Language has always been an intriguing subject for me. I sometimes with I had chosen to study arts and got to know more about how languages evolved and what makes each language unique from the other.
But then I guess I would have written something similar about computers !
I am presently trying to pick up some basic Portuguese. Just enough to converse a bit and get by.
Every time I pick up a new language I am fascinated by it. At the time when I started on Arabic, what struck me was the inherent simplicity of the language. No joined letters. The absence of sounds like P and G (as in Goat) which are so taken for granted in the rest of the world.
One language I would love to get an idea about is the one spoken by the Kalahari bushmen. I first heard this strange tongue in the movie 'The gods Must be Crazy'. Man ! It has the weirdest sounds I had ever heard. And it is rumored to be one of the oldest languages ever. The intriguing part was the sound made by clicking the tongue, which the writers in english represent by an exclamation mark. For instance the lead Bushman's name was !Xi, which would be pronounced (click)Xi.
Another interesting language is one spoken by an American Indian tribe, which has just 5 consonant sounds. The name of the tribe escapes me, but it'll come back one I am through writing this blog I'm sure !
I seriously doubt whether science will ever figure out how the brain actually learns a language. I like to wish that some things in this world are best left undiscovered. It would tak the thrill out of things. For instance, the thrill I feel when I see a child speaking for the first time, and then actually be witness to the evolution of the brain over time, is something I shall never be able to put down in words.
I remember reading in the Bible that languages were a curse from God onto humans. There apparently were a bunch of men who wanted to build a tower to heaven. That was when all men in the world spoke one language. To thwart their evil ambition, God makes them all speak in different languages, confusing them and forcing them to abandon their tower-building plans.
Personally I doubt whether God ever meant languages to be a curse. A world with one language ! Just how BORING would that be ! Why, there might not even be that wonderful language spoken by the Bushmen of the Kalahari ! No. I cannot believe anything other than that the gift of languages is a wonderful thing. A door to the mind of cultures. A way to express in words what one feels in one's heart.
Two of my favourite words, which express a world of feeling using just a few letters:
illumine. altruistic. I don't know why I like them, I just do. Theree are many more, and I go over a sentence I read many times, just to go over that word again and again.
More on these topics in a later post.