The Evocative Power Of Language

Most philosophical studies of how language functions have focused on semantics - how language conveys meaning.  In ordinary speech, language is not confined to the transmission of information.  It can be used to evoke strong emotions.

As an interlude to my series of articles A Science Of Human Language  I present this example of evocative use of language.  For further examples of evocative use of language I refer my reader to any political speech.  Similarly, for examples of the command aspect of language, I refer my reader to any book of statutes - or a parking ticket - where you must and you shall and you will find many examples of judicial rudeness.

                        A Summer Day

  Those hills!  This land!  Oh, pleasant view!
                The birds are full of song.
        The sun-bedazzled fields look new.
                 A wanderer strolls along.

      A clear bright day, but does the eye
        deceive?   The light grows dimmer.
      A smear of grey as brushstrokes fly.
              The sun is now a glimmer.

            A spot of rain, a watery hint
             that day will turn to night.
       See!   In the cloud a flickering hint.
               of nature's furious might.

          A shelter beckons, broken, low
             moss-bearded with its age.
      The walls have vanished long ago.
             The storm begins to rage.

  The clouds are boiling mad and  Flash!
           A light to  blind and burn.
  The whole earth rattles with a Bang!
      That makes the stomach churn.

 The clattering, battering, shattering sound
            of wind-beat hail and rain.   
    A gurgling flood from sky to ground.
              As nature goes insane.

  It stops!     The sun bursts forth again!
           The dry and thirsty wheat
    glows golden, freshened by the rain.
                          And oh!  
                  The air is sweet!