I've been thinking this morning about the gift of language (or just speech in general). Language amazes me when I think about it. I mean, you have a thought, and you want to express it to someone. What do you do? You use your brain's speech center to make sounds with your mouth, and those sounds (provided they're clearly uttered) are universally interpreted in the same way by anyone who understands your language. Then, people know what you're thinking. So, this amazing connection that allows others to understand our inner-most thoughts is simply a bunch of sounds! How amazing is that?!

And different languages are just different groups sounds! That's amazing to me. The sounds that one person thinks makes no sense are able to convey deep meaning to another person simply because of the sounds that person grew up hearing or learned to understand over the years! It's just INCREDIBLE! So, really, language is SUCH a SIMPLE thing, but we humans are the only creatures on earth that have the ability to accurately convey our deepest thoughts in a clear and eloquent manner. Even our "closest relatives", the apes, don't have the ability to do that. Sure, they can communicate their feelings, but they can't communicate complex ideas like we can. And the only thing that allows us to do this is the part of our brain that enables us to connect random sounds with feelings and ideas.

Isn't that crazy to think about?! I'm totally amazed!
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I am afraid some zoologist wouldn't agree completely with you as they would argue that animal language also exists. Some people even claim that they have a special gift to talk to animals. On the other hand deepests thoughts and maybe feelings can be disguised by the use of language a good orator can make. What do you think?
Well, animals do have a crude language I suppose, but it's not to the extent that humans have one. Animals certainly say things like, "Well, I'm angry because earlier today the stupid zookeeper took my last banana and gave it to the gorillas, and that just put me in a bad mood. Ever since then, I've been in a bad mood. I got angry and slapped so-and-so, and now she's mad at me..." Their language just isn't that sophisticated, and neither are their thoughts. It's just amazing that we humans can do that!

And like you said, we can use our gift of speech to disguise our feelings and emotions, too. What an amazing gift!
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Totally amazed.
That is the best part, to value the things we usually take for granted. This time is the importance of the sound, good for you that you can abstract the agent from the routine- life.

Your post makes me remember an article, it is not exactly the topic you have raised, but it has a lot to do with sounds:

When Amanda Craig lost her voice after an operation for thyroid cancer, she found she really started to hear what her children had to say...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/parents/story/0,3605,1234343,00.html
Thanks for the article, Elena! I really appreciated reading that! It's very interesting...and it gives me something further to think about as far as how I listen to the people in my life.
You're welcome, glad you enjoyed itEmotion: smile
If more thoughts about this, let us know, I am very interested too in sounds, language. Whatever thing, even the reflect of the sounds by writing, for instance, in Arabic, the right to left direction of the writing, the importance of the root, and the 'secondary' importance of the reflect of the vowels sounds, well, whatever, and if I find more, I'll post here.
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Right now I'm learning Chinese, my favorite language by far. It's a fascinating language on so many levels!

The grammar:

The grammar is SO simple when compared with English grammar. There's no verb conjugation like in English. So, instead of having to deal with "I am going, you are going, she is going, he is going, they are going..." you simply have "I go, you go, he go, she go, they go, we go." And Chinese doesn't have all of the tenses like we do in English, either. It simply has past, present, and future. It relies on context to decide when the action took place (instead of "I went, I had gone, I have gone, I shall have gone") and whether it's still going on or not. Remarkably simple in that regard. To make a sentence a question, just add the particle "ma" at the end of it, and you've got an instant question!

The words:

The words of the language are fascinating, too. Most adjectives can also sort of function as stative verbs. For example, the word for "good, well" is "hao"...it can be an adjective in that way. But if you add a subject in front of it "I well" or "wo hao", you're actually saying, "I am well". So, it's nice in that lots of words have double duty.

The tones:

One of the most fascinating things about Chinese is its use of tones. The tone of the word is just as important as the phonemes it uses in determining the meaning. There are 4 tones and a 5th, neutral tone in Mandarin. The first tone is pronounced with a high, flat sound. Using the second tone, a word is pronounced with a rising pitch. If a word carries the 3rd tone, you pronounce it with a falling-rising sound. The fourth tone requires you to say the word with a falling tone. The 5th, neutral tone sort of leaves off where the previous word's tone ended and kind of carries that out for another syllable. So, looking at the word "ma"...
If you say it with the first tone, it means "mother"...with the second tone, "hemp"...with the third tone, "horse"...with the 4th tone, "to swear"...and with the fifth tone, it's simply a question particle. Isn't that fascinating!

The writing system:

The writing system is also amazing. As you know, Chinese uses characters instead of words. And since so many of the characters are pictographs with elements of sound-meaning radicals (strokes), the writing system really conveys a way of thinking rather than a specific thought. For example, the character for tranquility (or maybe it's peace..I can't remember) depicts a woman under a roof. In other words, if you have a woman in your household, you have peace. That's just one of MANY examples. You can learn a lot about the Chinese way of thinking simply by studying their writing system.

Isn't that a fascinating language?!?!

I'm about to start learning Korean, too (yes, I'm a glutton for punishment), so I'll post some about that language here when I know enough about it to make some well-informed statements. Emotion: smile
Hi,Haoqide. You put out a good synopsis on Chinese. I agree with all of them.

If you interested with Chinese language further in a funny way, may have a look at this article Emotion: sadfrom Chinese themselves' views and displayed in Chinese)

"http://www.donews.net/holen/archive/2004/07/30/55279.aspx "

But don't need to be frown with those opposite minds towards English as sneering at it as "Clumsy language". Hoh. Whatsoever, from linguisitic contrast to realize that.

For my shallow view on various languages, they are various system of CODEs, encoding, decoding, and with shackling followed, hehe. All right, what we are pursuing mostly in touching of diverse languages would be the cultural essence behind them but not only simply with the surface. Isn't it ?
Yep, I agree with you. Just learning the language isn't as good as actually learning about the culture of the target language. That's where the exchanging of ideas takes place, and that really can enrich your life and give you new perspectives on things!

heheh, I'll always think English is a clumsy language, though. It's certainly not as efficient as others, and it's got tons of stupid rules...but it's my native language, so I can't complain too much, I guess. I checked out that site, but I can't read it! HAHAH, my Chinese reading skills suck right now.

I noticed you're from Guanzhou! hou hou! ngor sik gong yet ti guang dong hua! dan hai, ngor gong duk m hou!

Cantonese is just as interesting as Mandarin because of the addition of more tones making it so much easier to make plays on words. Very cool dialect!
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