From the beginning of intelligent life, organisms have communicated. They have communicated with each other using gestures and also through signs.
These signs were understood by the same species, for example- A human cannot make out what a whale cry might mean. For us they are just sounds and noises. Organisms communicated with each other for a variety of reasons. For alerting the tribe, to give instruction, to give orders and to take orders. However with the advancements of civilization, the most important use of communication, came out to be- to express emotions.
For centuries we humans have developed our own methods of emotions. Speech, text, paintings and signs. We have to credit the Egyptians for their remarkable alphabet system. They didn’t use letters, but they used to draw signs on paper.
This Egyptian Heliograph is one of the best examples of how humans used to communicate through paper in the ancient times. These signs used to be written on paper and circulated.
However they were not the earliest. The Babylonians had mastered this art long before them. Following is a Babylonian clay tablet.
The alphabet we recognize today evolved from the Archaic alphabet. The Romans adopted the evolved version of the Archaic Alphabet- The Latin Alphabet. Through the years the Latin alphabet evolved into what we can see today or is it?
The English Language originated in West Germany in the 5th century. It found its way into Britain and displaced the Celtic languages prevailing there.
The early modern English can be directly traced back to the Shakespeare, who still remains as the first most prominent user of modern English. Sure, it might sound weird to greet your friend with “Thou soul be hailed by this well wisher and what affair thee be toiling at?” rather than the usual “Hey. What’s up?”, but everything has a start, right?
So you get the idea. Today humanity has gathered and occupied itself with over 7000 languages, with each region having its own distinct language. However, with the expansion of languages like English, French, Mandarin, Spanish, Hindi, Russian and many other major languages of the world, many languages have started dying. The most prominent victims of this transition are Latin and Sanskrit.
These languages were at their peaks, and somewhere in the quest for more easy to understand languages, these languages are now forgotten. But many institutions around the world are working hard to preserve these beautiful languages and it is our duty to restore these to their former glory.
Practical Language And Its Role
Its Ancient Rome. The Battle of Cannae. You are in-charge of the front lines. The enemy is in sight and your troops are ready to engage. Its time to charge. Now is the time to make your battle cry. You Speak.
You are a Gorilla. The head of the tribe. A rival head challenges you for territory. You need to make sure your females are safe and you order them to get back. You Speak (not speak actually, but you get the idea.)
You are Eratosthenes. You just completed your calculations for the size of the earth. You are flooding with joy over your discovery. You decide to bring the topic in front of the emperor. You Speak.
You are Albert Einstein (Yup, be proud) You just received your nobel Prize for Photoelectric effect. You need to make your speech. You Speak.
These were nothing but mere examples to show that even the greatest and even the most minor of events need communication in the form of language. Even if its just a mixed number of letters on paper. There is a term for that too. Gibberish.
Language and the ability to communicate is essential for a persons survival. Consider it a requirement. People completely cut off from human civilization, with no one to communicate with WILL have problems. Humans were made to communicate. If a person is mute he/she will use signs. If a person is deaf he/she will engage in lip reading. If blind they will use braille. Interpretation of information requires language. The long lines of codes to the simple thumbs up sign are a form of language. And without it everything ever achieved by humans wouldn’t have been possible.
How does it affect us?
Now you walk up to a person. You want to say Hello. You either wave your hand or you just say- Hello. Or you write it on a paper and give it to the person. Or if you are lucky enough to be able to communicate through signs, then you use your hand as a tool. In other words, you use a language to convey your thoughts. Whether it is sign language or speech or text or common gestures. If you use ANY method to communicate to the other person, then you use a language. Your thoughts, your speech, your gestures, even the way you sit or stand is a language on their own.
Body language too is a language as it expresses your thoughts (subconsciously or intentionally). One can easily figure out what the other person is trying to indicate through body language. Intimidation, satisfaction, irritation, joy, test answers and what not. It can be a friend and an enemy, depending on situations.
So, communication is impossible without language and that is pretty obvious. Even if for a minute, language (all kinds of it) is abolished, all computers and global communication and the internet will simply crash. The damage will be catastrophic. Even the effects on the human body will be quite drastic. Imagine one long minute where the brain is completely blank, you cannot think. You cannot move as the brain needs to communicate to other parts of the body. But because you cannot make any actions, that is not possible. Imagine such a plain minute. This one minute is unimaginable.
That is the importance of language. The entire global communication will just collapse. And the global communication system is one of the most important things in the world. The world will just stop. Not the physical one, of course.
Humans are social. A lot. If a human is cut off from the outside world for too long then it will drive them mad. Its not a joke. Life is not possible without communication. Communication is not possible without language.
The true value of something can only be measured in its absence. And the true value of language is often overlooked, because it is abundant and in all forms and its absence is like a different dimension. Those who dwell in it are anything but possible.
I sincerely believe language is one of the most beautiful and diverse things. It is the simplest thing there is, yet complicated. If that is not the true beauty of language, I don’t know what is.