5 Random Thoughts about Language

1) What if EVERYONE spoke a different language?

Would we have evolved if there was no shared language? If everyone spoke a different language, I don’t see how society could have formed together under a veil of shared meaning, norms, and morals. Just thinking about the organization of work and the necessary efficiencies, I don’t know that we could have coordinated ourselves in a way that made farming possible let alone the complex tasks of today’s workforce.
…imagine what Facebook would look like?

2) What if EVERYONE spoke the SAME language?

I know, I know, pretty similar to the first question. But, think of the ramifications. Imagine how quickly the world could have evolved if everyone spoke the same language and was able to share ideas right from the start. On the other hand, because language is so closely tied to culture (and vice-versa) would we lose out on all the wonderful things that stem from language diversity?

We would lose awesome phrases such as “Bon Appétit” or “Al Dente”. Basically, nobody would wish us a good meal as we eat our mushy pasta.

3) Why is it fairly easy for humans to define most words but we struggle and debate over the meaning of the word “I”?

Studying sociology, I spent a lot of time in heated debates over the social significance and social definition of “I”. Symbolic interactionists contend that “I” is our internal self that we piece together through our understanding of how other people see us.

Looking Glass Self

What?

“I” isn’t like toaster or car seat. For some reason, we have a hard time grasping something that is so central to our existence. It is a word we just can’t define properly.

4) Why does a word start to sound funny and lose meaning when you say it over and over again?

Not much to say on this one but say the word “tree” 20 times and tell me it doesn’t make you laugh.

5) The mystery of organic palindromes

Do you know what a palindrome is? A palindrome is a word that is spelled the same forward as it is backwards.

Example:
-Race Car
-civic
-Kayak

When I refer to an “organic” palindrome, I’m speaking about a word that has evolved in a natural way not for the purpose of creating a palindrome.

What I wonder is HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE! What are the odds that this could even happen?

I’m astonished.

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