Film FIVE: The Original Language

How To Talk to Everything

Film Five of the Restorative Practices Film Series
The Original Language (56 minutes)

Wherein we explore the notion of the Original Language- a language of life in which all living things could, at one time, communicate, and explore what it will take for us to return to this kind of relationship with language.

In this film, we take a deep dive into cultural and indigenous linguistics, exploring the universal human language origin story that tells of a time when it was possible for humans to communicate with animals and across linguistics barriers. For 25 years we have been engaged in an applied cultural linguistics project connected to identifying lexical gaps (holes) in the English language. This project has culminated in this film, and in the book Keywords.

Learning Objectives

  1. Participants closely examine the ways that language (and some languages more than others) itself colonizes the mind and structures disconnection
  2. Participants reflect on language as a technology for creating reality.
  3. Participants develop a variety of practices for up-grading their use of language to concord with their highest values, and the kind of world they would like to create.


  1. Participants demonstrate a felt understanding of the ways that they can grow their relationship with language to enhance communication with everything
  2. Participants directly experience the power of a living language to connect.


  1. If you know more than one language– in what language do you feel most comfortable and why? Is the communication medium in which you feel most comfortable actually words? If not, what is your preferred medium of communication? What qualities are you able to communicate through that medium that you find harder to communicate through words?
  2. In which ways did this film resonate most deeply with you? How to you 'talk' to other creatures, if you do? Do you communicate, in some manner, with other non-human beings? Do you feel a particular affinity for some kind of animal? Or plant? If so, how have you come to be connected with that animal or plant or being? Do you have the experience of exchanging information with things that aren't human? An animal? A forest? A body of water? A celestial body- the Sun or Moon? A planet?
  3. In what ways does your use of language align with your highest values? In what ways does it not yet? What is your self-talk like? Is there a way that your self-talk could become more supportive to your wellbeing? In your self-talk, do you notice that you have internalized the critical voices of others? If so, whose voices? What facets of their criticism have you internalized? We would invite you to study that. If this notion resonates with you, visit the Self-Compassion practice.

Supplementary Related Resources