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Language - a Miracle in Plain Sight


A systemsitter, wordbender, framebender, streetwise dhamma monk and a starfleet officer.


The paradox is thicker in modern world. Language education and or skill is sneered upon as something unproductive, unpractical and often been regarded solely as entertainment. Stuff people do in spare time to get in touch with their “artistic” self. While clearly in every fields known to mankind the first step of doing anything is by defining things. Is there any other way to define things other than through a language?

All scientific methods start by defining the problem. Continuous improvement in management field starts by defining what to improve. Even artists strike a new style by defining his vision or interpretation of arts. On a more religious note, ever heard of a prophet who leads his following by body language?

The third wave as predicted by Alvin Toffler is about information and knowledge which we are witnessing from Internet debut to the mass, the IT sub cultures (IRC, e-mail), the convergence of communication and internet technology (GPRS, 3G, Bluetooth, VoIP, PoE) to the raise of social networks (lots of them but only one comes to mind right now - Hubspaces) that harness the mobile device technology (netbooks, smartphones, pdas and pads).

On the other end of the perspective, almost all problems start with misunderstanding or communication block because both are the birthplace of assumptions which we all know what that means. Governments to citizens, Parents to children, Boss and employees, Lovers, Nations, everything pass on through books fiction or not.

So perhaps instead of praying for more miracles to solve our problems we need to step back and work on the miracle under our nose. Master the language so you can raise kids better. Master the language so you can inspire students further. Master the language so your intentions, your care and your love will not be misunderstood.

We pray for miracle all the time but we often take for granted the miracle that stays with us life in life out – the language we speak. It is happening even at this very moment as you read this article. How many other species you know do stuff like this?

My Artificial Intelligence professor once asked a wicked question. He asked where the languages came from. Was it invented or taught? It started a whole bunch of discussion back then from theological point of view to the possibility of ET encounters but the answer to this is still a huge mystery to me.

If a human baby and a kitten are locked up in a room and raised only by fulfilling their biological needs. Would they talk to each other when they are all grown up?

Before dictionaries how do we agree on a meaning?

If we don’t know any language how would we think?


Paulius (author) on February 25, 2011:

What's weird is courses or trainings that claims to be about communication always gears to project image and social engineering. NEVER about how to construct effective sentences for specific purposes (report, argument, etc), how to discuss objectively (what sentence shows subjectivity... and so on) and how to convey logics.

Drejification on February 25, 2011:

*sigh* assumptions born from miscommunication are probably the most frustrating things I have ever encountered. Unfortunately it happens all the time, because most people really never stop to think about language and how it works, and instead just rely on what comes naturally. And what comes naturally seems to be "get offended" and "offend others".

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