Sunday, December 03, 2006

Rhythms of Communication: The Universal Language

There are certain communication patterns that are hardwired into human infants. Every child, well before they can speak, if they can hear, speaks the universal rhythms.
  • The pattern of encouragement ("good boy, yeah");
  • The staccato "no, no, no" pattern;
  • The comforting rhythm ("oooh");
  • The happy "look at that honey" pattern; and,
  • "Watch out" or beware.
Is there a universal grammar for human beings? Is more than this set of rhythms innate? I do not know. But even the deaf, for whom sounds must be touch (rather than the famous "sound is touch at a distance") speak this language, hear and feel and see the patterns, when they are children, before they know words or signs or even that they really are.

When the angel appeared to the shepherds, I wonder what rhythm he or she spoke "Fear not" to -- Angels say that so often it must be universal too.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting! I like to study language and language theories. If you have any links to any sites, it would be appreciated.

Stephen said... is my favorite linguist, though she gets off topic a lot (and in very good ways).

Anonymous said...

Thank you!