Friday, November 23, 2012

Language and Words

     By some accounts a child's first utterance contains a contextual complexity that if I were blind and could only hear might not be apparent.  And if I were blind, that  first word could only be understood as a voice in the darkness.  But if I could see, I might begin to better understand the context of that first word, and rather than just stare around, shaking my white stick, I might leave my chair and rescue the child from the Cat or a disgruntled Turkey, or react in some way to whatever meaning it was the child was attempting to produce in me.   An obvious enough association, a social context, a shared history, a moment in time.  But it is also a moment when words begin to gather in the mind as a means through which to emerge from darkness and communicate with others.  An ability soon subordinate to the social, it's grammarians, it's peer pressures, and other such bluntening of imagination, that produces what I guess might be defined as necessary "well adjusted-ness."
 
    There are some who will tell me that there are parts of the brain more devoted to words.  For example, damage to that part of the brain that has the title Broca's Area, results in a problem for the mind because it knows what it wants to say, but is unable to say it.  Then there is Wernicke's Area, which when damaged results in confusion of comprehending what it is others might be saying.   Interesting, that damage to either of these two areas also results in similar confusions, or aphasias, for those who communicate through sign languages.  Which is all very fascinating and well mapped, in the same way that for example it's known how a radio station broadcasts voices.  However, language itself, as opposed to words, is better understood within the various views of what it is that consciousness might be.  And here, fortunately, there can be found what might be defined as "a wonderfulness" or "hope" for those of us who sometimes find "well-adjusted-ness" tiresome to the point of deciding that our own Broca's Area and Wernicke's Area succumbed to a pox maybe fifty nine years ago.


No comments: