Essay on Languages

Language is the essence of communication for people around the world. It is through language that we are able to disseminate information and enable ourselves to be understood. In its most simple form, the languages of the early wanderers on our planet are highly limited by their vocabulary as the early days of civilizations do not necessitate the use of certain terms that only become applicable with the advent of technology. Even certain expressions, slangs and proverbs only came to be when cultures found it a necessary tool to articulate their thoughts and ideas consistent with the changing times. In short, the development of languages goes hand in hand with the changing times and the growth of technology.

Most of us think of languages as that which is verbal or articulated. However, communication relies on more than just the verbal component of languages. Body language and sign language as in gestures are equally if not more important, depending on how you look at it. Language in its verbal form articulates the speakers thoughts and intentions. However, that which is not spoken or deliberately hidden from us may be more crucial in our evaluation of what the person has to say. This is where a different form of language, namely body language, comes into the picture. Experts tell us that more than half of what is not said or verbalized can be read through the person's body language. This includes but is not limited to his tone of voice, his eye contact with us, where he puts his hands when talking with us and if he crosses his arms at certain times in the discussion. 

Gestures or sign language is another form of language. It is used primarily as a signal to indicate a specific action, a frame of mind, a certain thought or idea and so on. Gestures may say something about the person's attitude as in indifference, totally engaged, or maybe just a simple call to action. There are also as we all know, vulgar and obscene gestures which are universally frowned upon. Gestures typically convey a certain thought or frame of mind, but do not go as far as laying out the details.

Think about it. Just a few years ago, nobody has heard of the iphone or the ipad, and almost overnight, it has become a household name. The development of languages is an ongoing process and the continuing advancement of societies will inevitably call for more words and a more extensive set of vocabularies to convey our ideas.

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Danny Ding

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