Learning Emotional Literacy; a new language of the emotions

by Claude Steiner

Learning Emotional Literacy is like learning a new language. As in the case of languages, there is an optimal window of opportunity to learn emotional literacy in childhood and as in the case of languages it can be learned with increasing difficulty in maturity. In fact, learning emotional literacy is like learning a dialect of English, something like say, Ebonics.

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Ebonics. uses English words but it is definitely different; different tones of voice, different combinations of words and many neologisms not found in the dictionary. These are required to express the desired meanings. Likewise with emotionally literate language a different tone of voice is used, words are combined into strange sounding sentences and a number of neologisms are used in order to communicate the desired emotional content.

If you spoke Ebonics. among the English-speaking you would be considered strange, the things you would say would often not be understood or considered foolish. Likewise with emotionally literate expression; often making no sense to the listener who might conclude that what is being said is nonsense.

If you were brought up speaking English and you learn Ebonics. as a grown up you will tend to relapse into English when under pressure. With emotional literacy those who learn it as children will be more likely to stay at an emotionally literate level of discourse than those who learned it as adults. It would be easier to speak Ebonics among Ebonics-speakers and they will find each other and speak to each other with pleasures.

The language of the emotions is required for the development of the higher levels of emotional literacy. That language eleborately deals with the exchange of strokes, with the identification of our and other people emotions and the clarification of their causes and with the expression of regret and desire for forgivance. All of thee forms of communication are foreign to the average person who will have to learn them in order to develop emotional literacy in their lives.

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