As a Christian and a writer, I am convinced that words have an almost supernatural energy or power to influence people. It started at creation when God used words to create the universe. “Let there be light,” He said, and there was light.
God made Adam in His own image—to be just like Him. Is it any wonder that the first work God assigned to Adam was to name the animals—a job requiring the use of words?
Words have started marriages and words have destroyed them. Words have set off wars, and words have negotiated peace. Words in advertisement sell products, and words in complaint comments online cause buyers to return the items for a refund.
Words fascinate, which is why linguistic researchers constantly study language and how it influences people. Recently linguists published a preliminary report of a unique study of North American English. Instead of focusing on meanings of words and phrases, the linguists focused on the sounds—the vowels and consonants.
What they discovered intrigued them so much they had computer programmers develop a program not only to analyse, but to forecast what sounds and combinations were the most persuasive, the most powerful, and thus the most influential in the English language.
They knew that “e” was the most used vowel and “t” the most used consonant, but they were not on the short list of most powerful vowels and consonants. Instead, the vowels “a, i, o” and the consonants “f, l, p, r” appeared to be the sounds represented in the most influential words in English. A complete analysis and report is still years away, but advertisers, public speakers, and writers like me are already looking forward to using words with these sounds to help persuade their listeners and readers.
This discovery fascinates me, and as a Bible translator, I wonder if it will lead to a new version of the Bible in English using as many as possible of these “power” vowels and consonants. Beyond that, who knows? Maybe this computer model can be used on some of the nearly 2,000 languages that still don’t have any of the Bible translated into them. Just think, Bible translators would have lists of words and synonyms using the specific vowel and consonant sounds most influential in those particular languages.
Even in the most remote villages of the world, Bible translators now use solar charged battery powered computers, a far cry from the pencils and notebooks my wife and I used to start the translation program among the Canela people of Brazil 45 years ago. God speaks of the end of time in Daniel 12:4 when “. . . knowledge shall be increased.” Who knows what this exciting discovery might lead to in years to come.
I do know this. These powerful vowels and consonants spell the Two Most Revealing Words in the English language, “April Fool”.