Chapter 5 “Communicating Nonverbally” Blog

I actually observed myself at close range in order to understand how my body gestures, hand movements, and facial expressions accentuated what I was saying when speaking to myself. I pretty much believe that the same would go for speaking to someone else. Using hand movements, body gestures, and facial expressions allows a person to add extra expression to what they are saying. This is exactly what I was doing. I have never seen, nor could I see myself, speaking to another person without somehow waving my hands, raising my eyebrows, smiling or frowning. All of these expressions and movements are very essential to getting my point across. Body language has a very, very important role in society. I choose to use body language to the fullest when I’m trying to communicate with someone without using words.

I understand how linguistic anthropologists carefully distinguish between spoken language (speech) and written language. In Haiti, for example, every Haitian citizen speaks and comprehends Haitian Creole. As far as writing and being able to read Haitian Creole is concerned, there are not many who can write it, much less write it effortlessly and without fault. Spoken language is something that almost naturally is adapted by us as humans since we are babies and toddlers. We’re so used to making sounds and trying to form words at that age. Writing is a totally different thing. Babies and toddlers are taught to write with a lot more effort than it takes to “teach” a baby or a toddler to speak. Writing is an art within itself. This is why we have audio programs like “Hooked on Phonics” for children (and even for older adults who have never had the chance to learn to read and write) for this very purpose: learning to write.


Chapter 6 “The Development and Evolution of Language” Blog

An article on expressed that there are many similarities between humans and chimps. I’m pretty sure that the followers of Darwinism would be thrilled to hear this! Apparently, chimpanzees can grasp the English pretty well and use these words at will. Apparently, according to the website, chimpanzees and humans have very similar brain patterns when it comes to communicating. Speech is not the only thing that is similar between chimpanzees and humans. . . chimpanzees also are very adept at using body language and gesturing. I feel like the only thing that would distinguish us from the chimpanzees would be to what extent they are able to speak. I don’t think that chimpanzees can really hold a full on conversation with a human nor become completely multilingual. Although this is the information that I have collected and summarized from the website, I would not rule out chimpanzees being able to fully communicate with humans in the English language. I do think that one day chimpanzees will be able to speak very fluidly and easily.

The “British and World Dictionary” describes pre-language as “prior to the emergence  of language” and proto-language as “a hypothetical undocumented parent language from which actual languages are derived”. So, from these definitions, it seems as if pre-language is referring to the time before speech. Maybe this is referring to the grunts, body movements, gestures, etc. that prehistoric humans were doing before there was ‘constructed language’. Proto-language is definitely referring to exactly what it’s saying because every language supposedly descended from a parent language. An example of this would be Latin being the parent language, or the proto-language, of French, Spanish, Romanian, etc. Yes, it is my belief that every language descended from somewhere, perhaps even a principal, parent language that was stated. I am not sure where prelanguage became full-fledged language but that is definitely something that I will research and do a future blog on.

Questions for Discussion-Page 102

In comparison with English, German is difficult for most native English speakers to learn because of the nominative, accusative, dative, and genitive forms that predominate the German language. Separable and inseparable verbs are also very difficult for English speakers to comprehend because we virtually do not utilize these very specific grammar techniques at all. German pronunciation is mostly similar to the English language, except for a few letters from the German alphabet that is completely unused in the English language like umlauts which change the entire sound of the word (ü,ä,ö). The nominative, accusative, dative, and genitive forms are very different from the English language. When a person who speaks English wants to denote a person possessing a certain object, we usually say something like “the beautiful women’s house”; when a person who speaks German wants to denote a person possessing a certain object it is loosely translated into English as “the house of the beautiful women” or, in German, “das Haus der schönen Frauen”. The suffixes that are used in German changes whenever one is speaking or writing in the nominative, accusative, dative, and/or genitive form. Separable verbs are also abundant in the German language. When one wants to say “he enunciated. . . ” in English that is how it looks; the verb is never separated from the prefix. In German, one would say “er sprach aus. . .”-this comes from the German infinitive “aussprechen”. One can clearly see that the infinitive was once altogether. There are also some infinitives in German that are inseparable like “besprechen”, which has the same root infinitive as “aussprechen”, but the be- prefix makes the verb inseparable, so if one wants to say “he reviewed. . .” then one would say (in German) “er besprach. . . ”

I cannot explain the assertion that English has become the language of the world. English has become a language which many people wish to learn if they were planning on emigrating to the U.S.A. or Great Britain. There are many, many people in different countries, like Haiti, where French is the language that is focused on entirely in business. In Haiti, as well as other countries, French is the language that students as young as 6 years old are expected to learn. They converse and learn in this language instead of in their mother language Haitian Creole. This is their “language of the world”: French. “Language of the world” would be an entirely relative term which would depend on which country you are from. There are many people who have absolutely no command nor desire to learn English. It is not their “language of the world”, so to speak.

