les autres de vous. Inquiétez-vous d’avantage de ce qui est bon pour vous.

3.    N’arrêtez jamais d’apprendre sur vous-même et trouvez ce qui vous passionne réellement.

4.    Prenez le temps de retourner dans des endroits de votre enfance qui étaient indispensables pour vous.

5.    Apprenez à mieux gérer votre emploi du temps pour laisser place à la création ainsi qu’à la concrétisation de vos projets.

6.    Apprenez à faire un break des réseaux sociaux, de votre portable, de votre ordinateur. Ça vous aidera à vous recentrer sur l’essentiel.

7.    Arrêtez d’envoyer des textos quand vous avez trop bu.

8.    Et si par malheur vous ne vous y tenez pas et que vous avez harcelé la messagerie de votre ex, ne perdez pas votre journée du lendemain à culpabiliser.

9.    Arrêtez de fumer. Vous avez déjà essayé et vous avez échoué ? Accrochez-vous et réessayez. Trouvez la bonne méthode pour arrêter.

10.  Ne perdez pas votre temps dans des conflits pour des broutilles. Avant de vous disputez, demandez-vous si cela en vaut vraiment la peine.

11.   Trouver une activité sportive qui vous convienne réellement à vous.

12.   Economisez pour vos loisirs.

13.   On nous le répète trop souvent, supprimez  la malbouffe et pensez à manger sainement.

14.   Apprenez à prendre le temps de cuisiner vos plats préférés tout seul.

15.   Supprimez les gens qui continuent de vous envoyer des invitations pour jouer à Candy Crush.

16.   Continuez de vous éclater dans des parcs d’attraction, à chanter à tue-tête sous la douche, à danser à fond seul(e) dans votre chambre.

17.   Prenez votre dessert en petit déjeuner, et votre petit déjeuner en guise de diner.

18.   Arrêtez de vous torturez sur le bon moment où vous devez envoyer un texto à la personne que vous aimez. Faites le si vous en avez envie et ne vous prenez plus la tête.

19.   Faites plus de compliments.

20.   Prenez le temps de revoir les amis que vous avez perdus de vue.

21.   Prenez du temps pour votre conjoint(e), votre famille et vos amis.

22.   Ne passez pas tous vos weekends scotchés devant votre écran.

23.   Faites du vide dans vos armoires de tout ce que vous ne porterez plus.

24.   Apprenez à méditer.

25.   Avant qu’il ne soit trop tard,  demandez à vos grands parents de vous raconter leur enfance.

26.   Faites de bonnes actions (adhérez à une association, faites un don du sang, aidez un sans-abri…)

27.   Ne vous encombrez pas des gens qui ne vous méritent pas. Ni de ceux avec qui vous êtes hypocrites.

28.   Visez la lune mais fixez-vous des objectifs atteignables.

Soyez courageux, entreprenants, ambitieux, croquez la vie à pleine dents et prenez 2015 par les cornes, votre destin est entre vos mains.


Nouvelle année: Ces résolutions que l’on ne tiendra pas

Chaque nouvelle année est l’occasion pour les Tunisiens de se faire des promesses à eux-mêmes ou à leur entourage. Des résolutions annoncées le plus sincèrement du monde, mais qui sont rarement tenues… Nous avons demandé à bon nombre de nos concitoyens de nous confier leurs résolutions pour l’année 2015 et leurs réponses valent le détour.

Précision importante : il ne s’agit pas de leurs attentes ou de leurs espoirs pour la nouvelle année, mais de leurs objectifs personnels…

Ah, ces maudites cigarettes !

Les bonnes résolutions sont une coutume qui consiste à prendre un ou plusieurs engagements envers soi-même pour améliorer son comportement à l’occasion de la nouvelle année. Améliorer son bien-être physique, manger sainement, perdre du poids, se remettre en forme, boire moins d’alcool, arrêter de fumer sont les résolutions les plus fréquentes. On a même trouvé une jeune demoiselle qui se promettait de ne plus se ronger les ongles !

Mais la plus fréquente des résolutions reste celle d’arrêter de fumer, une dépendance qui empoisonne la vie de milliers d’hommes et de femmes sans qu’ils puissent y mettre un terme.  C’est le cas de Fahmi, un commerçant de trente six ans qui est esclave du tabac depuis son adolescence. Il raconte son malaise : « lorsque j’étais jeune, je fumais pour montrer à mes copains que j’étais un homme. Grâce à ce geste je me sentais viril chaque fois que j’allumais une cigarette et que je tirais dessus avec assurance. Depuis, j’ai appris que c’était un poison sournois qui me tue à petit feu… »

Autre lieu, autre problème : ce couple de jeunes parents a décidé de faire du sport car, nous confie la dame « ma ligne a été fortement déformée par une grossesse difficile avec un bébé qui pesait plus de quatre kilos. Quant à mon cher mari, il est victime de sa gourmandise et de diverses boissons gazeuses. Il a un ventre presque aussi gros que le mien quand j’étais au 9e mois ! »

Son mari rigole, mais il a bien conscience de s’être laissé aller : « j’étais un sportif de haut niveau, mais la sédentarité et les longues heures passées au bureau m’ont fait prendre du bide doucement, lentement… Et un beau jour j’ai vu mon image de profil dans le grand miroir et là j’ai été effrayé par son volume. Alors c’est décidé : ma femme et moi on va s’encourager pour retrouver la forme et nos formes ! »

Économiser de l’argent, ou tout au moins surveiller ses dépenses, revient souvent dans les résolutions pour la nouvelle année. Noura, une enseignante  dans un lycée de la capitale en fait le vœu : « ce n’est pas que je sois un panier percé, mais je n’arrive pas à équilibrer mes finances, à payer mes dettes et encore moins à économiser de l’argent. Mon mari et moi payons un loyer assez cher et chaque visite au supermarché se termine avec une scène de ménage ! Il faut que ça change… »

Pour les personnes les plus aisées que nous avons interrogées, réaliser des objectifs importants, construire une nouvelle maison, créer des projets rentables sont les résolutions qui reviennent le plus souvent. Hamed, la cinquantaine, avait une usine de textile dans le sahel. Son entreprise s’est arrêtée depuis la Révolution faute de commandes et il vit sur ses économies.

Il nous a assuré que, depuis quelques semaines, il a « repris espoir suite à l’amélioration de la situation sécuritaire dans le pays et aux espoirs que suscite le futur gouvernement. Je vais remettre la production en marche et reprendre contact avec mes anciens commanditaires européens. J’espère que l’année 2015 me permettra de renflouer mes caisses qui sont presque vides. » Chacun ses problèmes !

Trouver un mari !

Pour plusieurs jeunes femmes, les résolutions se résument à améliorer leur bien-être affectif et mental. L’une d’elles, la trentaine, vivant toujours chez ses parents se confie : « il faut que je me concentre sur des pensées positives, que je retrouve mes rires d’avant, lorsque j’étais adolescente. Je veux profiter de la vie, réduire mon stress et surtout trouver un homme qui m’aime et que j’aime… » On peut rêver !

Pour nombre de nos interlocuteurs, leur nouvelle lubie consiste à s’engager politiquement. Lamine, qui se dit informaticien, mais qui tient une boutique de réparation d’ordinateurs, passe son temps libre dans les réunions d’un des plus importants partis politiques du moment. Une lubie qu’il explique en ces termes : « j’ai été très déçu par le niveau de certains députés dans l’ancienne ANC et j’ai donc décidé de m’engager pour tenter d’améliorer cette situation. » Ce qu’il ne dit pas, c’est qu’il désire également améliorer sa situation personnelle !

Les autres résolutions que nous avons pu découvrir sont très variées, parfois inattendues. Il y a celle de ne plus « grignoter entre les repas et maigrir de plusieurs kilos » pour cette lycéenne aux formes généreuses. Pour son frère, maigre et très nerveux, il s’agit de « ne plus me mettre en colère pour la moindre contrariété ». Faire un voyage aux lieux saints et soigner sa santé sont les résolutions qui reviennent souvent chez les personnes âgées.

Et puis il y a les résolutions loufoques : « enrichir ma garde robe » pour cette jeune fille riche, « ne plus remettre à demain ce que je peux faire aujourd’hui et jouer moins avec la console de jeu vidéo » pour ce lycéen plus attiré par les matches de foot virtuels que par les problèmes de maths. Nous avons eu également des réponses « culturelles », avec cette dame bousculée par sa vie de famille « lire un livre au moins chaque mois »

La palme revient à ce jeune marié qui s’entend mal avec sa belle mère, trop envahissante à son goût : « ma principale résolution pour la nouvelle année c’est de me forcer à appeler mes beaux-parents de temps en temps, mais pas trop souvent, il ne faut pas exagérer non plus ! » Petite hésitation, et il ajoute : « et conduire de façon plus cool en mettant la musique moins fort ! »

Nous avons eu des réponses pleines d’humour comme « arrêter de faire des jeux de mot qui ne font rire que moi » ou « ne plus regarder les émissions idiotes de la téléréalité. », « ne plus dire de mal de ce collègue idiot, car c’est pas sa faute » et finalement « arrêter de faire des résolutions en début d’année que je ne pourrais pas tenir. »

La plus originale des résolutions, mais aussi la plus triste, est celle annoncée par une dame de quarante ans qui a fait le vœu, pour cette nouvelle année de se débarrasser de son époux, alcoolique et violent : « cela fait plus de dix huit ans que je supporte ses crises et ses lubies. Chaque soir, il rentre ivre et tente de me faire l’amour, ou plutôt de me violer, ce qu’il réussit rarement car l’alcool l’empêche d’avoir une érection suffisante ! »

Le plus marrant dans tout ça est qu’année après année, ce sont toujours les mêmes résolutions qui ressortent encore et toujours. Ne vous blâmez pas, vous n’êtes pas seul, le phénomène est universel !


Nouvel an 2015 : Top 10 des pires résolutions qu’on ne tient jamais

Le nouvel an, c’est l’occasion de faire le tri dans sa vie et de repartir sur des bonnes bases pour l’année d’après. Donc, on prend de nombreuses résolutions. Seulement entre faire régime et arrêter de boire, finalement, on ne s’y tient jamais. Top 10 des pires résolutions à ne pas prendre pour 2015 !

Arrêter de boire

Ahahah, comme si c’était réellement faisable.



