The Wordsmith's Blog

Much Ado about Lingo!

Posted on: August 16, 2009

Ah Language! If it wasn’t for the subtle connection of alphabets into words and words into meaningful sentences, we would still have been drawing symbols into posterity! Or worse still using signs to convey our thoughts, feelings and emotions.

How absurd? How would one know what ‘showing the finger’ meant in such a situation? To make it more complex, each region would have their set of signs just like we have local dialects and regional languages currently. And its more difficult to fathom how the guileless male species would ever decipher what his woman wants to convey! It’s difficult to read feminine signs for the poor man even now. And they say non-verbal communication is the most important in a relationship!

While it is difficult to determine the number of languages existing in the world, the number is estimated to be something between 6500 to 8000. For a population of about 6.7 billion that this planet hosts, that is roughly about a language every 1 million people. Each language has its complexities, its variations and dialects. They have different grammar and syntax. And its these differences that divide the modern world.

Imagine if there was only a single dominant language in the world. (Arguably, English would top this list of dominant world languages!) Of course life would be simpler – an English tourist visiting China wouldn’t have to worry whether he would get lice and chicken for dinner. But then I’m afraid life might get boring having to listen to the same syllables and sound patterns!

It is intriguing the way how your first language tends to be overwhelmingly dominant even while speaking a foreign / different language. For example, the Arabic language does not have the letters ‘p‘, ‘g‘ and ‘v‘. So you shouldn’t be surprised when visiting the Arab countries to find a bedouin on his camel drinking ‘bebsi’! Of course, grammatical influences also creep in, no? I couldn’t write this only!

Language might just be the most important step in the evolution of the human being. Our ability to be able to create meaningful sounds that turn into syllables and vowels and these in turn into words and sentences that gives us the ultimate power over all animals.

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