March 12th 2009
I admit to ignoring scholarship on the subject of language. I prefer
understanding of how the first words might have entered consciousness.
In this vision the first words
uttered cannot be a series of grunts. Language – the sharing of
- is more than variations on 'ugh'. Language
lies beyond fear or curiosity or encouragement.
For many years I thought the first
word would be an identifying word. Like
elephant, antelope, cat. Recently
I pictured the ancestors in their scattered bands contemplating quality.
Not quality in the sense of
'supper with the family' – which since the invention of television has
always been something of a nightmare – but quality in the sense of one
moment following the next. A fifth
dimension in the space-time of consciousness.
Like slow, fast, faster
The other day I decided the 'ugh'
of "sneaky quick witted cunning bastard" became the word mole.
And around the evening fire we would grunt in understanding
I am one for whom language – the
sharing of idea – is the single animal achievement.
Everything else we animals have done is no more than increasingly