Faire régime

Ah si cette résolution on l’a tenue en 2014. Deux jours. Et puis… ben c’était les vacances et puis les repas de Noël… Et manger, c’est tellement bon. Alors, dans l’idée : en 2015, je deviens canon, certes, mais en mangeant tout ce que je veux et sans faire de sport. Si, c’est possible. Chut.



Faire du sport

Mes kilos et moi l’année dernière, on était déterminés : “Cette année je me remets au sport, je dit ‘à jamais’ à ma cellulite et je deviens Shakira”. Et puis… la flemme. C’est décidé, l’année prochaine, je vise Garfield.



Arrêter de fumer

Fumer c’est mal. Cependant, est-ce que vous voulez vraiment me supporter en manque de nicotine les prochains mois ? “OUI, J’AI ARRÊTÉ DE FUMER ! ET ALOOORS ? SI, JE SUIS CALME !”



Et un mois et demi plus tard, ça donne ça :



Diminuer les soirées et dormir plus

Quand on regarde notre reflet dans le miroir avant d’aller bosser le 31 décembre (et tous les autres matins en réalité) et qu’on remarque nos poches sous les yeux, on se le jure : “l’année prochaine je sors moins et je dors plus pour retrouver le teint de mes vingt ans”. Si seulement.




Après une année haute en couleurs, on a qu’une seule envie : mettre de l’ordre dans notre vie. Avoir un agenda, et le tenir (“Comment ça j’ai loupé la ventre presse d’Hermès?!”), ranger son appart et surtout sa chambre (“Les pantalons à droite, les pulls à gauche, les vêtements que je ne mets pas ? A donner ! Oh et puis zut, tout sur la même étagère !”), trouver le temps pour tout, ranger ses paperasses (“Mais il est oùùù mon passeport ???”), bref, s’or-ga-ni-ser. Seulement, ça prend du temps, et du temps, on n’en a pas.



Économiser et arrêter de faire des achats compulsifs

“Ah bon, je suis dans le rouge ? De combien ? Ah… tant que ça ?“, en 2015, c’est fini. Cette année, notre banquière va nous adorer et on met des sous de côté. Peut-être même qu’on pourra enfin devenir propriétaire ? “T’as vu la dernière collection de Zara ? Elle est soldée !”. Traîtresse.




Chaque année, on vieillit et chaque année notre corps évolue. Malgré les heures de sport, de régime et de souffrances qu’on a subit (ahem…), il n’a pas l’air de ressembler totalement à celui de Beyoncé. Et cette année on assume ! Comme toutes les autres années en fait.



Garder un mec, trouver l’amour de sa vie et arrêter de stalker son ex

Comme si c’était une vraie résolution. Comme si on ne décidait pas ça à chaque rupture ou à chaque lendemain de soirée après avoir flirté avec ce mec tellement beau (mais pas très fin) qu’on a croisé entre le bar et la piste de danse. Comme si c’était seulement dû à notre bonne volonté. Comme si c’était aussi facile !



Arrêter de regarder des bêtises à la télé et lire plus

Perdre notre temps à regarder les 34 séries américaines qu’on a sur l’ordi (chuuut), zoner devant “Les Ch’tis” ou “Secret Story”, on a plus l’âge. Il vaudrait mieux lire le tout nouveau livre ultra culturel qui vient de sortir et dont tout le monde parle. Et pourtant, chaque année, on connait les prénoms de chaque candidat des “Princes de l’amour” par coeur.











Gute Vorsätze fürs Jahr 2015?

Top Neujahrsvorsätze 2015 der Deutschen

Vor allem beim Großteil der unter 30-Jährigen ist der Wille zur Veränderung und Selbstverbesserung noch ausgesprochen groß (86 Prozent). Lediglich fünf Prozent der Deutschen halten Neujahrsvorsätze für sinnlos, so die repräsentative Umfrage von

Neujahrsvorsätze bleiben oft Wunschdenken

Allerdings werden auch nur die Hälfte solcher Vorhaben eingehalten: 45 Prozent der Deutschen geben zu, an ihren Neujahrsvorsätzen meistens oder sogar immer zu scheitern. In den neuen Bundesländern werden die Pläne für das neue Jahr immerhin ein wenig ernster genommen: 62 Prozent sagen dort von sich, dass sie sich meistens an ihre Absichten zum Jahreswechsel halten – jeder Zehnte sogar immer.

Was nimmt sich Deutschland für 2015 vor?

Deutschland macht sich fit: Mehr Sport steht ganz an der Spitze der Vorhaben für 2015 – vor allem jede zweite Frau (49 Prozent) und fast 60 Prozent der unter 30-Jährigen gedenken, im neuen Jahr mehr für ihre Fitness zu tun (insgesamt 44 Prozent). Auf dem zweiten Platz landet für beide Geschlechter die gesündere Ernährung.

Während bei Frauen auf Platz drei mit Gewichtsverlust ein weiterer körperlicher Vorsatz folgt, wollen sich Männer mehr Zeit für Familie und Freunde nehmen. Jeder sechste Deutsche (17 Prozent) will sich zudem beruflich verändern. Und auch in Sachen Liebe suchen die Bundesbürger nach Umgestaltung: Fast jeder Zehnte (neun Prozent) wünscht sich eine neue Beziehung. Immerhin fast jeder fünfte U30-Jährige will weniger Zeit mit PC oder Smartphone im Internet verbringen.

Top Neujahrsvorsätze

  1. Mehr Sport 44%
  2. Gesünder ernähren 39%
  3. Abnehmen 32%
  4. Mehr Zeit für Familie 26%
  5. Mehr Zeit für Liebe/Beziehung 24%
  6. Weiterbilden 24%
  7. Mehr Zeit für Hobbys 23%
  8. Beförderung/Jobwechsel 17%
  9. Weniger Zeit im Internet 12%
  10. Eine neue Beziehung 9%
  11. Mit dem Rauchen aufhören 8%
  12. Weniger Alkohol 7%
  13. Weniger Fernsehen 5%


Gute Vorsätze für das Neue Jahr 2015: Unsere Top 5

Jedes Jahr im Januar beginnt für etwa 80% der Deutschen ein völlig neues Leben – bewertet an all‘ den guten Vorsätzen, die sie sich vorgenommen haben. Dabei halten sich 75% davon gerade mal eine magere Woche an ihre Vorhaben. Zu stark ist die Macht der Gewohnheit und so verwundert es nicht, dass nächstes Jahr die gleichen guten Vorsätze immer noch ihre Gültigkeit haben. Aber was wünscht ihr euch für das neue Jahr und was macht die Vorsätze so schwer umsetzbar? Wir haben uns einmal umgehört und die Top Vorsätze für das Neue Jahr für euch zusammengestellt.

Top Vorsatz Nr. 5: Weniger Zeit für Smartphones & TV

Wer kennt es nicht, abends nach der Arbeit ruft nur noch das Sofa und der Fernseher. Nebenher hat man auch noch das Handy im Blick. Genau das haben nun etwa ein Fünftel der Deutschen satt und nehmen sich vor, im nächsten Jahr weniger vor dem Fernseher und dem Smartphone zu verbringen. Ein edler Vorsatz, der vor allem in geselliger Runde Anklang finden dürfte. Nichts stört mehr, als Gesprächspartner, die vehement auf das Smartphone gucken und sich in sozialen Netzwerken rumtreiben, während man doch so spannende Geschichten erzählen will. Toller Vorsatz für das kommende Jahr.

Top Vorsatz Nr. 4: Gewicht verlieren

Dieser Vorsatz kommt dem ein oder anderen sicher bekannt vor: Abnehmen. Ganze 34% der Deutschen sind nicht zufrieden mit ihrer Figur und möchten deshalb gerne etwas abspecken. 48% möchten sich gesünder ernähren. Gerade nach den Weihnachtsfeiertagen und einem üppigen Silvester fühlen sich viele unwohl und sagen den überschüssigen Pfunden den Kampf an. Jetzt werden Kalorien gezählt, Kohlenhydrate verbannt, Lebensmittel getrennt und sich eiserne Regeln auferlegt. Wenn wir ehrlich sind, sind diese drastischen Maßnahmen doch meist zum Scheitern verurteilt und nach einigen Tagen oder Wochen – je nachdem wie lange durchgehalten wird – sind die guten Vorsätze dahin und man selbst gefrustet.

Unser Tipp:

Erwarte keine Ergebnisse über Nacht. Auch nicht in den ersten Tagen oder 1-3 Wochen. Was wir uns stetig und leidenschaftlich über Jahre angefuttert haben, kann man nicht in kürzester Zeit verlieren. Wer sich dessen bewusst ist, dass sich die Pfündchen nach und nach angesetzt haben und deshalb auch nur nach und nach mit derselben Stetigkeit wieder verschwinden können, der geht viel realistischer an sein Vorhaben ran. Die Ernährungsgewohnheiten haben dazu geführt, dass die Lieblingsjeans nicht mehr passt. Deshalb gilt es diese umzustellen, aber nicht rigoros einzuschränken oder gar übereifrig auf einen Bruchteil zu reduzieren. Kleine Schritte führen auf lange Sicht zu besseren und nachhaltigeren Erfolgen. Wie wäre es also, vorerst die Kohlenhydrate bei einer Mahlzeit wegzulassen, um sich daran zu gewöhnen? Kalorien können langsam reduziert werden, Zucker weggelassen und auch fettige Speisen durch mehr Gemüse ersetzt werden. Ein Tagebuch über alle Mahlzeiten und Naschereien pro Tag kann ebenfalls die Augen öffnen, wo die versteckten Fallen lauern. So gewöhnt man sich mit der Zeit an neue, gesündere Essgewohnheiten, die dann selbstverständlich werden.

Top Vorsatz Nr.3: Mehr Zeit für mich und meine Liebsten

Jeder Zweite möchte im nächsten Jahr mehr Zeit für sich und seine Liebsten haben. Job und Verpflichtungen spannen so sehr ein, dass man alles um sich herum vergisst. Dir fällt auf Anhieb auch eine Freundin oder ein Freund ein, den Du ja schon längst hättest besuchen wollen? Deine Liebsten sind im letzten Jahr umgezogen, aber Du hattest noch keine Zeit, die neue Wohnung zu besichtigen. Dabei wären sie nur eine Stunde von Dir weg? Zu wenig Zeit, zu viel zu tun – wir kennen alle dieses Problem. Dabei müssten wir uns die Zeit einfach nur nehmen und wenn es nur alle zwei Wochen ist. Die Zeit mit der Familie und den Freunden entspannt, gibt neue Eindrücke und ist ein kurzer Ausflug von Alltag und Pflichten. Den sollte man sich gönnen, auch um soziale Kontakte zu pflegen. Wer sonst lädt einen auf die nächste Silvesterparty ein oder fährt mal gemeinsam in den Urlaub? Mit wem lassen wir es am Festival krachen oder gehen mal ins Kino? Niemand man so etwas gerne alleine, also ran an’s Telefon und gleich alte Bekannte und Freunde anrufen. Eine Neujahresmail oder ein kurzer Anruf, um ein gutes Neues zu wünschen können dabei schon der erste Schritt in die richtige Richtung sein.

