Language is as simple as the voice being used to communicate. It’s history, though, has many more twists and turns on its way to transform itself from early humanoids grunting, drawing, and using physical gestures to the formulated commination of shapes relating to sound that we use and understand today than that simple sentence implies. Language is as unique as the minds that use it. Every person uses and understands each word in their own way, making a new connotation for their words. It is used to continue the transfer of information via Education and to better the world though the communication.
Neanderthals get a bad rep for stereotypically being physically aggressive in their communication because their language was a series of stressed grunts, not a very concise method. It would have been much easier to get your point across by smacking someone over the head in order to convey intention because pain is a great and easy motivator. So that is what they did.
Cave drawings are similar to today’s sports play drawings (and emojis), without the words linked with the shapes, one can guess what is intended but it is not very specific. The O could mean a person, a hug, or a face that was never finished because the drawer was eaten by a mammoth while trying to convey his last thought. Words are the easiest way that humans have found to communicate to date. This is made possible because the speakers of each language collectively agree that each letter has a sound and when paired they form words which hold meaning for the speakers of the language.
Taking the English language as an example, there are many varying degrees of English and almost all of them are determined by where the speaker grew up or spent a majority of their life. Every country, region, state, county, town, household has their own way of speech and it is most predominant in their accents. Other changes in the language relate to the dialect, slang, and connotation as well as accent.
When a tourist from Louisiana travels to London are they speaking the same language? Yes in the sense that the majority of their conversation will be understood by both parties but no because each language has words that mean different things to the speakers. Imagine the Londoner asking the tourist for a “fag”, there is bound to be a misunderstanding due to the gap between the languages. In this case, another form of language has been added to aid understanding in communication; it’s called body language.
Adding gestures and charades to your story is like drawing with your body while you speak. It adds a confirmation about you word’s meaning for the person who in interpreting your speech. One anticipates miscommunication often due to their lack of confidence in conveying information and corrects the handicap by having a backup form of communication, gestures. If the Londoner made a cigarette smoke gesture while asking for a “fag” the tourist would most likely have noticed the language gap and continued the conversation without confusion or offense.
There as some gestures that are universal throughout languages like a simple nod or shake of a head but others that can only be understood when you are familiar with the person using them, proving that verbal communication is still the strongest language.
Studies have been conducted to seek the origin of language. More specifically, to conclude if an omniscient god had really imparted language onto Adam and Eve because disproving this discredits the existence of such a god. There were many supporters of this “Forbidden Experiment” as it was deemed by Roger Shattuck. It included separating an orphaned child from everything. They would live in a room and be fed but with no human communication, verbal or physical, and after years of this living the scientist would try to force communication.
There was no prevail for religion in this experiment, as was expected by John Locke, a supporter of the tabula rasa (blank slate) idea that states humans are not bourn with a set of built in mental skills such as communication. The experiment extended to children who were sent to grow up with mute parents. It was concluded that the children couldn’t form verbal communicative skills and so were conclusively as mute as their adoptive parents. The children isolated from all human contact were much worse. When they were finally introduced to humans, they didn’t know what they were looking at. Having never even seen themselves, they couldn’t understand the similarities or the fact that there was anything in existence outside of their cell. They didn’t know how to act physically because they never had the need to learn proper communicative traditions like shaking a hand. These children were terrified, confused, and had no innate language given to them by a higher power, not Hebrew, Arabic, Greek, or Latin. Locke’s theory of tabula rasa is proven with this experiment because it showed that humans were born with a “blank slate” as well as proving that God does not exist. In Robinson Crusoe, Student and Teacher it is expressed that Crusoe only receives enlightenment from his god when he prays or puts effort into his religion, mirroring how religion needed to be taught to him in the first place. God is given “all of the glory” in Robinson Crusoe for curing his sickness because it is what he was taught to believe; it was never a part of his burn nature to believe in such a being as God. But there is a passion in the faith in God that makes humans feel stronger. The text that has brought so many minds together remains on the best seller’s list and will remain there for as long as these passions continue. Passion is described as “a feeling that arises within individuals when a certain thing, either animate or inanimate, evokes strong positive or negative sensations within their minds” in 01: Perceiving Passion.
Language is as alive as the beings that walk this earth. It is molded by the people and environment around it and it grows with each new expression or slang. Dictionaries tirelessly add and change words trying to keep up with its users but it’s an endless challenge that they try to achieve because possibilities are endless because the public is constantly challenging the willing suspension of disbelief in regards to creating and combining words. The majority of these words are created and used by the youth and looking into the common space of adolescence gives one a splendid incite into youth culture. I highly suggest taking a look in the stall walls of the older buildings on any university campus. There is bound to be years of thoughts, stories, and comments spread like wallpaper across the divider. The minds that dictate those words will be the creators of the next adaptation in language.