Peter is a linguist and a communication specialist and lecturer whose research interests are in forensic linguistics, and ecolinguistics. 


Language and Communication: A Key to Peace and Stability

Have you ever wondered why we haven’t achieved the peace we all desire yet we have always communicated as a people?

Peace talks have been held. We have heard of Israel-Palestine peace talks...any headway? No! South Sudanese warring sides – Salva Kirr and Rick Mashar – nothing tangible. The media has communicated different messages regarding peace and security. The net effect has been the escalation of conflicts.

The world is facing war from both political and ethnic fronts. But why? What could be going wrong in the communication process? I thought we are communicating with each other?! Probably there is one missing puzzle to achieving sustainable peace and stability. And that puzzle is language. By language here I don’t mean English, French or Chichewa. I mean the semiotic resource that carries the message we intend to convey. Our choice of language can make or break the society.

We need to be cautious of what we say, how we say it because any well-meaning peace talks may be muddled by the words we use. Words that may carry unintended meanings. Be aware of overtones. However, there is hope.

The LDC offers an opportunity for us to reflect on how best we can ensure that we communicates for peace building and nurturing a stable society with its inhabitants who are able to amicably resolve their differences. Let us unite for a better world and let us make history through the LDC which should set pace for peace and stability in Africa and beyond.