Title of Showcase Submission

“Words Between Words: The Narrative Power of Silence & Non-Linguistics to Convey, Access, and Heal Traumatic Experience”

Student Type

Undergraduate

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Melissa Elmes

Date

4-12-2022

College Affiliation

College of Arts and Humanities

Department

English

Submission Type

Oral Presentation

Abstract

What is linguistically significant about silence? It is a useful tool for trauma sufferers, whose experiences are often difficult to articulate through conventional language. Trauma remains a prevalent psychological issue, yet it often remains misunderstood and unapproachable; the inherent incommunicability of trauma makes it a difficult condition for sufferers to communicate and for outsiders to understand. We must learn the significance behind non-linguistic communications, as these help to convey a sufferer's thoughts, feelings, and experiences. In my approach, “Reciprocal Therapy,” the listener takes responsibility for understanding the intricacies of trauma and its incommunicability. I also call this the “Empathy Approach” because of the underlying linchpin of personal investigation into trauma and its effects on the everyday life. I also propose the addition of “Quiet Linguistics” to the linguistic canon, on the logic that silence and other non-words are elements of communication necessary to be studied scientifically— especially in therapeutic cases.

Publication Date

2022

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Apr 12th, 12:00 AM

“Words Between Words: The Narrative Power of Silence & Non-Linguistics to Convey, Access, and Heal Traumatic Experience”

What is linguistically significant about silence? It is a useful tool for trauma sufferers, whose experiences are often difficult to articulate through conventional language. Trauma remains a prevalent psychological issue, yet it often remains misunderstood and unapproachable; the inherent incommunicability of trauma makes it a difficult condition for sufferers to communicate and for outsiders to understand. We must learn the significance behind non-linguistic communications, as these help to convey a sufferer's thoughts, feelings, and experiences. In my approach, “Reciprocal Therapy,” the listener takes responsibility for understanding the intricacies of trauma and its incommunicability. I also call this the “Empathy Approach” because of the underlying linchpin of personal investigation into trauma and its effects on the everyday life. I also propose the addition of “Quiet Linguistics” to the linguistic canon, on the logic that silence and other non-words are elements of communication necessary to be studied scientifically— especially in therapeutic cases.