Mandela’s Language

If peace needed a language to convey its meaning and intention far fewer people from around the world would have turned out for his state memorial service. Peace is beyond language and so language comes second to emotion and thought.

Language and emotions are separate

Do we really need language to have emotions?

Given some thought it should be apparent that emotions – any sort of feeling – should not depend on language. Babies do not need to know the words ‘It hurts,’ to cry in pain. And we do not need the word ‘disgust’ to be disgusted.

The role of language is therefore first and foremost communication, not thinking. However, we do utilise words for thought. The probable reason for this is because language as an abstract tool is convenient for organizing our thoughts. Labelling things make them easier to manipulate. It could be as simple as that.

I have never been a fan of any innate language faculty that some linguists believe is responsible for our language ability. More likely is that language – a bunch sounds and symbols – is really just an abstraction we as humans are really really good at.