… In many ways, speech is action. When Obama speaks forcefully, as he did in his second inaugural address, he enables action to follow. Changing the public political discourse also changes public understanding, leading to new demands for political action.
Words are not mere words. As the linguist Charles Fillmore discovered, words make sense only within certain conceptual frames — the mental structures that determine how we understand the world. When we hear political language, particular circuitry is activated in our brains. The more often we hear the words, the stronger that circuitry gets, until the frames become embedded in our thinking. [cont.]
George Lakoff, UC Berkeley (Washington Post)