Invention of Language

Language is a necessary evil

tying us down to the rules of grammar and syntax

like the sin tax we pay for a case of beer

even in our sins we must first clear the action with the powers that be

God damn it

is only offensive if you’ve read the Bible

and in English

and believed it

and how would you feel

putting your heart, time and soul

into coming up with a new language

and nobody cared to speak it?

Spending so much time

on devout study of all languages spoken by over one hundred million people:

Mandarin, English, Spanish, Hindi, Russian, Arabic, Portuguese, Bengali, French, Malay, German, Japanese, Farsi, Urdu, Punjabi

looking closely for patterns and finding no more than it’s usually

‘p’ is for papa and ‘m’ for mama

and wondering if it’s because we are all children of God

and we enter the world the same way

yet we all have our own cues to exit stage right

and maybe babies all speak the same language

and baby talk is like music

it is universal

the tower of Babel never fell

in the cradle of civilization

and the genius in childhood

we have for learning languages

is never so smart as at birth

and we spend the rest of our lives

knowing more and understanding less

and it only fades from the light of our sight.

Happy first birthday, baby

you don’t know it, but

you’re only getting stupider.

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19 thoughts on “Invention of Language

  1. Steven Myers

    i’m still not clear what the point of esperanto was or is,
    so i guess i’m ignorant until i take a wikepedia time out
    but any universal attempt at anything kinda freaks me out.
    seems like fast food salvation
    that gives up on different paths and spices and languages getting along
    and it doesn’t have to be full on peace and love and sharing.
    just basic respect with mountains in place when necessary.
    but i like how you you acknowledge the effort made as kind of impressive
    and wind it all back to children who speak that universal music
    but then thankfully slip out of it.
    the dumber adults are the more they can appreciate kids as other
    and raise em up good and sturdy.

    Reply
    1. cottonbombs Post author

      I think Esperanto was, like so many things ranging from politically correctness, to, dynamite, to airplanes, all built with the best of intentions. I like your take on the universal music the ignorance we have and how it helps raise kids. How To Know Very Little, But Come Off As All Knowing sounds like the parent`s guide written by Lenny Bruce.

      Reply
      1. Steven Myers

        i would call it fear rather than ignorance.
        Fear of being what most universal people call tribal.
        That’s one of the things I love about montreal.
        the ethnic groups keep to themselves. the kids learn mom and dad language
        and yet they also learn french and english and then they’re ideally free to make music that mixes maghreb and akadien sounds.
        The majority of people I talk to refer to parenting as brainwashing,
        but in my opinion, it’s a gift that extends backwards hundreds or thousands of years and
        is still right here in the fairly big city.
        It’s not hiding. It’s embracing everything that is modern with an ancient twist.
        I like that kind of courage.

      2. cottonbombs Post author

        You paint Montreal with such a soft brush here that it is hard to argue against the dangers of ethnic groups keeping to themselves in a multicultural environment. I think kids growing up in two or more languages are the luckier than dumb kids like me who grew up soley in English.

  2. adurnablue

    And there you go…earning your eleventh wrinkly nose……indeed, the baby is the smartest of our regressing progressive species. I say give the baby a golden rattle and sit him upon a throne, for as the religious say we may only enter into the gates of heaven as a humble child.. ….Of course a tricked out golden rattle and power beyond measure never does well for humility in homosapien hands, but you get the point 🙂

    Reply
    1. cottonbombs Post author

      I`m honored to get the eleventh wrinkly nose. Tomorrow I`ll go for the full dozen. Plato wrote The Republic based on the need of a philosopher king leading things. Maybe he was right, but the golden rattle was put in the king`s hands at thirty, not at birth. You had to earn it. Still, he was taught by a man who admitted: Ì know nothing` so what the hell did Plato know.

      Reply
  3. granbee

    I agree COMPLETELY that we do seem to get stupider the older we get–“and a little child shall lead them.” This is why I choose to fellowship with critters and unfolk in my own journey! The little child’s spirit is wiser because it is so much purer!

    Reply
  4. Steven Myers

    “dumb kids like me who grew up soley in English”
    that sounds like an anthem for the low bunk blues.
    but seriously, what irks me is hearing about how multiple language skills
    is so good for one’s job prospects,
    but then it gets good when a kid says, “i’ll be at the library to practice
    some aramaic.”

    Reply
    1. cottonbombs Post author

      I always tell my ESL students: You came all the way to Toronto to learn English and you study in the library, the one place they tell you to be quiet?! You don’t learn a language in a library! Languages are to breathe not to read. Still, thank you for reading this in English.

      Reply
      1. Steven Myers

        i’m sure you are a great teacher and an even better one to hold classes in a bar.
        you must have a huge impact on their english lives…kind of like their father who first brings them into the world.
        the thing with aramaic that pisses me off is that no one speaks it anymore. but that was my point. to learn a language for no practical reason, for no reason at all other than whatever comes out of the experience.

      2. cottonbombs Post author

        I do my best to get my students to live the language, not just study it. Like I tell them: all the Korean I remember is all the Korean I used, not studied.

      3. Steven Myers

        that’s the best advice to give anyone. i think it was woody allen who said something like 80 per cent of the challenge is showing up. i guess that’s where all the hidden possibilities are and all the hidden land mines, but the risk taken seems rewarded.
        but

      4. cottonbombs Post author

        Sure, you can’t win if you don’t show up. That’s fundamental. And you can’t learn to speak a language by listening to it. It’s like a swimmer looking at the water but never jumping in the pool. You gotta do the lengths if you wanna learn to swim.

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