Words are most fascinating things. Common nouns and verbs, especially, but the others are necessary and I have a special liking for adverbs and adjectives used wittily. I am not good at doing so but that doesn't mean I cannot appreciate them.
Humans appear to be the only species that has developed a fluid language. It is possible, of course, that we think that only because we have no ability to understand the language of other species. It may be that we don't have the capacity to understand all the nuances of bird languages, for instance. We might need a different kind of hearing, or eyesight, or some ability we do not recognize as an ability. We might need a higher intelligence than we have now. (On that note, I think we are fooling ourselves about our intelligence level)
We assume, for example, that sound must be used to have a language. Hah! Tell that to the millions of totally deaf people who communicate readily enough through sign language. Never mind, they won't hear you. On that note, I have wondered how a person born both deaf and blind could possibly reach more than a rudimentary understanding of the world around him or her. Yet they do. (Helen Keller comes to mind) And now I wonder how much richer their world might be than my own. After all, I am limited to one language and greatly dependent upon my sight and hearing.
I began thinking about words one evening after reading some of Odd Hours. Dean Koontz, the author, is a master of descriptive prose. He is also wonderful at expressing how someone, or some thing, might perceive the world. It isn't the first time I have considered words and the expression they allow. I often think about them. It doesn't help because I still cannot master them.
And now I am re-reading The Naked Ape by Desmond Morris. It is a great read. If for nothing other than the chapter called Sex. Mr Morris has a way of making the evolution of human beings something to chuckle about. If you do not accept evolution as a viable theory, however, you might not get the joke. At least not the way one would think. I am re-reading it because I happen to agree with Mr. Morris that we haven't really advanced all that much in non-material ways. It keeps me humble.
[Because I am the owner of this blog, and because I almost always leave something out, I am adding a link to a true wordsmith]
Go read this!
A Night Unremembered
2 years ago