Top Vorsatz Nr. 2: Mehr Sport

Ja, das kennen wir. Wer von uns sollte sich nicht doch noch etwas mehr bewegen? Der zweitbeliebteste – oder notwendigste? – Vorsatz der Deutschen ist mehr Sport zu treiben. Mehr als 50% nehmen sich vor, sich im kommenden Jahr mehr zu bewegen. Das klingt ja toll, denn Bewegung hält fit und gesund, gleicht uns aus und setzt Glückshormone frei. Zu Beginn des Jahres ist deshalb gerade der Ansturm auf die Fitnessstudios extrem hoch. Die Umkleiden sind voll und die Geräte besetzt. Auf den ersten Blick scheinen viele ihren Vorsatz in die Tat umzusetzen. Die Mehrheit der Neujahres-Sportler lässt allerdings spätestens gegen Mitte Februar die Zügel wieder schleifen. Dann gibt es wieder mehr als genug freie Plätze an den Geräten und die Fitnesskurse werden wieder spärlicher besucht. Schade, denn gerade wer Sport erfolgreich in seinen Alltag integriert, hat viele Vorteile für seine Gesundheit und sein Gemüt. Keiner erwartet einen gestählten Athletenkörper nach 4 Wochen, aber dennoch kann man bei konsequenten Besuchen im Fitnessstudio, und sei es nur 2 Mal die Woche in einem Zumba-Kurs, deutliche Erfolge verzeichnen. Das ist das Schöne am Sport, finden wir. Wer es durchhält seinen Schweinehund zu bezwingen, der findet sicherlich bald Gefallen an den Erfolgen, einem besseren Körpergefühl, mehr Gelenkigkeit oder einem rassigen Hüftschwung. Sportarten sind vielfältig und bieten für jeden garantiert das richtig: Vom Tanzkurs in der Gruppe über Spinning mit Musik, Yoga, Krafttraining an den Geräten oder ebenfalls in einem Kurs – viele Studios bieten für alles eine Schnupperstunde, um seine Vorlieben auszuloten, bevor man sich an Verträge bindet. Wer kein Geld ausgeben will, der geht eben im Wald joggen, besucht den nächsten Trim-Dich-Pfad oder geht im Park Walken. Auch wenn es am Anfang viel Überwindung kostet und sicher anstrengend ist – so muss das sein. Setz Dir erreichbare Ziele, motiviere Dich mit anderen Sportlern, steigere langsam die Intensität deiner Übungen und erwarte am Anfang keine Höchstleistungen. Dann hältst Du auch ganz sicher durch. Die Ausrede, keine Zeit für regelmäßigen Sport zu haben, lassen wir nicht gelten. Also runter vom Sofa und ab zum Training – No pain, no gain!

Top Vorsatz Nr. 1: Nicht stressen lassen!

Die unangefochtene Nummer 1 aller Vorsätze hat indirekt mit allen vorhergehenden Vorsätzen zu tun. Dieses Problem hält uns von all unseren anderen guten Vorsätzen am meisten ab. Ganze 60% der Deutschen möchten im nächsten Jahr Stress abbauen und vermeiden. Wow! Drei von Fünf Deutschen leidet demnach unter massiven Stress im Alltag, sei es im Job oder im Privatleben. Das klingt alarmierend und gleichzeitig nach einem längst überfälligen Vorsatz. Wer längere Zeit unter hohem Druck und Stress leidet, der kann sowohl psychisch als auch physisch krank werden. Wer davon betroffen ist, muss unbedingt selbst die Notbremse ziehen. Wie man Stress vorbeugt und somit sich selbst schont, dafür haben wir ein paar Tipps für euch:

Unsere Tipps gegen Stress:

Wer sich zu viel aufbürdet oder aufbürden lässt, der muss lernen „Nein“ zu sagen. Ob im Job, im Studium oder im Alltag, das erfüllbare Pensum an Arbeit und Verantwortung muss jeder selbst bestimmen und dafür einstehen können. Wer das nicht kann, steht für einem nicht zu erklimmenden Berg an Arbeit und Aufgaben, die ihn am Ende zur Verzweiflung bringen. Dann dem Chef zu sagen, man könne den Auftrag doch nicht pünktlich oder nur halbwegs gut erfüllen, ist mindestens so unangenehm, wie den Auftrag von vornerein abzulehnen. Lieber kleinere Ziele setzen und sich genügend Zeit lassen, um eventuelle Fehler zu korrigieren. Wir sind alle nur Menschen und nicht perfekt. Wer sich dessen bewusst ist und sich das eingesteht, der arbeitet viel stressfreier und sicher auch viel zufriedener.

Gute Vorsätze für das Jahr 2015: Sich mal nichts vornehmen

Nachdem so viele Vorsätze jedes Jahr wiederkehren und sich das Eingeständnis des Scheiterns ungehörig unangenehm anfühlt, haben wir noch eine Idee: Wie wäre es mal mit einem Jahr ohne Vorsätze? Einfach nur gut in das neue Jahr starten und dann sehen, was kommt? Vielleicht hat man ja im Mai richtig Lust auf Joggen und findet zufällig ein neues Lieblingsrestaurant, das einen auf den Geschmack von richtig gesundem Essen bringt. Wir nehmen uns nicht nur vor, dass wir uns ohne zu zögern etwas gönnen, sondern tun es einfach. Viele gute Dinge ergeben sich aus der Situation und jeder benötigt seinen eigenen Anstoß, um Veränderungen umzusetzen. Sich einem völlig neuen Leben zu verschreiben, nur weil ein neues Jahr anbricht, ist für viele offenbar nicht motivierend genug. Ein neues Lebensabschnitt beginnt dann, wenn Du das möchtest. Du möchtest Gewicht verlieren, das geht auch ohne den Silvesterstartschuss ab sofort oder mitten im Jahr. Es ist immer eine gute Zeit, um sein Leben neu zu strukturieren und das kann jeder individuell. Deshalb starten wir einfach ohne bahnbrechenden Vorsätzen in das neue Jahr, außer, dass es ein gutes werden soll. Komme, was wolle. Wie wäre es auch mal mit Vorsätzen für die nächste Woche oder den nächsten Monat? Kürzere, überschaubarere Zeitspannen mit realistischeren Zielen, könnten helfen Ziele zu erreichen.

Wie steht es um Eure Vorsätze? Welche Ziele habt ihr für das kommende Jahr? Habt ihr euch genau diese Ziele schon einmal gesteckt? Warum seid ihr gescheitert und wie wollt ihr es dieses Mal anders machen? Habt ihr Tipps, um Vorsätze knallhart durchzuziehen? Was motiviert euch? Wir sind gespannt auf eure Wünsche und Vorhaben für 2015, erzählt uns doch davon.


Gute Vorsätze fürs neue Jahr

So halten Sie durch

Mit Sekt und Silvester kommt für viele Menschen auch ein Motivationsschub: Neues Jahr, neues Glück – auf in die nächste Runde, ein besserer Mensch zu werden. Der Jahreswechsel ist ein beliebter Zeitpunkt, Bilanz zu ziehen und neue Vorhaben anzugehen.Dabei braucht man eigentlich keinen besonderen Anlass, um unliebsame Gewohnheiten auf den Prüfstand zu stellen. Psychologen raten, sich auch während des Jahres häufiger einmal die Zeit zu nehmen, innezuhalten und sein Verhalten zu reflektieren. Schließlich kann man gute Vorsätze nicht nur im Januar beschließen.

Realistische Ziele setzen

Dass die Vorsätze oftmals nicht lange eingehalten werden, hat mehrere Gründe. Zum einen sind die Ziele häufig zu diffus und zu unkonkret. Außerdem stehen Ziele manchmal miteinander im Konflikt. Und drittens: Viele Ziele sind zu hoch gesteckt, zu unrealistisch. Fünf Kilo in einem Monat abzunehmen ist nicht nur sehr ambitioniert, sondern im Zweifel auch gar nicht gesund.Jede Veränderung beginnt mit einer Vision. Ein klares Bild von dem angestrebten Leben gibt die nötige Motivation. Halten Sie alle Erfolge und Rückschläge in einem Tagebuch fest. Meist hilft das Aufschreiben, um sich über unbewusste Handlungen klar zu werden.

Alternativen vorwegnehmen

Oft helfen schon ganz einfache Tricks, die an die Vorsätze erinnern und motivieren. Wer sich vorgenommen hat, häufiger Zahnseide zu benutzen, dem hilft ein Kalender am Spiegel, um den guten Vorsatz in die Tat umzusetzen. Wer nur bei strahlendem Sonnenschein joggt, muss bei Regenwetter dennoch nicht schlapp auf der Couch sitzen. Das Zauberwort heißt „Bewältigungsplanung” – das bedeutet: Hindernisse vorwegnehmen, bevor sie auftauchen. Schönwetterjogger können zum Beispiel eine gepackte Tasche fürs Schwimmbad als Alternative für den Fall bereithalten, dass es in Strömen regnet.Auch für künftige Nichtraucher ist es sinnvoll, sich ein Alternativverhalten anzueignen, das das Rauchen ersetzt. Ob Kaugummi kauen, Zähne putzen, zu gesunden Sachen greifen oder mit Freunden telefonieren – Möglichkeiten gibt es viele. Wichtig ist auch, Risikosituationen vorwegzunehmen und nach Alternativen zu suchen, damit es nicht zum Rückfall kommt.

