What I’m amazed by ….

languageToday, kind of out of the blue, someone asked me what I was amazed by….. For whatever reason, I blurted out, “That we can communicate with each other – language”.

And it is a miracle. Here we are, using something so well, everyday YET we know so little about it. That to me makes it amazing and even godly. We know next to nothing about language and I’ll argue that to the end of my days with even the most decorated of linguist, lexicographer or language lush. We just don’t know a damn thing. A man speaks – he shows his ignorance (in a strange way).

Let me go CSI for a moment. There are many theories about the origins of language. Almost as many as there are onomopaeic words in English. There’s the “bow-wow” idea and the pooh pooh theory. There are the ding dong and the yo he ho theories. (believe me, I WISH I was making this up — but people made good money studying hard and coming up with these hypothesis!). Also, the “hey you” and “hocus pocus” origins and of course the prohibitive betting favorite, the “sing song” theory. Look them up, google them, they are real.

So what’s a guy to do? What to do when you use something, use it so well but really know nothing of it. Neither origins nor ongoingness. How is it that something so amazing is such a mystery?

Well, all I can say is that I’m glad that it is such a hard to tackle subject. Keeps me paying my bills. Also, keeps us all honest and human when confronting and teaching this “deep” and fathomless” beast. We have to respect it – it is without origins, godly, sacred and to be revered. In the beginning was the word, and the word became flesh.

Wait a minute! Maybe we can’t understand language because, it is us! Can the eye see itself……

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Teacher trainer, technology specialist, educational thinker...creator of EFL Classroom 2.0, a social networking site for thousands of EFL / ESL teachers and students around the world.

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