Saturday, August 19, 2006

What if there was no language?

Me : "Are you going out with her???"
Him: "Why do you ask?"
Me: "Can't you guess? I am jealous!"
A nervous laugh followed!

The conversation was almost forgotten. But the mind mulls over the most surprising of things...
What a word!
So explanatory and so compact!

I was thinking to myself, what if there was no such word as jealous (or its close synonyms)?
How would I ever be able to communicate what I felt when I was jealous?
How many such words are there, without which certain emotions simply can't be explained.

Language, something that was simply a "subject" in school (and not a scoring one at that!), was just that - a subject.
It was a collection of words. It did not evoke any feeling of awe.
Today it does.
How else could I have explained something like jealousy??
"Hey, don't go out with her because I feel .... Hmm well, it invokes in me a certain feeling which is generally invoked when you talk of other girls... Well, not ALL other girls, just girls who have the potential to replace me... Hmm well, I don know if I can explain it any better... Hope you don't misunderstand me!"

Language has given the power which no other "tool" has given! Our emotions, our thoughts, EVERYTHING WE KNOW would sum up to a big zero without a method to express it all!
Language is the only way we can think... All our thoughts are in terms of sentences (broken sentences perhaps) or words... We cant think beyond the language...

And hence, just as language has given us power, it has symmetrically limited it. Can we think of something that does not have a word for it?
Can we think of an emotion which probably we feel often enough,but don't yet have a name for... Not because of limitations of vocabulary, but because there simply is no word for it!
We cannot possibly think of something without knowing what to call it!

Perhaps that's how a language can be classified as a "rich language: and a not-so rich language.
A rich language would incorporate a larger number of distinct words which allows its user to use the words as generic understandable notions.

And perhaps there ought to be word for the feeling that lies somewhere between "don't know what to do" and "restlessness" and "anxiety" - the feeling of knowing that your mind needs food and is troubled by the lack of it but doesn't know what to chew on!

Monday, August 07, 2006

This being my first post, I'd like to start with the credit of the address (madorwhat) which goes to Sapna Bhavnani who works at Madowot salon and writes for mumbai mirror.
(i really like the name Mad-O-Wot).

This blog will be as abstract as I can make it... although I think details and actual examples only work to make the abstract more concrete!

So kickass and enjoy my "articles" as I write all that amuses me and evokes me likewise...