Mit Spaß dabei

Erfolgserlebnisse dienen als wichtige Motivationsstützen. Loben Sie sich nach dem Joggen selbst, und seien Sie stolz auf die zurückgelegte Strecke. Wenn Sie abnehmen wollen, freuen Sie sich auf Obst und Gemüse, und haben Sie Spaß, dabei Fett zu vermeiden. Gruppendruck kann durchaus hilfreich sein. Erzählen Sie Bekannten und Verwandten, dass Sie mit dem Rauchen aufhören. Wer Sie mit Glimmstängel erwischt, bekommt zehn Euro.Versuchen Sie aber nicht, Ihr ganzes Leben auf einmal umzukrempeln, sondern freuen Sie sich über kleine Erfolge. Zum Beispiel: statt einer Schachtel nur noch zehn Zigaretten pro Tag rauchen – oder nicht gleich zehn Kilo Gewichtsverlust in drei Monaten anstreben. Setzen Sie sich kleine Meilensteine und belohnen Sie sich, wenn Sie diese erreicht haben. Sie haben es geschafft, einen Monat nicht zu rauchen? Dann kaufen Sie sich von dem gesparten Geld etwas Schönes. Nach dem ersten Kilo weniger auf der Waage gönnen Sie sich einen Besuch in der Sauna oder eine Rückenmassage. Übrigens: Manchmal darf man seinem inneren Schweinehund auch mal nachgeben, er sollte nur nicht die Oberhand gewinnen.


So funktionieren Vorsätze

Dabei ist das Streben nach Besserem nichts Verwerfliches, im Gegenteil: Man muss sich durchaus ab und an daran erinnern, das Beste aus sich heraus zu holen, um es nicht zu vergessen und um dem Vorbild wieder jenen Rang einzuräumen, den Terminkalender, Trott und Trägheit zwischenzeitlich besetzt halten. Vergessen sollten Sie allerdings alle spontanen Ideen vom Typ Nächstes-Jahr-suche-ich-mir-einen-besseren-Job oder Ich-mache-2010-endlich-Karriere. Bringt nichts! Nach dem selben Muster scheitern auch alle Im-kommenden-Jahr-nehme-ich-zehn-Kilo-ab-Diäten. Und zwar aus zwei Gründen:

  • Wer sich zu viel auf einmal vornimmt, scheitert schneller. Und…
  • Die Vorsätze dürfen nicht aus einer Laune heraus entstehen, sondern realistisch und überschaubar geplant werden. Dabei hilft es, das vergangene Jahr Revue passieren zu lassen, die eigenen Stärken zu erkennen und danach erst zu entscheiden, in was es sich lohnt Zeit, Kraft und Mühe zu investieren.

Sich zu viel auf einmal vorzunehmen, ist ohnehin unklug. Schließlich geht es darum, mit alten Gewohnheiten zu brechen. Die sind anfangs wie Spinnweben und später wie Drahtseile, sagt ein spanisches Sprichwort. Sie abzulegen geht nicht von heute auf morgen. Die Kunst ist, ein großes Ziel, eine Strategie möglichst konkret zu entwerfen, in Etappen zu zerlegen und diese anschließend konsequent und mit aller Kraft zu verfolgen. So weiß man heute aus der Motivationsforschung, dass Menschen mehr Elan zeigen, ein Ziel zu erreichen, je näher sie diesem kommen. Also planen Sie möglichst greifbar und konkret. Im kommenden Jahr weniger zu essen ist übrigens kein konkretes Ziel! Jeden Montag, Mittwoch und Freitag auf den Nachtisch zu verzichten, dagegen schon. Eine gute Hilfe ist zudem, sich die Vorsätze exakt aufzuschreiben. Sonst verzettelt man sich – oder verwirft sie ein paar Tage danach wieder. Apropos Zettel: Wenn Sie sich die Vorsätze notieren, dann am besten so, dass Sie immer wieder darauf stoßen:

  • Ein guter Ort für den Merkzettel „5 Kilo abnehmen!“ ist zum Beispiel die Kühlschranktür.
  • Und das Merkblatt „Der Kunde ist König“ gehört nicht vor die Tür, sondern dahinter, wo der Schreibtisch steht.

Und machen Sie sich nichts vor: Rückschläge werden kommen, keiner ist perfekt! Die US-Psychologen Alan Marlatt und Elizabeth Miller von der Universität von Washington fanden vor einigen Jahren heraus, dass kaum jemand bei seinen Vorsätzen und dem ersten Versuch erfolgreich war, nahezu jeder Fünfte brauchte gar mehr als sechs Anläufe. Mehr noch: Phillippa Lally vom University College in London geht gar davon aus, dass es mindestens zwei Monate, also rund 66 Tage dauert, bis Sie neue (bessere) Gewohnheiten etabliert haben. Und dabei muss man die neue Gewohnheit auch noch täglich praktizieren. Immerhin: Laut Lally ist es nicht schlimm, wenn Sie auch mal einen Tag damit aussetzen – Hauptsache, Sie fangen überhaupt an und bleiben ausdauernd dran. Geben Sie also nicht auf, sondern machen Sie weiter! Denken Sie einfach an das, was Sie bisher erreicht haben – erst recht nach diesem schwierigen Jahr.

Drei Tipps wie Neujahrsvorsätze gelingen

  1. Verbündete suchen. Forscher um Mark Conner vom Institute of Psychological Science an der Universität von Leeds konnten die Effektivität eines zugegebenermaßen nicht allzu spektakulären Tricks nachweisen, um gute Vorsätze zu erfüllen und wünschenswerte Gewohnheiten beizubehalten: Schließen Sie sich dazu mit anderen zusammen – Freunden, Familie, Kollegen. Es ist wie beim Sport oder Fitnesstraining: Alleine rafft man sich nur schwer auf, aber mit einem Partner an der Seite lässt sich auch der stärkste innere Schweinehund besiegen.
  2. Zuversicht üben. Das amerikanische Forscher-Duo Anirban Mukhopadhyay und Gita Johar stellte schon im Jahr 2005 fest, dass es bei den Vorsätzen vor allem auf unseren Erfolgsglauben ankommt. Wer davon überzeugt ist, dass er alte und lästige Gewohnheiten mit genug Willenskraft verändern oder gar ablegen kann, ist ihrer Studie zufolge deutlich erfolgreicher, als jemand, der es nur mal so ausprobiert.
  3. Spaß behalten. Gute Vorsätze müssen immer auch Spaß machen. Sparsamer zu werden, weckt keine Ambitionen. Jeden Monat 100 Euro zur Seite zu legen, um mit dem Gesparten einen Traumurlaub zu finanzieren, schon eher. Jede Veränderung, die Ihnen gelingt, ist ein Schritt vorwärts, für das Sie sich belohnen sollten. Sonst laufen Sie Gefahr, aus Frust und bei ersten Rückschlägen aufzugeben.



Neues Jahr, neue Chance

Und, was ist Ihr guter Vorsatz für 2015?

Mehr Sport treiben 2548 22,53%
Meine Partnerin/meinen Partner täglich daran erinnern, dass sie/er mehr Sport treiben soll 442 3,91%
Mehr Zeit mit der Familie verbringen 245 2,17%
Keller aufräumen 355 3,14%
Schluss mit Rauchen! 262 2,32%
Jetzt aber wirklich und in echt und ein für allemal: Schluss! Mit! Rauchen! 300 2,65%
Schwiegermutter besuchen (wenn mal Zeit ist) 39 0,34%
Weniger fernsehen 231 2,04%
Endlich mal ein gutes Buch lesen 273 2,41%
Weniger Fleisch essen (aber mehr Obst und Gemüse) 726 6,42%
Mehr Fleisch essen (und mehr Obst und mehr Gemüse) 347 3,07%
(Ein bisschen) weniger Alkohol trinken 782 6,92%
Jeden Tag ganz viel SPIEGEL ONLINE lesen 637 5,63%
Ein besserer Mensch werden 1039 9,19%
Keine guten Vorsätze mehr machen (klappt eh nie) 3082 27,26%
Gesamtbeteiligung 11308











Paco, vente pa’ Alemania!!!

Quince cosas que empiezas a hacer cuando vives en Alemania

Alemania es el cuarto país del mundo con más emigrantes españoles. 122.000 personas procedentes de España residen actualmente en el país germano, según datos del Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE).

Ellos han tenido que hacerse con las costumbres del lugar nada más llegar. Comer y cenar temprano o entender su fascinación ante el mínimo rayo de sol no son las únicas barreras culturales que tuvieron que superar. Ahora sabrán que ser cuadriculado no siempre se traduce en ser eficiente y que a los alemanes les cuesta improvisar, pero cuando son leales lo son hasta límites insospechados. Así apuntan algunas de estas quince rarezas, que tras pasar un tiempo en tierras germanas resultan normales.

1. Jamás das dos besos al saludar. Siempre la mano.


2. Bebes cosas raras.


Crees que vas a incrementar tu consumo de cerveza y así es, porque es más barata que el agua. Pero también terminas bebiendo líquidos que jamás imaginarías. Algunas de ellas son: apfelschorle (zumo de manzana mezclado con agua con gas), glühwein (vino caliente con especias), Club Mate (refresco altamente excitante inspirado en el Mate argentino que no lleva mate pero sí mucha cafeína y mucha teína), Mezzo Mix (mezclar Coca-Cola con Fanta de naranja sin ser menor está socialmente aceptado) y Bionade (refresco que se suma a la moda de productos BIO. No sabe a nada, pero tiene varios colores).

3. Vas a devolver los cascos de la bebida.


Una vez ingeridos todos estos líquidos, regresas al supermercado cargado con las botellas vacías. Esa práctica (Pfand) que en España quedó en los 80 está a la orden del día en Alemania. Es ecológico y económico. Te dan hasta 25 céntimos por botella o lata, que has pagado previamente. En Alemania el índice de reutilización de una botella supera el 90 por ciento. En España no llega al 20.

4. La temperatura en la calle es de cinco grados bajo cero o inferior. Pero no te quedas en casa. Haces botellón si se tercia.


5. Emites continuamente un sonido gutural: Genau. Significa “exactamente” en alemán. Se usa para todo.

ja genau

6. Es más normal desnudarse en público que saltarse un semáforo en rojo.


La relación de los alemanes con su cuerpo es muy distinta a la de la católica España. Dicen que es una herencia de su pasado comunista, pero lo cierto es que también ocurre en la Alemania occidental.

7. Cuando brindas lo haces mirando a los ojos.


Y dices prost. Si es el brindis de tu cena de empresa y sois treinta. Pues también.

8. David Hasselhoff es Dios.


Sin ironía. El vigilante de la playa ha vendido siete millones de discos a lo largo de una carrera musical, que tantas risas nos has proporcionado en España. La mayor parte de ellas en el mundo germanoparlante: Alemania, Suiza y Austria. Es entonces cuando dejas de entender el término kitsch con una broma.

