As we are all about words, then we can’t pass L on our alphabet journey without pausing to think about language and literature.
It would seem that one of the trickiest questions to answer for scientists is ‘When did language first occur?’ Looking through any internet searches you will find scores of theories, spanning centuries, with linguists, anthropologists, sociologists, and archaeologists all throwing their hat into the ring, so to speak. Was it inevitable that mankind should develop speech? Plenty to read up about if you are inclined.
Given that we accept humans now speak (as a norm) another branch of science has looked at how language develops in babies. Cognitive development results in babies replicating the sounds they hear around them until they move from vowel sounds, such as ooh and aah, to doo and dah. Mums tend to be frustrated that the ‘m’ sound takes them a little longer.
Then, once we have language, we have the joyous pleasure of reading it and writing it. If we think about literature as prose or poetry that seeks to entertain, then we can trace it back to early Egypt and ancient China. Many texts were passed down verbally and storytelling was a critical and valued part of life.
So, perhaps nothing much has changed? We still love to listen to plays on the radio, visit the theatre for live performances, and share anecdotes with friends when we are out and about.
Language – whether spoken or written- is how we connect. We hope that everything we bring you during 2016 will help us connect – even if that connection is virtual!