Studies of diplomacy usually concentrate on the message rather than the means.
However, examination of language use in diplomacy can lead to a better understanding of the way diplomacy functions and why some diplomatic processes are more successful than others.
Language is as much important today as it was to the first envoys and negotiators.
Today, technology is continuously shaping certain aspects of language and diplomacy, with the introduction of new tools for communication and interpretation, novel ways of capturing and preserving diplomatic documents, and methods that facilitate online negotiations.
‘word’), namely the appeal to reasoned argument, which involves the felicitous choice of words, the use of logical thinking and sound argumentation; and (3) ‘ethos’, which is an appeal to the good character of the speaker: their credibility, experience, knowledge and authority; the genuineness of their stated interests and objectives and the nature of their evidence.
If we were to recast the traditional terms of rhetoric into the jargon of today, we might say that pathos translates as ‘soft persuasion’, logos as ‘hard persuasion’, and the judicial combination of the two, combined with ethos, as ‘smart persuasion’.Despite the changes, core issues remain fundamental to the practice of diplomacy.What makes one set of words more convincing than another, and how can language best be put to work in the service of diplomacy and international relations?Language can also serve as a form of action: when we warn, threaten, promise, suggest, agree, advise or otherwise, we are doing something, and not merely something.The role of the unsaid in communication (the meaningful silence) is equally crucial.From birth humans communicate, at first in order to survive - to ensure that needs are met.But at an amazing rate communication becomes refined into language, one of the defining characteristics of human beings.Since effective communication has much to do with reading intentions and contexts correctly, insights are provided into relevant cultural, social and psychological variables. But at an amazing rate communication becomes refined into language, one of the defining characteristics of human beings.In The Language Instinct Stephen Pinker writes: In any natural history of the human species, language would stand out as the pre-eminent trait…Furthermore, we need to be receptive to making any changes in our theories and teaching practice that may be warranted by the critical and creative thinking process that we apply to our professional activities.This paper attempts to guide readers through such a reflexive thinking process by trying to loosely establish a relationship between the deep concept of ambiguity (uncertainty) and some of our theories of learning via the acceptance of the view that the ultimate foundation of all human knowledge is ambiguity.