9. Tratas de usted a cualquier persona que haya cumplido la edad de hacer la Primera Comunión.


10. ¿Qué apostamos? te parece un programa de televisión entretenido.

tom hanks

Es más, lo que ocurre en él te importa. SI cambian al presentador o el día de emisión. La longevidad del programa parece una más de sus pruebas. Wetten, dass… ? se emite desde antes de que en España lo presentara Ana Obregón. Toda celebridad que se precie tiene que acudir a él y humillarse en él, como en España a El Hormiguero.

11. Vas con el perro a todos los lados. El metro, un restaurante, un bar…


12 …Vas al bar (con tu perro) a ver Tatort


Es una serie policiaca (El lugar del crimen) que se emite desde los setenta. Y se ve en grupo. Cada domingo, a las 20.15, nueve millones de personas lo hacen. Los bares utilizan pantallas de proyección que en España solo se ven durante los partidos del Mundial o Eurovisión. Christoph Waltz (Django desencadenado) fue su protagonista durante décadas.

13. Cuando entras en una casa ( a ver Tatort, por ejemplo) te descalzas sin pensártelo dos veces.

paul wolfowitz

14. Contestas al teléfono pronunciando tu apellido. A tu madre también.


15. La bicicleta no es un sólo un elemento de ocio.


Es un medio de transporte legítimo (con sus multas de circulación incluidas). Ir en traje al trabajo pedaleando es habitual y no resulta para nada poco profesional.



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Dialectos e Falares em Portugal

A Língua Portuguesa

O português, oitava língua mais falada do planeta (terceira entre as línguas ocidentais, após o inglês e o castelhano), é a língua oficial em sete países: Angola (10,3 milhões de habitantes), Brasil (151 milhões), Cabo Verde (346 mil), Guiné Bissau (1 milhão), Moçambique (15,3 milhões), Portugal (9,9 milhões) e São Tomé e Príncipe (126 mil).

O português é uma das línguas oficiais da União Européia (ex-CEE) desde 1986, quando da admissão de Portugal na instituição. Em razão dos acordos do Mercosul (Mercado Comum do Sul), do qual o Brasil faz parte, o português será ensinado como língua estrangeira nos demais países que dele participam. Em 1994, é decidida a criação da Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa, que reunirá os países de língua oficial portuguesa com o propósito de uniformizar e difundir a língua portuguesa e aumentar o intercâmbio cultural entre os países membros.

Na área vasta e descontínua em que é falado, o português apresenta-se, como qualquer língua viva, internamente diferenciado em variedades que divergem de maneira mais ou menos acentuada quanto à pronúncia, a gramática e ao vocabulário.

Tal diferenciação, entretanto, não compromete a unidade do idioma: apesar da acidentada história da sua expansão na Europa e, principalmente, fora dela, a Língua Portuguesa conseguiu manter até hoje apreciável coesão entre as suas variedades.

No estudo das formas que veio a assumir a Língua Portuguesa na África, na Ásia e na Oceania, é necessário distinguir dois tipos de variedades: as crioulas e as não crioulas. As variedades crioulas resultam do contato que o sistema linguístico português estabeleceu, a partir do século XV, com sistemas linguísticos indígenas. O grau de afastamento em relação à língua mãe é hoje de tal ordem que, mais do que como dialetos, os crioulos devem ser considerados como línguas derivadas do português.

Na faixa ocidental da Península Ibérica, onde o galego-português era falado, atualmente utiliza-se o galego e o português.

Esta região apresenta um conjunto de falares que, de acordo com certas características fonéticas (principalmente a pronúncia das sibilantes: utilização ou não do mesmo fonema em rosa e em passo, diferenciação fonética ou não entre Cinco e Seis, etc.), podem ser classificados em três grandes grupos:

1. Dialetos galegos.
2. Dialetos portugueses setentrionais; e
3. Dialetos portugueses centro-meridionais.

A fronteira entre os dialetos portugueses setentrionais e centro-meridionais atravessa Portugal de noroeste a sudeste.

Merecem atenção especial algumas regiões do país que apresentam características fonéticas peculiares: a região setentrional que abrange parte do Minho e do Douro Litoral, uma extensa área da Beira-Baixa e do Alto-Alentejo, principalmente centro-meridional, e o ocidente do Algarve, também centro-meridional.

Os dialetos falados nos arquipélagos dos Açores e da Madeira representam um prolongamento dos dialetos portugueses continentais, podendo ser incluídos no grupo centro-meridional.

Constituem casos excepcionais a ilha de São Miguel e a Madeira: independentemente uma da outra, ambas se afastam do que se pode chamar a norma centro-meridional por acrescentar-lhe um certo número de traços muito peculiares (alguns dos quais são igualmente encontrados em dialetos continentais).


Xogos da língua:

Conceito de dialecto

A forma correcta é, de acordo com a ortografia do Português Europeu, dialecto e, de acordo com a ortografia do Português do Brasil, dialeto. O termo dialecto é utilizado para variedades que definem uma zona relativamente abrangente. Neste sentido, há vários dialectos em Portugal (continental e ilhas). Apresenta-se, de seguida, o conjunto dos mais importantes:

Grupo dos dialectos setentrionais:

– dialectos transmontanos e alto-minhotos;

– dialectos baixo-minhotos, durienses e beirões.

Grupo dos dialectos centro-meridionais:

– dialectos do Centro-Litoral (estremenho-beirões);

– dialectos do Centro-Interior (ribatejano-baixo-beirão-alentejano-algarvios).

Dialectos insulares:

– Açores: Micaelense, dialecto São Miguel;

– Madeira: madeirense.

Dialectos asturo-leoneses em território português:

– Concelho de Bragança: Rionorês, Guadramilês;

– Concelho de Miranda do Douro: Mirandês.

Cada uma destas variedades tem características linguísticas muito particulares, que os definem individualmente. Como se pode observar, o mirandês tem exactamente o mesmo estatuto que todos os outros dialectos. Os restantes conceitos que apresenta (“sotaque” e “calão”) pouco têm de científico e são, quase sempre, muito discutíveis. Porém, de uma forma geral, pode dizer-se que “sotaque” é utilizado quando nos referimos a diferentes línguas: “sotaque” espanhol, francês, italiano… Quanto ao calão é um nível de língua, usado em situações de pouca formalidade, o que nada tem que ver com dialectos.


Dá-se o nome de dialecto a todo o sistema linguístico que deriva de outro mas que não apresenta uma diferenciação suficiente relativamente a outros de origem comum. Os dialectos costumam portanto ser considerados relativamente a um conjunto de vários sistemas linguísticos com um tronco comum ou que se encontram num mesmo limite geográfico. Por outro lado, o termo dialecto também diz respeito à estrutura linguística que não alcança a categoria social de língua.

Os dialectos estão associados à variedade linguística e, por conseguinte, à diversidade linguística. Apesar de ser hábito considerar o dialecto como sendo uma espécie de sistema de menor categoria ou mais simples do que uma língua, os dialectos são, na realidade, formas particulares de falar ou de escrever uma determinada língua.

Neste sentido, os dialectos podem surgir pela variedade geográfica. No caso da língua portuguesa, por exemplo, o dialecto que se fala em Portugal utiliza palavras como “hospedeira (de avião)” ou “rapariga”, ao passo que, no Brasil, esses termos não se usam ou usam-se mais raramente (são substituídos por “aeromoça” e “moça”, respectivamente).

Os especialistas falam de dialecto de prestígio para se referirem ao dialecto elegido pelas pessoas mais prestigiosas ou que pertencem às classes sociais mais altas (alta sociedade) numa comunidade de falantes/locutores em que coexistem vários dialectos.

Geralmente, têm-se em conta três critérios para considerar se dois sistemas linguísticos são dialectos ou línguas independentes: os dialectos devem ser mutuamente inteligíveis sem aprendizagem prévia, devem fazer parte de um território politicamente unificado e devem possuir um sistema ortográfico comum.


Linguagem Popular

A linguagem coloquial, informal ou popular é aquela linguagem que não é formal, ou seja, não segue padrões rígidos, é a linguagem popular, falada no quotidiano.

O nível popular está associado à simplicidade da utilização linguística em termos lexicais, fonéticos, sintácticos e semânticos. Esta decorrerá da espontaneidade própria do discurso oral e da natural economia linguística. É utilizado em contextos informais. Tomem-se a título exemplificativo os excertos que se seguem: «Minha santa filha do meu bô coração/ Cá arrecebi a tua pera mim muito estimada carta e nela fiquei ciante e sastifeita por saber que andavas rija e fera na cumpanhia do teu marido.» (Aquilino Ribeiro, O Homem na Nave); «- Ó Tio Luís, ó Tio Luís!…/ – Que é? / – Vossemecê não vê? (…)/ – Ouviste por ‘i berrar uma cabra?» (Camilo Castelo Branco, Maria Moisés, pp. 44-45).

A língua portuguesa possui uma relevante variedade de dialectos, muitos deles com uma acentuada diferença lexical em relação ao português padrão. Tais diferenças, entretanto, não prejudicam muito a inteligibilidade entre os locutores de diferentes dialectos.

O português europeu padrão (também conhecido como “estremenho”) modificou-se mais que as outras variedades. Mesmo assim, todos os aspectos e sons de todos os dialectos de Portugal podem ser encontrados nalgum dialecto no Brasil. O português africano, em especial o português santomense tem muitas semelhanças com o português do Brasil (também conhecido como “fluminense”), também os dialectos do sul de Portugal apresentam muitas semelhanças, especialmente o uso intensivo do gerúndio. Na Europa, o alto-minhoto e o transmontano são muito semelhantes ao galego.

Mesmo com a independência das antigas colónias africanas, o português padrão de Portugal é o padrão preferido pelos países africanos de língua portuguesa. Logo, o português apenas tem dois dialectos de aprendizagem, o europeu e o brasileiro. Note que, na língua portuguesa há dois dialectos preferidos em Portugal: o de Coimbra e o de Lisboa. No Brasil, o dialecto preferido é o falado e muito mais escrito pelos habitantes cultos das grandes cidades.

