Opinion on Language

According to experts, human language arose about 100,000 years ago. Language started as very primitive, but over the years and into today it has evolved into a very complex way of communicating. Language doesn’t involve just speaking, it also involves writing, and with today’s technology texting also counts as a type of language. Many think that the slang used in text messaging is making humans less intelligent, but others disagree with this claim. As said by John McWhorter, “texting is fingered speech”.

The only difference that is instead of speaking face to face, it is just read, but when read most read with a voice in their head. I lean on the side that texting and slang in fact increase our intelligence as humans and does not decrease it. Slang is different amongst cultures, languages and dialects; this slang is usually spoken or written. It ties the community of like individuals together and according to John McWhorter, makes humans more intelligent. McWhorter focuses mostly on the texting aspect and how slang in texting and writing makes human beings more intelligent, contrary to the popular belief. Linguists have said that with the new form of language developed with texting, language is evolving to be come more complex and that it is constantly changing.

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The TED talk by John McWhorter was recorded in February of 2013, and now in February of 2016 there are noticeable changes in the way that people text and write. While slang is an important part of language, there often is a problem with giving a group of people, or a country/continent a one story label, without looking at all aspects of that group or country/continent. This point was the basis of a TED talk in 2009 by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie titled The danger of a single story. In this TED talk Adichie rings the point home that it is very important to not give a single story to a certain person or country. This is very important, Adichie being from Nigeria deals with people looking at her with a single story almost every day. In today’s world, this is the norm almost daily; people give single stories for almost everything/everyone.

This makes people sound ignorant and uneducated. People are also unaware of the power of words. Words are more powerful than a bullet or any other type of weapon. They can make someone’s day the best they’ve ever had, or can also have the opposite effect and make people have the worst day ever. Words also have the ability to start wars, or can also be a sign of peace and/or love. The point is that words are more powerful then almost anything in the world.

They not only have emotional and mental power, words also have physical power. If one is constantly made fun of, they will feel worthless and then begin to feel like they have no reason to maintain their bodies. In the essay The “F” Word, Firoozeh Dumas writes about how most kids growing up could not pronounce her name, and that this led to her being completely isolated by her classmates. So when she got older, she changed her name to Julie and that is what she went by, and as soon as her name was changed she began to realize how she was now being included in more things and no longer from the outside looking in. Dumas’ essay showed how powerful a name can even be, once she went by a different name it was amazing to see how people began to want to even talk to her. In conclusion as humans continue to evolve, if you believe in the theory of evolution, language will also continue to evolve.

Ever since language was developed it has continued to evolve, and now today there is slang and a new platform to communicate with. People need to be sure though to be careful with making a one sided story because a one sided story makes one look ignorant and uneducated.