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CEO Today: Lightning Bugs, Snow and the Importance of Inclusive Language

07th Jun 2021

Our CEO Mélanie Chevalier recently contributed to CEO Today‘s June 2021 issue. Read an extract of the article and click on the link below to see the whole thing!

In the 1880s, Mark Twain was contacted by someone seeking advice on effective writing methods. In his reply, Twain wrote that “the difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning”.

Words are important. Language is a prism through which we all experience the world — it’s how we interact with the culture around us. And so it follows that there is a clear and powerful relationship between how we talk and how we perceive the world around us.

An often-cited example of this comes from the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, which evidences how language shapes our reality. Linguist Whorf provides the example of the Inuit words for snow; the Inuit people are inhabitants of the Arctic, and consequently, the Inuit language has many words for snow. English, on the other hand, only has one. Whorf argued that Inuit people “see” snow differently than speakers of other languages. A different experience of reality, constructed through language.

Read the full article on CEO Today. The magazine version is available here.

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