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Algunhas amostras dos dialectos em Portugal










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Dialects and Accents in England

British English

The abbreviation RP (Received Pronunciation) denotes the accent of educated people living in London and the southeast of England and of other people elsewhere who speak in this way. Because of its association with education rather than region, it is the only British accent that has no specific geographical correlate: it is not possible, on hearing someone speak RP, to know which part of the United Kingdom he or she comes from. RP is not intrinsically superior to other varieties of English; it is itself only one particular accent that has, through the accidents of history, achieved more prestige than others. Although acquiring its unique status without the aid of any established authority, it was fostered by the public schools (Winchester, Eton, Harrow, Rugby, and so on) and the ancient universities (Oxford and Cambridge). Other varieties of English are well preserved in spite of the leveling influences of film, television, and radio. In several Northern accents, RP /a:/ (the first vowel sound in father) is still pronounced /æ/ (a sound like the a in fat) in words such as laugh, fast, and path; this pronunciation … (200 of 14,730 words)


A broader interpretation

Broadly understood, BrE is the English language as used in Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales) or the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, depending on the use of British employed. In this sense, the term covers all varieties, STANDARD and NON-STANDARD, at all times, in all regions, and at all social levels. It is unlikely, however, to include the variety known as SCOTS, which in this context is usually treated, explicitly or implicitly, as a separate entity. In this interpretation, BrE is a heterogeneous range of ACCENTS and DIALECTS, including standard varieties used in several systems of education.

A narrower interpretation

Narrowly understood, BrE is the form of STANDARD ENGLISH used in Britain at large or more specifically in England, and more specifically still in south-eastern England. It is essentially the medium of the middle and upper classes. Although not confined to one accent, especially in recent decades, it has been associated since at least the late 19c with the accent known since the 1920s as RECEIVED PRONUNCIATION (RP), and with the phrases the QUEEN’S ENGLISH, OXFORD ENGLISH, and BBC ENGLISH. When BrE refers to a model of English taught to foreigners, it is an idealization of the south-eastern middle-class standard, as presented in dictionaries and other materials prepared for learners.

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UK accents: it’s not what you say, it’s the way that you say

Accents define us the moment we meet others. They pass on information about our lives – where we are from, our age and even our parents’ histories – and they form an identity that gives us immediate membership to an oral tribe. Often this information we are transmitting does nothing other than inform the listener, but what if the way we speak really could change the path of our lives?

Recent research suggests that some judgments made by listeners to an accent are more than simply banter between the borders. Accents can affect how intelligent or attractive you are perceived to be, and can potentially affect results in exams, trials and job interviews.

The UK has a population of around 65 million, most of whom speak English as part of their daily life. For such a small, densely populated land mass full of people sharing a common language, the UK has a huge variety of distinct regional accents, often existing very close to each other – Brummie, Glaswegian, Scouse, Cockney, Multicultural London English (MLE) and Geordie, to name a very few. All of these accents are defined geographically, yet there is one accent that seems to represent us Brits internationally – Received Pronunciation or RP.

Research consistently shows us that RP or the ‘Queen’s English’ gives British speakers the best headstart in life – RP speakers can relax with the knowledge that they will probably earn a few brownie points in that exam/job interview/trial by sounding ‘a bit posh’.

Why? Given that RP has no discernible geography, how did it manage to become the most desired accent on our little group of islands? Well, it’s no secret that power attracts emulation, and it seems that over the last few centuries we have shifted from admiring those ruling the nation to trying to speak like them in the quest to climb the social ladder. As a strategy, this worked in the 1800s, and whilst so much has changed since, this particular mindset remains largely the same.

Accents create variety in speech and form part of our rich cultural heritage, like forms of history and diversity that we can hear. But they are also a form of history in the making. As younger generations discover all that speech has to offer, they claim its expressivity for their own, with new words being created in schools up and down the country.

To some, this just isn’t ‘proper’ speech, the same people who would have ‘standard speech’ – whatever that might be – taught across the UK, and internationally. Supporters of such ‘standard speech’ need to ask themselves this: do you really talk exactly like your parents spoke? Accents evolve across generations; trying to preserve speech is like trying to catch the proverbial wave: impossible.

The question remains for the UK – do we want to waste our energy preserving an accent standard that ultimately does little other than create additional hurdles for our regional, youth and immigrant populations?

Or shall we try to truly embrace the multiculturalism we claim to support and nurture, and start thinking instead about new standards of listening?


What is dialect?

It may be useful to begin by deciding what a dialect is. Dialect describes a language variety where a user’s regional or social background appears in his or her use of vocabulary and grammar. This description is a very open one, and there is continuing debate about its application to particular varieties. Before considering these, it may help to explain the related feature of accent. (Some linguists include accent, along with lexis and grammar, as a feature of dialect.)

Accent denotes the features of pronunciation (the speech sounds) that show regional or social identity (and arguably that of an individual, since one could have a personal and idiosyncratic accent).

This description of dialect lacks precision and coherence. We can see these as problems, but reflecting on the reasons for them brings more understanding of what dialect means, and of why an exact definition is an impossibility. That is, any dialect is a generalization from the individual language use of a wider population. It comes from observation and perhaps some objective study. But we will not, if we stand outside St. Mary-le-Bow church in London, hear everyone around us speaking a uniform variety of English that matches a description of “Cockney”. We will, however, if we speak to a hundred people who have lived there for more than ten years, observe some common features of lexis, grammar and phonology that we would not find commonly used if we repeated the observation in Aberdeen, Hull or Plymouth.

There is a more fundamental objection to the conventional description of dialect – and this is that all language is dialect, including Standard English. This was originally a regional dialect, but has become a prestige variety, favoured by the courts, government, the civil service, the officer class of the armed services and the elite universities. Moreover there is a prescriptive tradition in education and broadcasting that has formalised the status and prestige of both written and spoken standard English.

Of course, if we accept that all vernacular language varieties are in some sense dialects, then this is a truism or statement of the obvious. But it may help us stop thinking that dialect is something that other people do in big cities or remote dales, and that we are not dialect users, too. Some supposed dialects – especially urban ones – have attracted the attention of broadcasters or writers, in ways that have made them familiar to a wider public. That is we can put a name to their speakers, Cockneys and Scousers and Geordies. The effect of this can be unhelpful.

  • First, we do not really know about the authentic language of people in London and Liverpool or on Tyneside – so much as a simplified or popular representation, based on TV drama.
  • Second, rural varieties of English seem not to receive as much notice.
  • And third, we can forget that everyone lives in a region, that may have its own distinctive dialect forms – to a linguist, Staffordshire or Hertfordshire or Westmorland are no less worthy of study than London, Liverpool or Newcastle.

Are there language interactions where dialect forms work differently from Standard English? In the past some speakers might have known only to use a dialect, but today many are aware of both dialect and Standard equivalents – so may use one or the other more or less in different social contexts. This may for purposes of greater or less formality or intimacy; and it may be conscious or involuntary (as when a speaker assimilates his or her style to that of another).

It is worth considering how far dialect is determined by geography and historical accident, and how far it may be related to sociolinguistics. (For example, it may be that geography and historical isolation explains the origin of a dialect, but that social attitudes explain its survival.)

The primary social function of any dialect (or of all language) is communication, but there are also claims to status and identity that are bound up with the choices of variant forms. However, the emergence of a prestige variety of Standard English is largely a series of accidents. Had Alfred (king of the West Saxons) not defeated the Viking Guthrum at the Battle of Edington, then York might have been established as the capital of England, and the Standard English of today might have been an Anglo-Norse variety. Of course, that did not happen.

Without the notion of Standard English, we may find it hard to identify anything as a dialect at all – since the distinctiveness of a dialect consists in those things that are different from the Standard. (This does not mean that a dialect emerged from people who took Standard English and then changed it; it is more likely that the standard variety and the dialect variety developed from some common and some locally distinctive influences over time, or that the dialect forms are older, and have been more resistant to tendencies to converge towards a standard variety.)

There is a problem in identifying any dialect as the standard, since this implies that other dialects are inferior or wrong. In the case of spoken English, we have good evidence that such prejudice exists – so there is an exaggerated danger that, in referring to a standard, we will strengthen what is already a tyranny. It may help to note that Standard English, too, is a dialect – albeit one that is no longer found in any one region of Britain.

The “standard” is a human choice that could have been otherwise (like driving on the right or left). It is not in any intrinsic way better or worse than other dialects. Nor are the historic regional dialects corrupt variants. Indeed, in many cases they preserve far older lexis, meanings or grammar than the so-called standard.

In studying dialect forms, as they exist now, you should be aware of the history behind them. Regional varieties of English have historical causes that may go as far back as the Old English period. They may embody or reflect much of the history of the places where they are used.

Language is not a uniform and unchanging system of communication. It varies with place and changes over time. For example, human beings are capable (physically) of a wider range of speech sounds than any one speaker ever uses. Each language in its spoken standard forms has its own range of speech sounds, while regional varieties may leave out some of these and add others. Welsh has a distinctive sound represented in spelling by ll (voiceless unilateral l, common in place names). Some English speakers use post-vocalic r (rhoticization), though this is not common outside the north, Scotland and the south-west.

The social history of any region often explains the language variety that has arisen there. York was the heart of the Danelaw, the Viking kingdom in Britain. To this day, the lexicon of dialect speakers in the North and East Ridings of Yorkshire retains many words that derive from Old Norse. Scandinavian influence on the language does not stop with the end of the Danelaw, however: in the 19th and 20th centuries maritime trade and commerce in the North Sea and the Baltic brought many Danes, Norwegians and Swedes to ports like Hull and Newcastle.

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Dialect or accent?

A common mistake is to confuse a ‘dialect’ with an accent, muddling up the difference between words people use and the sounds they make, their pronunciation. If vocabulary and grammar are being considered alongside pronunciation, then ‘dialect’ is a reasonable term to use. But often, when claiming to discuss a dialect, someone will concentrate just on pronunciations. If what is being spoken about are sounds alone—that is, accent—then the area of language study is rather pronunciation, or phonology.

It will be obvious from this that accent, or pronunciation, is a special element of a dialect that needs separate attention to be properly understood. Arguably the best-known phonological distinction in England is the so-called ‘BATH vowel’, the quality of the a sound differing between north and south. Another, still more significant on the world stage, concerns the issue of rhoticity, relating to whether or not written r is sounded when it follows a vowel. Whilst most people in England and Wales do not pronounce the r (and are therefore non-rhotic), those in the English West Country and parts of Lancashire do. In this they are joined by most Scots and Irish speakers of English, and by the majority of North Americans. Although the English tend to regard rhoticity as an exotic aberration, it is in fact numerically and geographically the dominant form in world terms.

