I was talking with a friend who is a professor of linguistics. I don’t pretend to understand all that stuff, but I find what I do pick-up fascinating. We were discussing the issues associated with cultures that didn’t have a written language. He mentioned that when a spoken language is formalized into a written language, it becomes generally more ‘conservative’. This made sense to me. More rules, less ability to just make stuff up, right? To creatively combine sounds and other words into a greater meaning. Everything is formalized into specifics.
I imagine there is a creativity in using a language that hasn’t been formalized into a written code that we can’t comprehend because our way of forming thoughts is tied to the structure of our written, formalized language.
My daughter is just starting to read. We haven’t pushed her at all, I figure there’s plenty of time for that. But she is constantly making-up combinations of words, or completely new words and explaining that “This means the tree is sad.” Or some such thing. Obviously she’s searching for vocabulary but she is also amazingly creative in bundling sounds together to create a ‘word’ that captures a particular concept for her. I’m interested to see how learning to read and write will effect this habit. As for me, I’m all for non-written languages. No more spelling tests.