Questions for Discussion Blog

Enrollments nationwide for Arabic language classes in institutions of higher education have risen well over 100 percent in recent years, and the number of colleges offering Arabic instruction has nearly doubled. This is probably because the amounts of people who immigrate from Arabic-speaking countries to different continents, mainly North America, Europe, and Africa, have made this an important goal to institute within these institiutions of higher education. They understand that they are able to learn easier and comprehend better if the choices institiutions offer these courses. Also, many people from these different continents who are not native Arabic speaking people see the increased rise of Arabic-speaking people in their native countries and have decided to want to learn different variations of Arabic languages, like Amharic, etc., and would like to be able to communicate better with these peoples who know live in closer proximity to them. Business, international business especially, is one of the main other reasons why Arabic is being concentrated on and offered in many institutions all over the world. In order to do business with these different groups of Arabic-speaking people, it is much more respectful to be able to converse with these people in their own language in order to make them feel better at ease. Many people who are not of an Arabic background or ethnicity may also understand the rules of cultural infiltration that is so rampant all over the world. The theory of cultural infiltration says that if one is able to speak the language of any group of people than it is alot easier to assimilate into their society.

For any person who says that the languages of American Indians lack well-defined sounds, orderly grammars, and extensive vocabularies, they must know that they sound extremely ethnocentric and ignorant. This is the same things that have been said about the languages of the African continent as well as the creoles of the Caribbean. Many of the people who share these bigoted and arrogant views about these languages are looking from an obviously Eurocentric perspective. They are comparing and contrasting their own European languages to those of native and indigenous people. They are basically saying that since the grammar, syntax, and vocabulary of many of these American Indian languages are virtually “incomparable” to those of the Germanic, Scandinavian, and Romance languages generally found to be spoken on the European continent, then they are “unintelligible” and “uncivilized”. They are looking from an ethnocentric, essentially racist and uninformed point of view. If these people would take more time to understand that many of these American Indian languages had remained unchanged and unbothered for centuries before the ruinous contact of European colonizers and barbarians, their views on these many, many groups of diverse American Indian languages are founded in stupidity and prejudice. Views on the languages and the cultures of native and indigenous peoples all across the world must be changed. This is 2015 and there is more than enough people and tools readily available to contact these people (no matter if many of the Europeans from the fourteenth century and beyond have extinguished and brutalized these human beings to the point of communicative extinction) in order to learn more about their languages. They can learn not only more about their respective languages but also about their cultures. This is long overdue.

Morris Hale wrote that “the sounds. . . we emit when speaking are produced by complex gymnastics.” Considering that people speak effortlessly and sometimes too fast, Halle made that statement because it is very much akin to the acrobatics that are frequently done in gymnastics. In gymnastics, many of the gymnasts, acrobats, and tumblers can twist and turn and rotate from one acrobatic trick to another. A gymnast can start tumbling a pass in a forward direction, like with a front handspring or an aerial walkover to a round-off, and suddenly end up doing a series of back handsprings to a full double twisting layout. Language is just like this for native speakers. Native speakers of a language instinctively know which sounds are very important for them to enunciate and which sounds they may leave out and still be understood by the person they’re speaking with. The sounds, the rhythm, the cadence of a native speaker in their respective language sounds very, very different from a person who is not used to speaking the language and is learning it for the very first time. For instance, in Haitian Creole, many people who are not familiar with the Haitian Creole language say that it sounds as if the native speakers are “singing”. They say that it is very noticeable to stay attune to the rhythm and the cadence, the ups-and-downs of the language. It is very apparent to hear. We have a saying in Haitian Creole for a non-native speaker who speaks very slowly or over-enunciates words that they don’t even know that they don’t need to enunciate or pronounce even: we say that they “pale lou” or “speak heavy/speak like a foreigner” instead of allowing it to “koule tankou dlo” or “flow like water” which many of us in and outside of the Haitian diaspora possess.