Where do dialects begin and end?

Another fundamental mistake is to think of the ‘standard’ variety of a language as the language, with dialects relegated to substandard status. By subscribing to the definition of ‘dialect’ as a distinct variety, we are agreeing that the standard variety itself is a dialect. Of course, that variety is special in that, for a space of time at least, it is regarded as a model for purposes that include language teaching and the general transmission of day-to-day information. But structurally there is nothing inherently superior in the make-up of a ‘standard dialect’: non-standard dialects have vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation which are equally detailed in structure, and indeed are often imbued with pedigrees far older than those of the standard variety of the day.

A good case of pedigree is that of while, which in West Yorkshire usage today (and well into the twentieth century in usage much further south) can mean ‘until’ in such expressions as ‘wait while five o’clock’. It would be easy to dismiss this as quaint or even wrong, but its documented history goes back at least to the fourteenth century, and it was doubtless in spoken use well before then. At the level of social dialect, young men are often vilified, not least by their female friends, for calling young women birds. That this is too easy a judgment becomes apparent when one notes that burd has a long history, and is defined as a poetic word for ‘woman, lady’.

Place and upbringing

Undoubtedly the most accessible part of a language that we can study is its vocabulary, or lexis. As we move from one part of a country to another we hear words that are entirely strange to us. Or the words might be ones we understand but do not use, i.e. words that are in our passive rather than active vocabulary. Depending on where a person comes from in England, they might use the word gully or entry, ten-foot or ginnel, snicket or twitten, or some other word, to refer to a narrow path between buildings. In parts of the Midlands and north of England people use pikelet to describe what most people, and all the supermarket retailers, call a crumpet. People might be criticized for ‘getting it wrong’ with this usage, but it is not in fact a mistake. Rather, it’s a good example of distinctively regional vocabulary, and most of us who have roots in one particular area have special words, or use well-known words in a special way, that we only discover are ‘strange’ to others when we travel away from home.

But distinctive vocabulary does not only mark us out as local to particular places. No matter where one comes from, one might eat pudding or dessert or sweet or afters, depending on a whole range of social factors, such as family, education and career, that influence the way a person talks. This brings us to another aspect of dialect that is sometimes forgotten. People with different upbringings or social backgrounds or aspirations often speak differently from one another, even though they live in the same community. So do people of different ages, with young people perhaps using words or phrases or pronunciations which older people do not, and which older people may disapprove of: minger used to describe a person judged to be unattractive is an excellent example. On occasions men may also speak differently from women, though this has less to do with their sex than with the roles that they play in society and the expectations placed on them. Differences like these are most definitely what we can call dialect, but it is social rather than regional dialect.

Dialects and grammar

Another area of language difference, besides phonology and lexis, has to do with the way in which words can be changed to slightly alter their meaning, making them plural for example, and the way in which they are linked together in longer units to create messages. This is all the area of grammar.

To take the first of these elements of grammar—the alteration of words—do you refer to two or more swimming creatures as fish, or fishes? Do you say ‘I came to town yesterday’, or ‘I come to town yesterday?’; ‘I was or I were?’; Themselves’ or theirselves? In each example, the differences are caused by our selecting respectively from various ways of making individual words: the plural of nouns, the past tense of verbs, and reflexive pronouns. Many categories of words undergo change like this, involving word endings or other alterations (or non-alterations) of form. This feature of grammar, ‘word-grammar’, is morphology. The second aspect of grammar, when words come together in various combinations so that they have collective meaning, is syntax. When asking for something to be given to them, most English speakers say ‘give me it’. But several million speakers of British English, largely but not only in the English West Midlands, are more likely to say ‘give it me’, which does not sound at all strange to them although it does sound strange, and even confusing, to many others. (There is, of course, the possibility of saying ‘give it to me’, using an alternative grammatical construction which neatly avoids this particular problem altogether.) Choices like this are not at all random, but depend a lot on where someone lives, or at least on where they lived when they learnt the language. Grammatical differences of syntax like this, and those of morphology, are all dialectal.

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Received pronunciation named Britain’s favourite accent in new survey

It is the unmistakable sound of the Queen and old BBC newsreels.

And despite being perceived as a little posh, received pronunciation (RP) is still our favourite accent.

For a survey has found that the Queen’s English is most associated with nine out of ten positive character traits, including attractiveness, intelligence, honesty, charm, sophistication and reliability.

The only category where it falls short is in humour where it came only eleventh with the Geordie lilt sounding most fun ahead of Liverpudlian, Irish, Cornish and Essex.

The experiment involving 750 participants listening to sound clips of men and women with 19 different international and regional accents and scoring what they believed of the person based on 10 character traits.

The poll also identified a phenomenon dubbed the ‘Cheryl Cole factor’ where celebrities shape our preconceptions about accents.

Despite the reputation of French and Italian men, RP is the real language of love – as well as many other things.

Edinburgh came second overall ahead of Australian, southern Irish, Yorkshire and American. They were followed by Geordie, Mancunian, Glaswegian and Welsh.

French was ranked only 16th for attractiveness and Italian came in only slightly higher at 13th. French performed better in the ‘romantic’ category but was still only placed third behind RP and Edinburgh.

More than one-in-five (22 per cent) admitted the allure of some accents is so strong they have actually gone on a date because of it – and seven percent have ‘played up’ how they speak because they believed it sounded attractive.

Professor Jane Setter, a phoneticist at Reading University, said: ‘RP speakers have been rated highly in terms of intelligence – and the accent itself as attractive – since studies like this began.

‘Actors with this accent – like Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey) and Richard E. Grant (Withnail and I) – come over as urbane, charming, witty and educated and – well – wouldn’t everyone want that from a prospective romantic partner?

‘The Edinburgh accent is also associated with culture and intelligence – think Sean Connery or David Tennant and you’re already swept off your feet.

‘However, comedians are rarely RP speakers and so it is no surprise to see it rated less highly in that respect; Sarah Millican (Geordie) and John Bishop (Liverpool) spring to mind as wonderfully funny, articulate people.

‘Our preconceptions and love of certain lilts, drawls and tones when it comes to accents is mostly down to experience and stereotyping.

‘This helps to explain why RP scores so highly across all categories – it’s the accent we associate with trusted newsreaders plus it continues to be used as the model for teaching English as a foreign language.

‘In terms of other accents which were rated highly for attractiveness – again stereotyping is at play. Across the pond we see Americans as colourful and international so they’re ‘interesting’, Yorkshire folk are seen as down to earth and honest and the Irish have ‘kissed the Blarney stone’ and are celebrated as charming and quick witted.

‘In terms of French and Italian not faring so well this could simply be down to a lack of familiarity with their unique inflections.’

Jemima Wade, spokesperson for, said: ‘After spending time getting to know each other online the first time you meet and say ‘hello’ on a date is a special, exciting moment.

‘Yet while accents may be appealing at first – sparking initial interest and attraction – happy long-term relationships are about far more than that.’


You are what you speak: place of origin most important identity factor

My research took place in the West Midlands region of the UK and looked at variations in the use of English in creative spoken performance such as comedy, drama and poetry, as well as in written texts such as letters to local newspapers, stories and poems written in dialect.

The results suggest that people are increasingly and deliberately using English in a way that identifies them with a particular place. They do this by incorporating  into their speech a set of linguistic features drawn from a particular variety of English. In the West Midlands, for example, people may pronounce ‘you’ as ‘yow’, use ‘Brum’ for ‘Birmingham’ and ‘cor’ for ‘cannot’ or ‘can’t’. By using features in this way, people emphasise their place of origin over other factors such as age, gender, social class and ethnicity.

Is there a ‘correct’ variety of English?

The research highlights how dynamic, fragmented and mobile the English language has become. At the same time, the influence of traditional gatekeepers of ‘standard’ English, such as the BBC, is weakening.

We live in a world where English crosses national boundaries and migration brings people together from different backgrounds and cultures. Consequently, we are probably more aware than ever before of the different ways we draw upon language in relation to linguistic and socio-cultural contexts.

Even though English is used around the world for the purposes of trade, travel, medicine and so on, it is an interesting fact that the majority of the world’s population today is largely bilingual, if not multilingual, even in nations where English is the mother tongue. In parts of Birmingham in the UK, for example, there are primary and secondary schools where nearly 100 per cent of pupils speak English as an additional language; in many others, 40 per cent is the norm.

The implications of this for education policy is that we can no longer speak of the ‘superiority’ of one variety of English over all others. Instead we need to recognise the roles and functions that different varieties of English, including that of standard English, fulfil.

Which variety of English should we teach?

A common and long-held belief among many in the English teaching profession is that the best people to teach spoken English are ‘native’ speakers of the language, especially the teaching of pronunciation. But we know from research that linguistic variation is a characteristic of all languages, and all varieties have their own rules and systems. Often these leak from one variety to another. Once we accept that English comes in many varieties, such concerns become redundant.

Successful communication is more a question of understanding, and being able to engage successfully, in the contexts of use rather than whether one is a ‘native’ or ‘non-native’ speaker. This is as true of English taught in the UK as it is in other contexts around the world.


Geordie, Brummie, Cockney or Scouse: What are Britain’s best accents?

The Sith Lord had an important message for them: change your accent. When it was announced that the city would host the first of the auditions for the upcoming Star Wars film at the weekend, David Prowse, the actor who played Vader in the original movies, said local thesps from his hometown might want to alter how they speak if they hope to get a part.

When filming the original movies, Prowse’s voice was famously and hilariously used to record dialogue on set, before being swapped later in post-production by the more menacing tones of James Earl Jones.

Perhaps with his own experience in mind, Prowse advised young actors from Bristol seeking a role in Star Wars: Episode VII to ditch the local dialect. ‘You can’t go, “Oo-aar my dear, here’s my lightsaber”,’ he said.

Your accent is a large part of who you are, an integral oral ID comprising the place you grew up, your education and your social group. It is thought that most of us develop our accents in our teenage years when the voice is at its most malleable. Most accents are established by the time we reach our early 20s, yet people can also consciously change their accents as they get older and for different social situations.

In Britain, we’re blessed with a fantastic array of regional voices, but how do these accents develop and why does this small group of islands in the North Atlantic have such a rich tapestry of local twangs?

The English language as we know it has been on these islands since about the 5th century. With the arrival of invaders from northern Europe – modern day Germany, Denmark and Norway – their languages, which eventually became Anglo-Saxon, slowly replaced the various native Celtic tongues that had dominated the British Isles before them.  As these groups arrived in different parts of the mainland, they influenced the newly developed language in their own ways and regional accents and dialects began to develop.

