It’s Writing Wednesday, and I thought I’d talk a bit about language. Language is made up of words that help us to communicate both verbally and by writing. It’s been around almost a long as Man has been. Early man is thought to have communicated with body movements and the occasional guttural sounds such as grunting.
Eventually, Man achieved oral language though it is unsure exactly when this happened. The overall agreement is that it was a long process of adaptation and evolution with early Man having very small vocabularies and limited ability to vocalize words.
Once oral language was achieved, Man began to spread out. Languages changed as regions and areas began to differ. people needing different words to relate to their surroundings. Philology is, according to the Oxford Dictionary, ..”the branch of knowledge that deals with the structure, historical development, and relationships of a language or languages”
A Polyglot, according to Oxford dictionary, “a person who knows and is able to use several languages.” This means being fluent in at least 4 different languages.
Oral language soon developed into written languages as societies grew and became more complex. It is postulated Writing came about at the same time as Trade and Accounting did because a way was needed to record transactions. The royal family especially appeared to have a need to know exactly what they owned and how much.
The written language developed and changed as the need for it changed. It has become so interwoven in all societies and cultures that one has to be fluent in it as well as the oral language for one to be considered an “expert” in that language. Polyglots not only speak a language fluently, they are also able to read and write fluently in that language.
Words, and their uses, have a big impact on people. You can see it on the faces of people who get good news and those who get bad. You can brighten someone’s day with a kind word, or you can destroy a person with a harsh one. It doesn’t matter is those words are spoken or written, they all have an impact on both of the people in the conversation.
My first, and main inspiration, is J.R.R. Tolkien, and he was both a Philologist and a Polyglot. He also had the job of Rawlinson and Bosworth Professorship of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford. He specialized in Old and Middle English, but he was also fluent in German and several other languages. Philology was his hobby as was writing, and he used one to enrich the other, creating no less than three languages for his books.
Words, words, words, – they are historical with some having roots in ancient times, and others are more modern, created to keep up with the changes in the world around us. Case in point, France’s Commission d’enrichissement de la langue francais(French Language Enrichment Commission) started by de Gaulle in 1966, has the sole task of coming up with new French words for things including words created in other languages – especially American English ones.
I, as a writer, strive to use words to the best of my abilities to achieve a desired effect/goal. My main goal for writing this blog is to establish a rapport with my fellow humans. I have achieved this, to a small degree, and I continue to work towards creating more while enriching and strengthening those I have already created. I am appreciative of all the feedback I get from everyone.
The next time you use a word, like “macho” consider how and when the word became a part of your language. Is it one that is indigenous to your language, or is it one brought in from another language? American English is full of Loanwords, words brought in from other languages, and most have been adopted into the language through constant and generalized usage. Macho originated in the Spanish language, but it’s been adopted into American English with the exact same meaning in both languages.
Just thought I’d give you something to think about. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject.
See you on the flipside and don’t forget your towel and sonic screwdriver!