Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rachel Hedman: So I sat and listened and heard one day. . .

Whether a pew is completely hard-backed or if there are some cushions, it certainly has a way of keeping me upright and at attention.

Despite this construction, there will always be the "bobs" of heads as if in agreement to whatever the speaker shares from the pulpit.

Then, as if to remind the Johnson City, TN Ward congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I heard a young lady say, "I know you will hear me, but listening is something different."

That was on Sunday, July 19, 2009 at 12:55pm.

The bishopric often calls on people from the congregation to speak rather than themselves. You could say that the LDS faith encourages their members to be speakers and storytellers.

Brother Jones, the one conducting the meeting, then thanked the lady's comments and said, "I couldn't stop listening. I couldn't stop hearing." He remembered her opening words.

What a beautiful way to acknowledge someone.

In a linguistic way, he balanced the lady's two parts of her line with his two parts. Plus, we heard repetition in how those words of "listening" and "hearing" were used.

Now what of the etymology of "listening" versus "hearing"?

For "listen" is comes from the Old English "hlysnan" to mean "to listen". So that does not reveal much, but then delving deeper, it could also mean "to hear" as well as to "fame, glory". The Gothic side of "hilub" means "listening, attention". The Latin "cluere" means "to hear oneself called, be spoken of".

As for "hear", it comes from the Old English "heran" to mean "to notice, observe". Eventually, there came a spelling difference between "hear" and "here" in the 1200-1550. Part of it was that a "hearing" was a "listening to evidence in court of law" in 1576 and then words like "hearsay" in 1532. Yet, the Old English "hiersum" means "ready to hear, obedient". Consider the response of "Hear, hear!" that started in 1689. Suddenly, the word "hear" was connected to something imperative or to give notice to someone's words. The "Hear, hear!" actually started as "hear him!". From "hear" we also get "hearken", which has more action involved rather than listening only.

So. . .

Until we listen, hear, and tell again,

Rachel Hedman
(801) 870-5799

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