200 – Choice of Words

National Integration Through Thirukkural And Sanskrit

Choice of Words

Research into the speaking habits of Individuals was conducted and the following were the major observations.

  • A normal person on an average speaks about100 words per minute.
  • On an average, such person, speaks about 9000 words per day. This suggests that a person speaks about 90 minutes per day.
  • People spend 60% of their conversations talking about themselves.
  • People tend to dominate one-to-one conversations. They rarely give time to the other person.

Human beings use communication as a tool to interact with others. People could be talking to their family members, neighbours, office colleagues and other social contacts.

Every individual has to evaluate their own talking habits and try to improve them and become an effective speaker. Some of the suggestions towards that are:

Keep a note book and record the summary of your conversations for the day. You can record them on the following broad points.

  • To whom did we speak ?
  • On what did we speak ?
  • How much time did we speak and how much time we gave to others ?
  • Did we ask questions or answer questions ?
  • In case we asked questions, did we give adequate time to others to respond ?
  • In case we answered questions, did we compose our response carefully before speaking, instead of thinking aloud and rambling on, searching for words ?
  • Did we give a lengthy answer or responded in a single thoughtful sentence ?
  • Did we use adequate pauses, and wait for a response or an acknowledgement of understanding or just continued to keep talking ?
  • Did we convey what we wanted to convey ?
  • Did we ever criticize or express hurtful opinions about others ?
  • Did you use encouraging words or discouraging words ?
  • Did you speak on your own or were your opinions solicited ?
  • Did we speak appropriately vis-a-vis the place and situation ?
  • Did we talk about our experiences and observations or did we narrate a often repeated story ?
  • Could I have expressed myself better and in an interesting way ?
  • Did I pay attention to the body language of others?

This effort to improve our communication skill is a continuous one. But this introspection, will help us to evolve as an effective speaker.

The following narrative from Ramayana is a perfect example of the choice of words.

Ravana  abducts Sita Devi and both Rama and his brother, Lakshmana, desperately search for her. On their way, they meet Hanuman and he along with his entire group of Vanaras set forth to search for Sita. Coming to know, that, she could be in Lanka, he decides to go Lanka.

Hanuman saw the huge ocean in front of him that stretched ahead limitlessly, and doubted his capability to cross the same.  Jambavan reminds him of his own powers and prowess, and Hanuman enlarges his body and jumps across the mighty ocean. He wages battles with couple of sea-monsters on the way, before he finally enters Lanka.

After a long search in Lanka, he locates Sita sitting under the shade of a tree at Ashoka Vanam. When he offers to carry her away from Lanka and back to Rama, Sita refuses the offer and says Rama should conquer Ravana and rescue her.

Hanuman begins a massive destruction drive, damaging palaces and properties of Lanka. He fights lot of Asuras and kills them. On meeting Ravana , he conveys the message that Rama would be willing to forgive him if he returned Sita honorably. Enraged at the offer, Ravana orders that Hanuman’s tail be set on fire. He escapes his captors and with his tail, burns down many parts of Lanka. After extinguishing his flaming tail in the sea, he proceeds back to Rama.

On seeing Rama, instead of narrating the entire sequence of his trials and tribulations, and keeping Rama on tenterhooks throughout that narrative, Hanuman just uttered two words “Saw Seetha”. Rama heaved a sigh of relief.

Thiruvalluvar in his couplet 200 enunciates the art of speaking. Speak only the choicest worthy words of value and avoid speaking words that are not so.

சொல்லுக சொல்லில் பயனுடைய சொல்லற்க
சொல்லில் பயன்இலாச் சொல்

Solluga Sollil Payanudaiya Sollarka
Sollil Payanilaach Chol

பரிமேலழகர் உரை:

சொல்லில் பயன் உடைய சொல்லுக – சொற்களில் பயன் உடைய சொற்களைச் சொல்லுக, சொல்லில் பயனில்லாச் சொல் சொல்லற்க – சொற்களில் பயன் இல்லாத சொற்களைச் சொல்லாது ஒழிக. (‘சொல்லில்’ என்பது இருவழியும் மிகையாயினும், சொற் பொருட் பின்வருநிலை என்னும் அணி நோக்கி வந்தது. “வைகலும் வைகல் வரக்கண்டும்” (நாலடி 39) என்பது போல. இதனால் சொல்லப்படுவனவும் படாதனவும் நியமிக்கப்பட்டன.).

Sanskrit Translation by Shri S.N. Srirama Desikan

வாச்யம் ததே₃வ வாக்யேஷு யல்லாப₄ ஜனகம் வச: |
த்யாஜ்யம் ததே₃வ வாக்யேஷு யல்லாப₄ ரஹிதம் வச: ||