The Importance of Speaking and Writing to Mankind

Peter B. GiblettStarred Page By Peter B. Giblett, 4th Nov 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Personal Development>Social Abilities

How often do you speak or write? To many of us these are skills we use without even thinking about it, but for some people the ability to express themselves can be a challenge. Speaking and writing may have been some of the primeval skills we learnt as human beings, they helped us communicate with others in our clan and have become the foundation for so much human achievement.

Everyday Life

Speaking is such an important part of our everyday life, it is a skill we use all the time and most often we do so without even thinking about the actions we take, we can speak in casual conversation with our friends, with our family, and with total strangers we meet on the street. Think about this, even illiterate people can hold high quality conversations an ability to read may be a stumbling block to the depth of some of their expression but it is not a barrier to the development of ideas through speaking. Speaking is one of the key things that sets us apart from other animals we began to speak as we can to became human beings and that is important.

Different from Other Animals?

We know that most other animals communicate with other members of their own species but not in the complex way that humans do, their thoughts are probably more basic, perhaps focusing on food and survival rather than more esoteric pursuits like passing the time of day with our fellow beings, educating ourselves, or simply having fun. Many species have also proven that they can respond to training and interact with humans, including primates, birds, oceanic mammals, dogs, and other species, yet that simply proves they are among the more intelligent of all beasts, not necessarily that they have linguistic capabilities, that said many cat owners know their pets understand not only their name but basic human words like "food" or "dinner".

In 1994, an article appeared in Time magazine entitled ‘How man Began’, that article contained the assertion: "No single, essential difference separates human beings from other animals", yet we certainly seem to differ in one crucial aspect, we learned to talk, we learned language, yet according to Wikipedia "Animal communication may be considered complex enough to be called a form of language if, the inventory of signs is large, the signs are relatively arbitrary, and the animals produce them with a degree of volition", chimpanzees and apes have shown themselves to be intelligent and are able to use lexigrams to demonstrate ideas to humans, but it could be argued these are simply animal sign systems and no real language, according to John S. Wilkins "one thing (humans) do (which animals) don’t is use complex grammars, with recursive syntax" and we can learn that by the age of about five or six.

Human Language

The origins of human language has been the topic of scholarly discussions for several centuries and there is no consensus on its ultimate origin or age, yet it seems to this writer that it is likely that we built language because we needed to communicate at a more complex level than most other animals, think about this animals like dolphins and whales do communicate and may have a very sophisticated language to communicate with each other, they may not have dictionaries or a written vocabulary, but they don't need it, the truth is they need language because they are social animals and depend on each other in order to survive and it is because they work together that they have a language; any creatures that do not need to work together will probably never build complex language patterns. Humans have always worked together for the common good and have probably never looked back since we created the language basics and we have moved on and ever upwards and we should be proud of those achievements, they speak much about how society has evolved over time.

Whilst it may be true that our original communications were probably nothing more then clicks, grunts, howls or snarls, but they were very important because they showed raw motions, raw feelings and gave raw understanding, yet from these very basic sounds we built common languages from which all people in the group could communicate, yet that original human language was very different from anything modern, probably more akin to the words a baby uses today than anything we as adults speak, could it be that babies, in a few thousand years, will have full vocabulary when born, isn't that interesting thought, to be born intelligent already.

Origins of Writing

Writing on the other hand can be a lot more complex and many people think they do not possess the skills to write, let alone write well, yet once you know your ABCs the ability to write should be relatively simple, it should be just a matter of putting down the words one after another onto a piece of paper, or more correctly, these days, the computer screen, do it once and likely you will have the desire to do it again and more often than not this is where the desire to improve comes from.

The complete writing systems which can be demonstrated over the past couple of thousand years will have been preceded by proto-writing systems at the dawn of mankind and can be demonstrated in the form of ideographs and early mnemonic symbols, one thing that is known is that ancient writing does not encode grammatical words, making it more difficult to reconstruct the exact meaning laid down by the writer unless the context is already known indeed the meaning of particular symbols may have changed based on the conditions faced, and certainly he study of ancient language is a fascinating one, yet it seems curious that the writing numbers for the purpose of record keeping began as long ago as writing, indeed many ancient scripts have proven to be inventories of property and commercial records, yet prior to these more permanent stone records may have existed writing on trees, that would act as a warning sign, and indeed it could be argued that ancient cave drawings were indeed ways to educate the population about the lands in which our ancestors live, writing and drawings are likely to pre-date any of the proto-writing systems that were etched onto rock, but they were means of communication nonetheless.

Today we see written script (irrespective of language) to be something esoteric, something we are able to learn from, and indeed something we may argue for or against. If we look at the scripts available in modern language hey are all fascinating from the curves of Arabic, Hindi and other Asian languages to the hanzi and kanji forms of Chinese and Japanese scripts - that include logograms that represents a word or a morpheme (the smallest meaningful unit of any language), they are all an art-form, yet they are all so meaningful. In English we use Roman script or the Roman alphabet, a writing system which actually evolved from a western variety of the Greek alphabet called the Cumaean alphabet, itself also a descendant of the Phoenician alphabet, so the script we use to write English today has its own ancient origins, the original Latin alphabet, yet that language only had 23 letters (omitting the "J", "U" and "W" of the modern European scripts), this language has many similarities to the Cyrillic and other scripts.

Playing with English

The more we understand English language though the more we can have fun with it and the more we can play with the words we use, truth is every word has an alternate that can be used, words - put simply are fun and this is one of the reasons that many people speak and make it an enjoyable part of their day. Implicit here is a challenge that we learn more words, we become more literate, more intelligent, more understanding with every passing day.

Other Items of Interest?

The following articles, have each been published by Peter Giblett and may be of some interest to you:

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Being Human, Different, Everyday, Everyday Life, Learned To Talk, Mankind, Needed To Communicate, Origins Of Human Language, Speaking, Writing

Meet the author

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
Author of "Is your Business Ready? For the Social Media Revolution"

Social media consultant, with C-Level background.

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author avatar writestuff
4th Nov 2013 (#)

Thanks for another interesting, informative post and of course Kudos on another star article.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
4th Nov 2013 (#)

Nice post as always!

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author avatar M G Singh
5th Nov 2013 (#)

Very informative post

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author avatar joyalariwo
5th Nov 2013 (#)

Wow very interesting article Peter will post this on twitter.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
5th Nov 2013 (#)

great information as always Peter...thanks much...

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author avatar Helen Thomas
5th Nov 2013 (#)

Very interesting Article ~ Peter.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
5th Nov 2013 (#)

Because I'm in Christmas Carol mode: "Oh what fun/it is to write/on Wikinut today!"

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author avatar Ptrikha
6th Nov 2013 (#)

A well researched article on an interesting topic.

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author avatar Mariah
6th Nov 2013 (#)

A great in depth and interesting read..the art of communication is quite an intriguing subject when you think about it.
Writing has endless possibilities for word play, which is motivational and fun

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
6th Nov 2013 (#)

Good afternoon, Peter; language is always a fascinating topic. Thanks for all your information. I must confess, my favorite book is a Thesaurus, followed closely by a dictionary. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
6th Nov 2013 (#)

Marilyn, not many people would admit that.

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author avatar Retired
24th Feb 2014 (#)


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