Unification of Language | Teen Ink

Unification of Language

February 22, 2016
By LBailey BRONZE, Cincinnati, Ohio
LBailey BRONZE, Cincinnati, Ohio
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Language has been around, debatably, for 80,000 years. The first civilized humans believed they could use language to work together to build a bridge to heaven. God punished them for cheating him, by giving people different languages, thinking this would stop communication. Many people see language as a hindrance of our society, often expressing organizing their thoughts into an idea of a “language barrier”. This idea of language is due to the short term view of how people portray their thoughts vocally. Language, in a long term view, is truly the uniting factor of humans.

Languages everywhere represent culture. Cultural expression through language is the single greatest factor of identity in the world. Language, accents, dialects and methods of expression are all ways in which language has become a source of identity. Amy Tan, the renowned writer produced one of her most known works The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings (2003), a piece named Mother Tongue introduced her and her mother’s broken English accents. However instead of viewing this with a negative connotation, Tan provides her readers with why her ‘Mother Tongue’ is so important to her. It represents her and her mother's Asian heritage. This language identity is important because as different language branches have grown throughout history so has different cultures and belief systems. Without this diversity humans would be a generic representation of homogeneology. This diversity allows human civilization to grow.

Language is the building block of civilization. Mark Pagel proves this idea in his discussion of social learning, the principle of learning based off of others, this principle is what sets humans apart from our ape counterpart. Pagel describes this effect in terms of tools, the same apes have used the same rocks to crack open nuts for thousands of years. Humans have built off of ideas, humans have innovated off of ideas, turning a stone spear into a firearm over the course of our history. Currently we have around 8,000 languages on earth. These directly slow the exchange of information. However, without this social diversity, we would be one unified culture with no development. Outside ideas, however the difficulty of translation, are the building block of our modern technology, culture and society. As civilizations developed side by side throughout human history, this minor language barrier was quite beneficial for humans. It was strong enough to allow for different ideas and speculations to grow on, but not prevalent enough for the spread of these ideas to occur. As society and technology had progressed communication among different languages has being more and more accessible allowed for a greater flow of information.

Over the 80,000 years of human language over 8,000 languages and dialects have unearthed. Many have come to believe that the diversity of language and communication has become a language barrier between people. However, language diversity is responsible for the development among civilization and cultural identity. Without such a range of languages people wouldn't live in the world they know today.

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