‘Those who know nothing of foreign languages, knows nothing of their own.’
-Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
‘Accent is the soul of a language; it gives the feeling and truth to it.’
Language is a vast field of study and I think that is so because it’s a mystery. You’ll have an idea of what I’m trying to convey as we go on. We’ll dwell more on language as a general concept rather than specific languages e.g., English, Chinese, etc…
According to the LOTH thesis, ‘thought and thinking are done in a mental language, meaning, in a symbolic system physically realized in the brain of the relevant organisms’. I don’t want to get philosophical here so go to 123HelpMe.com if you’re interested:
Kinds of Languages
I. Auditive or Spoken
There are approximately 3000-6000 languages that are spoken by humans today.
II. Visual Languages
The Written Language
Have you realized that the written language is more active now than the spoken ones? Technology is causing that. As days go by, more and more people are using the Internet, mobile phones (texting), and other hi-tech gadgets for correspondence rather than talking in person. As a coincidence and cause, people are getting more separated so the situation is somewhat being forced. Tunku Varadarajan’s suggestion in the Daily Beast illustrates this point by suggesting that the next G20 meeting be done by eMail!
a. Programming Languages
These are the languages used by computer programmers -and ironically now it seems, by ordinary netizens and people. Most netizens use their self-made codes for personal messages, specifically in phone texting and instant messengers, so we could say that their own language was programmed.
b. Sign Language
There are sign languages for the handicapped, sportsmen, military, and who knows what else.
There’s also the mysterious language called mind-reading. It’s a known fact that some people can communicate with eye contact only. I sometimes do. I remember an incident where I noticed a street vendor was staring at me with terrified eyes. I knew that he was trying to tell me something which I didn’t get. I just knew that I should shut up. After about a minute, he told me that the person passing by was a dirty undercover cop. Then I got it. The vendor thought that I was looking for street drugs and he was afraid that the undercover will hear us talk! I laughed and told him I wasn’t looking for ‘stone’ (street drug) anyway and thanked him for his effort.
There are still lots of mysterious correspondences which I’ll try to write about. Do you know of any?
Death of Dialects
The dialect of the Philippine province of Zambales is Ilocano and I believe it’s dying. I handled a public computer shop there and the children playing video games aren’t speaking their own dialect anymore -they’re speaking the national language Tagalog instead so what can we expect is that the children of these children wouldn’t be speaking their dialect at all anymore.
And I wonder how many more provincial dialects are dying this way.
Shape of Countries and Language Preservation
‘Long’ Countries Protect Languages Better
Researchers at Stanford University studied 147 countries and concluded that those with a wide west-east axis (not a long north-south one) tend to eliminate smaller languages and favor cultural homogeneity. Now, a modelling study has found evidence to support this ‘continental axis theory’ of geographer Jared Diamond.