The Language of Participation

What is the role of language in elevating the meaning of participation in cooperatives?  Emily Lippold-Cheney takes us through some fascinating linguistic demonstrations and challenges the viewer to make intentional use of the language we choose.  “Language is key to changing a paradigm,” Lippold-Cheney said, and it is a major tool for creating change and new pathways for thinking.  As an example she said, “I remember making the shift from understanding cooperative primarily as an adjective to primarily as a noun.”

A lot of the language of commerce in the world is focused on winning and losing, and she posits that changing that language through the values of cooperation “can change the conversation.”  Lippold-Cheney added that cooperation can give people a new vocabulary for business that can be for the common good.  Nobody has to lose for everyone to win.  “We are creating a shared message and a common language regarding the work we are trying to do,” she said.

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