"I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess." -Martin Luther

Monday, February 27, 2006

The Creation and Evolution of Language II: Stories

Yes, now that I've come back to this delightful subject, I'm going to veer off on a rabbit trail. How many of you have actually really gone down a rabbit's trail? Just wondering. What I hope to do in this post is look at how stories are created and evolve, as a clue to how language is created and evolves, as I work my way towards showing that language either was created perfect and is being degraded, or began in chaos and is moving towards order.
Quoting George Lucas is not a good idea, for the most part. His Star Wars movies have left lots of young people scratching their heads over what good and evil are, and a lot more snickering evilly as they blow away the goodguys with force lightinging on their Xbox. No, I have not played as the darkside on Jedi Knight. Well, ok, I did play tie fighter, but I killed the emporer so many times by accident that it really made up for it. Half the time I was taking out rogue imperial warlords anyway.
But I am going to quote Mr. Lucas. Well, not exactly. I don't remember what he said. But it was something to the effect that there aren't that many original stories. Mr. Lucas is apparently fascinated by a book that tries to show that all stories come down to a handful of basic ones. The idea of several foundational stories being rehashed in a thousand different ways over history, so that now there are an infinite number of variations, could actually be produced as evidence for a created language, or an evolving language!
If language was created, it would make sense that whoever created was pretty smart. This creator of language might also have had some very good stories to tell. These really good stories, over the years, passed down in handwritted manuscripts or by word of mouth, would morph into many different stories, with their own unique variations, but could be traced back to the originals.
If language began in chaos and evolved, it would make sense that people could have thought up stories in the past which then proliferated into an infinite number of variations on the same, sortof like our possible future one-word vocabulary, while based on one word, has an infinite number of possible meanings. In this view, however, the base stories weren't neccessarily any good.
Wow, a short post. I'm amazing.

No comments:

Post a Comment

A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly.