Language is thinking
I had a wonderful chat with an old high school teacher and it’s interesting that despite differences in the circumstances, we both came to the same conclusion about language as a lens of communication.
But what language really is is a portal into a country and country’s frame of mind, thinking and habits. For example, Japanese has a very organized system for establishing social hierarchy or order when people speak through its various types of honorifics and sentence enders.
With each language you learn, you not only grow in your native tongue (through experience and increased understanding), but you also develop another self and method of communicating and expression through the other language. To this avail, learning even a few words in the language can give you a better picture of it as a whole.
My best example of this was when I would compare my reaction and Japanese’s to the same situation. Sometimes, we would just have completely different thoughts about the thing that happened. This clearly demonstrating the differences in how our languages seek to express and then process events.
It’s funny how we don’t pay too much attention to this. We scribble all the time but after grade school we never even consider penmanship again. I randomly decided to learn Tolkien styled writing because it’s nice to look at and I love writing notes, so it’s a good fit to write small memos in.
But after we develop our signature we never even think to remodel or evolve it. It ends up being a string of scribbles and illegible. TO solve this authenticity problem, Japan does use the ‘hanko’ or stamp. I think we should just move back to the wax seal days (as I’m going to do).
And it’ even funnier that we have nearly a hundred fonts on these word processers and only stick to a few. Another consideration.
While we’re on the subject of communicating, we’ve added the electronic medium which has its own rules, regulations and expectations. Actually, all of these ‘social customs’ are all a very recent phenomena. It will be interesting to see how they evolve and what the societal expectations and norms will be for the generations born into this.