Ecolinguistics view from The Stories We Live By

This free online course in ecolinguistics provides such an interesting and necessary material. It is focused to highlight that stories are the secret reservoir of values: change the stories that individuals or nations live by and you change the individuals and nations themselves (Ben Okri). Accordingly, education is revealed as a tool to transform society rather than to maintain it.

I must recognize that I have worked through the content considerable late. Nonetheless, I still believe is worth trying at any time. My first approach to the course comes from the educational field, specifically from language teaching perspective, to promote a more active use of language that leads to respect nature and any kind of life. In my opinion, language acquisition training mostly lacks real background examples to illustrate the way in which storytelling shapes reality. Furthermore, in terms of providing linguistics knowledge as a tool, educators must keep in mind a pragmatic perspective that enables students to raise awareness on the importance of language to promote equality in a wide sense. Otherwise, we simply provide a new tool to maintain old narratives without critical thinking. In other words, it´d be like teaching technology to change paper for a keyboard but just giving it the same use.

Part 1: Introduction

After doing the exercises, I would like to share some conclusions I have reached out. First, a deep analysis of the used words shown in the texts reveals a coordinated effort to provide a negative mindset towards sales decrease. It feels like the main goal of the report is to allow us to identify with the retail companies described, linking their benefit to our own happiness. Such a subtle mechanism may define our identity and affect our self-esteem, leading to a wrong perspective of reality that damages our well-being. Secondly, the wide range of real communication examples related to underlying stories helps to better identify this mechanism that encodes specific visions of the world. Negative perspectives focus on reductionism, to promote short-term goals, and objectify other forms of being to detach our own feelings and ability to empathize with them. In short, it promotes competence and individualism over common solutions to a common problem. On the contrary, beneficial discourses highlight the debt of our society toward future generations and, moreover, promote new kinds of relationships.

So that, I find the syllabus for Stories we live by extremely useful to better understand fair, healthy and equal relations among all beings and with the environment. Looking forward to completing the modules and to promote these values among my future pupils.

Part 2: Ideologies

Firstly, I would like to recognize I find it really interesting the debate that has been created in the discussions space. This chapter stresses that the subtler metaphors are the more powerful the visions of the world they encode.

This idea is paramount to understand collective thinking and behavior in order to improve the quality of relationships among humans and towards the environment. Our future is worthwhile to do this effort.

I related this mechanism with sexism and its use of language, which we assume to be “natural”. Women have always been re-conceptualized to idealize their role as life “producers”. Even though half of the population is systematically mistreated, this fact is not even regarded for its financial impact, as it occurs with animals. Furthermore, women are daily objectified on advertisement and media messages, reinforcing the assumptions underlying chauvinist ideology that women are inferior to man. This reflects the idea that subtle mechanisms are even harder to get noticed, and so, they have more power to shape our reality.

In my opinion, an ideology that doesn´t believe in human potentiality for good and leads us to hope in a better world won´t prove useful to create an equal and sustainable society. This statement is not intended to reinforce anthropocentrism, rather poses the solution into the root of its cause, given that any improvement must be individually created and collectively embraced.

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