Episode 2 Show Notes: When language gets in the way of meaning

An authentically artisanal episode about language and meaning.

Do some words get in the way of really connecting with others when we talk / write / tweet? As you contemplate yet another bag of ‘authentic apricots’, sit through the third ‘innovative’ idea pitch of the day or ponder why ‘artisan’ bread is more expensive than regular bread, but not as well shaped … know you’re not alone ūüėČ

Join Louise & Neil for a chat about language and getting your meaning across in this second edition of Hello, You – recorded in Brighton’s Jubilee Library.

During the conversation, we cover the following points:

Topic Time code (approx) Further reading

(if applicable)

Millennials –¬†hated term #1 ¬†1:00 The malignant myth of the Millennial
Lazy & inefficient language  1:35 The inefficiency of Words (Robert Cormack)
Innovation Рhated term #2  2:15 Marketers must reclaim innovation
“Poor language has too many words behind which we hide our ignorance” ¬†3:10 Human Scale Development (p99)¬†(pdf)
Language as a connector between people  3:45
Language as a reductive process  4:55
“Language manages to mediate concrete experience and abstract concepts by communicating about specific objects at a level that can be understood by those that have not directly experienced those objects.” ¬†5:40
Emojis, Visual Language and tribal association  6:45 What communicating only in emojis taught me

Worried face: the battle for emoji, the world’s fastest-growing language

A Linguist Explains Emoji and What Language Death Actually Looks Like

Social Cognition  8:20 Language, Meaning, and Social Cognition (pdf)
Metaphor, the Colour of Sound and a Venn Diagram of authenticity  9:10 On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense (Wikipedia)


Shifting experience through language  12:00 Carolyn Coughlin
Using language to become more congruent  13:25
Language as a product, and generator, of culture  14:15 (See earlier link to Human Scale Development)

The Glossary of Happiness

The energy behind the hated terms  15:55
“We have to be creating a living, breathing, meaning” ¬†18:00
¬†“Meeting people as we are” ¬†19:00
¬†Reformulating ‘authentic’ ¬†20:30
Some resources we didn’t get time to cover, but think that you might like anyway. Ten fundamental characteristics of human language as system of communications

How to enjoy poetry

Language and Identity (Pearson)

A foray into metaphor & philosophy:

The Glossary of Happiness

analytical vs continental theory (Wikipedia)

Max Black & other analysts (Ortony 1980)

Ricoeur’s continential perspective (Ricoeur, 1978)

Are Emojis and Hieroglyphs Universal Language? (This Anthro Life Podcast, Jan 2017)


So, what do you think? ¬†Did we hit it? ¬†Did we miss something? ¬†We’d love to hear from you – please comment below!


Author: Neil Hopkins

Award-winning marketer trying to answer some of the big questions in social marketing, behaviour change, branding, what it means to be a Millennial and what's being served for lunch.

4 thoughts on “Episode 2 Show Notes: When language gets in the way of meaning”

  1. A lovely chat about laugage. I think that one of the biggest challenges of many of the words you refered to is that they get overused to a point of loosing meaning. Or they become ‘dirty’ words because of their overuse-which is really annoying when you want to use them for their legitimate meaning.

    I think Louise made the point of when words move from one areana of use to another that it can take on another meaning – this is should a ‘red flag’ straight away. Also the use overuse of metaphor often found in management-speak sound be an offence!

    Keep up the good work!


    1. Thanks for the feedback, Alan! You’re so right about management speak over-using metaphor too. There is an elegance in simplicity with some don’t always appreciate!


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