Why Language is Important
Imagine for just a moment that we developed a system of auditory symbols that also had visual conterparts, and let’s say for example, that there was an auditory symbol that sounded like this: “ahh.” This same symbol had a visual representation associated with it that we could reproduce for our eyes, and it looked like: “A.” Furthermore, we all agreed that we would use this set of symbols according to a set of basic rules, whereby we could use them independently or in various combinations to express concepts and ideas. Finally, we agreed that the sole purpose of these symbols was so that we could share our thoughts with others, and conversely, that they could share their thoughts with us. Well, that is language.
Language is the currency with we exchange ideas; thus, language is the single, greatest skill an individual can, and should, master.
Language is complex and constantly evolving. There are over a quarter of a million words in the English language alone! Even this number excludes the roots and derivatives of words. Mastering a quality set of vocabulary to the point that we can always articulate what we want to communicate is a journey that will take most of us a lifetime. It is estimated that most people average between 12,000 to 20,000 words in their vocabularies, with college graduates learning about 20 percent more. But, language is much more than just words.
Words are not just representations of “things” that are concrete. Words are much more powerful that that when in the hands of we humans. Indeed, we have the propensity to want to talk about “things” that are abstract, intangible, unthought of and not even in existence. We humans like to talk about everything, and as you know, we’re a gregarious lot!
That means words have to be able to convey anything and everything that the human mind can conceive. I am sure that your mind, like mine, is always talking, thinking, mulling, worrying, viewing the past-present-future, and fiddling with a multitude of ideas all at once. So, we are always finding ways to use our basic building blocks for language, words, to convey to others what is going on inside our “always turned on” minds.
Language is the fabric that allows cultures, with their shared sets of values, customs and history, to exist. It’s the “glue” that holds societies together and allows for mankind to evolve, grow and prosper.
Language is also, at the end of the day, a mirror that allows us to understand what we are thinking and shed some light on who we are as individuals.
Language is the key that unlocks our mind.