Posts Tagged ‘Linguistics’

The older I get the more I have noticed that Language is in many ways a hinderance to humanity. I remember being a kid and saying a word over and over until it didn’t even sound like a real word. This exercise made me question Who decides words? Who said that one is one not two? Who said up was up an not down? I then started to wonder what if everything I knew as language was backwards. What if what we know as red was actually called green? This intrigued me.

As I reached what some would call Adulthood I noticed another thing about Language, Tone. I had long heard the phase It’s not what you say but how you say it. As an adolescent I hated the phrase. To me I delivered words of rebellion in the same way I delivered words in usual conversation. Being an adult and listening to people young and old I started to understand this idea of tone. Somehow two people could say the same exact thing but it could be received in completely conflicting ways. Ah the tone I would think to myself. How was I unable to hear it before? Did I simply choose not to hear it or was I incapables at the time? All I know is I hear it now and it puzzles me constantly. Not only do we have hundreds of languages but we also have hundreds of tones those languages can be delivered in.

This is where language can become a hinderance. It is very hard for people to properly communicate their feelings with such a wide variety of options to convey them. Human perception also makes this difficult because even when we find the right words to say, the person/people receiving this message may percieve a tone in the way the person delivered the words. This may in turn lead to a long discussion explaining why what you said was not what you meant. I often find that words can never describe what we are truly feeling or trying to communicate.

I think it’s funny that there is so many words for one thing. We call them synonyms but what they really are is useless. Why do we need twenty words for beautiful? Do we really need three ways to say to/too/two or there/they’re/their? Are these necessities of language or excesses? Would language crumble if these ceased to exist?

Sometimes silence is the easiest way to communicate, odd as that sounds. At least that’s what I’ve found. In the words of the great Joss Whedon “When people stop talking, they start communicating.” (if you haven’t seen the silent episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer “Hush” I recommend you watch it!)