Naming-Day in Eden: The Creation and Recreation of Language

Naming-Day in Eden: The Creation and Recreation of Language

Naming-Day in Eden: The Creation and Recreation of Language

Naming-Day in Eden: The Creation and Recreation of Language

Excerpt

Philosophic minds have always speculated on the nature of human speech. Countless learned works have been written dealing with the structure and classification of languages, their connections and points of divergence, their morphology and changing phonetic systems. These volumes often appear on poor paper with narrow margins and, what is worse, in German. They therefore cannot be recommended for continuous inspection by readers with weak eyes or wandering minds. Recent writers, guided by a positivistic bias, have attempted to disinfect language of its unpredictable elements and bring it close to logic and mathematics. We may secretly admire their erudition, but the jargon of their joyless tomes is so alarming that only intrepid souls imbued with a reckless love of the subject would venture beyond the opening lines. Yet no study is more rewarding or fascinating. Language touches on all subjects and overflows into every discipline. It exerts a direct and visible influence on our daily lives. The study of foreign tongues, the revival of ancient languages, the problems of translation, the adoption of a world language, the ethics of advertising, the ravages of propaganda and, above all, the vexing questions of correct speech--these are the subjects which fill the air with interminable quibbling, often . . .

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