Before the days of telephones, the internet and mechanised transport, there was little contact between various parts of Britain, so regional differences were preserved and accentuated. This helps to explain how areas within close proximity can have such different accents.

When the Industrial Revolution turned Liverpool into a major port and melting pot of cultures, migrant workers from Ireland and north Wales arrived and blended their accents to create what is a very iconic accent today.

Before this happened, it is thought the Liverpudlian accent sounded a lot more like today’s general Lancashire accent. But despite being such a recognisable drawl, Scouse is often an accent that is treated with disdain and caution.

A recent survey by the ITV Tonight programme showed that Britons think the Scouse accent sounds the least intelligent, with Brummie coming a close second.
For much of the last century, the accent of the upper-classes was seen as a mark of high education and prestige. Accent became a yardstick to judge someone by. If someone had a ‘posh’ accent, it was a sure sign of education and wealth.

This neutral/non-regional accent – exhibited by those educated at the top private schools and on the BBC for many years – is known as Received Pronunciation (or sometimes Queen’s English). As a result, people attribute this accent with voices of authority, seriousness and intelligence.

Before this happened, it is thought the Liverpudlian accent sounded a lot more like today’s general Lancashire accent. But despite being such a recognisable drawl, Scouse is often an accent that is treated with disdain and caution.

A recent survey by the ITV Tonight programme showed that Britons think the Scouse accent sounds the least intelligent, with Brummie coming a close second.
For much of the last century, the accent of the upper-classes was seen as a mark of high education and prestige. Accent became a yardstick to judge someone by. If someone had a ‘posh’ accent, it was a sure sign of education and wealth.

This neutral/non-regional accent – exhibited by those educated at the top private schools and on the BBC for many years – is known as Received Pronunciation (or sometimes Queen’s English). As a result, people attribute this accent with voices of authority, seriousness and intelligence.

In comparison, regional accents were traditionally seen differently, in the sense that they deviated from the RP standard. People are more likely to think of an accent like Geordie as friendly, Edinburger as intelligent and Brummie as unintelligent.

But voice coach and author Caroline Goyder, from The Gravitas Method, believes these judgments are based more on the social connotations we attribute to representations in popular culture than anything else.

‘It has a lot to do with the stereotypes we absorb from the media,’ she told Metro. ‘TV and film love to typecast ¬– the chirpy Scouser, the sharp Cockney, the dour Scotsman – it’s a stereotype for character and we can’t help but pigeonhole.

Although many government ministers still speak in that clipped accent of the upper-class, there are a far greater range of accents on television and in popular culture than ever before.

‘Social mobility and access to education in the latter part of the 20th century has meant that people with different accents are represented in all aspects of British life,’ said Jonnie Robinson, sociolinguistics curator at the British Library.

‘Education has improved, people go off to university and people can migrate to other cities and regions a lot more easily, so people are coming into contact with this diverse range of speakers.’

To some extent, there has even been a rebellion against RP – an accent that is now sometimes associated with undeserved privilege and inequality. Robinson said princes William and Harry have a slightly understated form of ‘posh’ when compared to the older generation of royal males – Charles and Philip.

Meanwhile, chancellor George Osborne has made attempts at toning down his polished twang, sometimes with comedic effect – most notably in his man of the people ‘mockney’ effort at a speech in a Morrisons supermarket warehouse.

Goyder thinks it’s more important to come across with confidence and clarity than to put on a posh accent. ‘An ability to become more formal in an accent to communicate beyond your immediate region is the key to success,’ she said. ‘So, keep the accent, but make sure you are clear to anyone – and understand the etiquette of formal speech. Ditch the mumbling and the slang in moments that matter.’

To trace the evolution of the accent, the British Library is putting together archives of recordings of the various British accents and their development in the last century, with the acknowledgment that this rich variety is something that should be celebrated.

It says that the speech of a particular region should be a ‘source of great pride and an important expression of cultural identity’.

With improvements in education and social mobility, with more accents blending and morphing together and a disassociation from privileged RP, is there a chance that we will see regional accents disappear altogether as we reach a bland middle-ground?

Robinson doesn’t believe we’ll ever get to a homogenous stage and cites the modern London accent as a prime example of the constant change.

London is one of the most diverse, multicultural cities in the world and the young Londoners of today sound very different to the cockney accent of a century ago.

The influences of migrants from the Caribbean and Indian subcontinent have brought their own twist on the modern London, accent in the same way that Irish and Welsh migrants changed Liverpool’s.

And Robinson believes that the accents of our great urban centres like London, Birmingham and Manchester will continue to develop and influence their rural hinterlands.

‘As Londoners have moved out into the country, they have taken their accents with them, replacing the older regional accents that would have been prevalent in the Home Counties before,’ he said.

So as long as our urban centres maintain their cosmopolitan identity, the rich variety of accents on our islands will continue to be as varied as ever.


Geordie’s still alreet

A FIERCE pride in one’s regional roots can be found throughout England. Increased mobility and the ubiquitousness of television and radio have done surprisingly little to homogenise the distinctive accents and dialects that characterise the different parts of the country. Some are spreading; some retreating. Some are mutating; some are even getting stronger. But, overall, the pronunciation and prosody of spoken English seems to vary as much as ever across the country of its birth.

Liverpool’s “Scouse” dialect has long fascinated linguists, with its throaty, guttural utterances that emerged from a mixture of Irish, Scots, Welsh and Lancashire accents in the late 19th century. For example, Liverpudlians tend to add a breathy “h” sound to words that end with a “t”, lending their distinctive intonation to “what”, “that” and “but”. According to Kevin Watson, who lectures in “sociophonetics” at the University of Lancaster, this is not lax articulation but rather a conscious effort to soften the uttered word through what he calls “plosive lenition”. Older Liverpudlians limit their use of it to words of a single syllable but younger ones have increased the individuality of the Scouse accent by extending it to “chocolate”, “certificate” and “aggregate”, he says.

Although some aspects of south-eastern “Estuary English” have infiltrated northern parts—replacing the “th” in “think” and “nothing” with an “f” sound, for example—regional accents have largely survived in northern cities, thanks to a relative lack of immigration combined with chirpy civic pride, reckons Paul Kerswill, a colleague of Mr Watson.

Nevertheless, Mr Kerswill’s research finds that the distribution of accents across the country is undergoing big changes. While Scouse’s Merseyside redoubt is static even as the accent grows stronger, variations of the north-eastern “Geordie” accent, articulated by Cheryl Cole—and cited as a reason for the pop singer’s recent removal as a judge on the American version of “The X Factor”, a talent show—are not only retaining their distinctiveness but conquering fresh territory (see map).

The Brummie accent, a nasal drone that suggests despondency to anyone outside Birmingham who is lucky enough to hear it, is also spreading as its speakers move west into Wales, where it threatens to snuff out the melodic local lilt. That is because the accents with which teenagers speak are most influenced by their peers, not parents, teachers, television or radio, says Mr Kerswill.

Nowhere is this truer than in the capital. The traditional Cockney accent is fading and is no longer so common even within earshot of the bells of St Mary-le-Bow church in east London, where by legend it was born. Mr Kerswill predicts that, by 2030, Cockney-influenced Estuary English will dominate most of the east and south-east, as Londoners move out. In the capital itself a new dialect, inspired by recent immigration, is emerging: “multicultural London English”, heavily influenced by Jamaican with undertones of west African and Indian. Mocked by Ali G, a comic character created by Sacha Baron Cohen, whose catchphrase was “Is it cos I is black?”, it is now spoken by teenagers of all hues, united by their pride in urban grime.


Where is the Cockney Dialect spoken?

The cockney dialect is the accent spoken by a Londoner, specifically belonging to the East-End of London. The term Cockney refers not only to the accent but also to the people who speak the Cockney dialect. The dialect is typically used by the working class Londoners. The Cockney dialect has its own distinct vocabulary and special usage. “Rhyming slang” is a characteristic feature of the original cockney culture. A good example of the Cockney dialect would be the language spoken by Eliza Doolittle before being introduced to Henry Higgins, in the movie “My Fair Lady”.

What is the origin of the term Cockney?

The term Cockney may literally refer to a cock’s egg, supposed to be a shapeless egg laid at times by young hens. The term may be attributed to the word cokenei used in Middle English to mean a “city dweller”. It perhaps represented a weak townsman as distinguished by the stronger countryman. In the 17th century cockney was jokingly used to refer to a Londoner. Interestingly a Cockney accent can be faked and is sometimes known as the ‘Mockney’.

Which area is designated as the Cockney area?

Today the dialect used by the natives of the East End of London is termed as Cockney. It is generally believed that to be regarded as a real Cockney, the person has to be a native of the area from where he can hear the bells of St. Mary le Bow, situated at Cheapside in London. The Cockney accent regarded as the working-class dialect is also used in the other areas of the eastern part of the city including Stephney, East End, Shoreditch Poplar, and Hackney.

What are the features of Cockney Dialect?

The primary feature of the Cockney was not using the letter ‘h’ in many words. Using contractions and double negatives were also characteristic of Cockney dialect. Vowel shifts resulted in a drastic change in the sound of words. Many consonants are commonly replaced with other combinations as in the word “frosty” which is used as “fwasty” in Cockney dialect. In some words the final consonant is dropped resulting in a comic use of language as in the use of “dinna” for “dinner”.

What is the Cockney Rhyming Slang?

One of the fascinating features of Cockney dialect is the use of rhyming slang which may not be understood by the non-Cockneys. Typically a single word is replaced with a group of words consisting of a word that rhymes with the original single word and then the rhyming word is eliminated. For example the word ‘head’ is replaced by the phrase ‘loaf of bread’ (‘bread’ rhyming with ‘head’),the rhyming part is then eliminated and hence what remains is the word ‘loaf’ which is used in Cockney dialect to mean a ‘head’.

What is the significance of the Cockney Dialect?

The Cockney dialect is generally considered inferior though it is recognized as an acceptable English accent in the United States. Within England itself, since 1909 the Cockney dialect has gained acceptance as an “alternative form of the English Language” So speaking in Cockney may no longer be termed as inferior as it was though of in the past. All the same the preference for the RP variety of English always remains with the educated class of England. During the 1950s, BBC used mainly RP English but it is common nowadays to hear a number of accents including Cockney dialect.



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