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Linguaholic
Accredited Online TEFL

Do you ever think about how life would be without language.


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Guest isabbbela

I think nobody could actually picture our lives without languages. If it didn't exist, I believe we would still live very precariously. Communication is key for everything: different cultures, new ideas, evolution, technology. There would be no telephones, cause what's the use... no cellphones (can you imagine)?

No, I don't think we could have evolved without speaking.

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Uhm, I think even the cavemen had some sort of primitive language, not as advanced as ours, but they surely had a way to communicate among them.  Specially when they had to go hunting...  they needed a way to organize themselves in order to work as a team, most of their hunting trips worked that way.  So I guess a life without the modern languages could work... it would be hard, but we'd still be able to sustain life.  Not the way it is now, but we wouldn't go extinct. 

I'm not sure I'd like to live in a world like that tho... I'm having a hard time already trying to express how I really feel sometimes, so if I couldn't use modern language to communicate... I'd be a very frustrated person.  I can't imagine not being able to surf the web or not being able to read a book either :(  If our language was based only on sounds... and not in letters and signs!

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I've thought about it before...but perhaps in a slightly different sense. For me, language (even multiple ones that can express concepts that some may not be able to) is highly flawed and imperfect. My thoughts go so much further than just words in the first place, and sometimes trying to capture concepts in words and then express them ruins the essence of the concept in the first place. Imagine if we could perfectly share the things that go on in our head? Would things be better? Would we be more empathetic and understanding...more advanced? It's a curious topic.

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Does your question include body language? Because body language is quite universal, such that animals communicate with it as well as humans. Life without spoken word would be quite animalistic in that regard, since body language would be all we could use to communicate.

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I think civilizations have grown and proliferated with the development of language and means of communication.  I would think there would be much less advancement without the spoken word.  A good question and thought provoking.

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I've thought about that more than a few times. For me, it would be beneficial since I have a very monotone voice, and it's hard for to be expressive, even if I'm somewhat passionate/interested in whatever it is that I'm talking about. I read people very well, so I think life without language would be better for me. Plus, I'm okay at drawing, so there's that too.

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I've thought about this a few times, specially when I was younger and had a bit more of an inquisitive nature. I've never been able to fully imagine a world without language, though, as I see it as an automatic second step from raw communication. To me, as long as man has the need to communicate, language will always be invented. So even if all humanity were to be wiped out today, and a new human race pops up tomorrow, they will eventually arrive at their own language, and this is why I have trouble imagining a human world without language.

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I find it very hard to imagine what life would be like.  What comes to mind first is that even our thoughts are driven by language.  What would this do to our interior lives?  Would we have the same self-awareness and capacity for reflection?  Would be be able to organize and plan our lives.

And of course what also comes to mind is that even in the most primitive of settings human beings need to interact and to depend upon one another.  We would need to communicate in some way.  Without language -- whether a formalized spoken language or even gestures and body language -- I don't see how we would survive, literally.

I find it a very disconcerting thought, not having language! 

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  • 3 months later...

I don't think about such things. Since I believe that Language was given to us by God. And therefore God exists thus making our life more meaningful and with sense. I would rather not live if this life is without any purpose at all. But there is a purpose, to worship God.

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If we never had languages, how would people be able to communicate. Do you guys ever think about the need for language in life?

We would all be a bunch of frustrated and ultimately suicidal people. Can you imagine not being able to express what you want to say to someone? Can you imagine someone struggling to understand you? It would be a world of confusion.
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Even without language people would improvise a means of communication.But that aside I read somewhere that in South Africa there are bushmen [actual bush men who live primarily by hunting and gathering] who communicate by means of clicks and whistling.

If they use that, other people would develop a way to "talk" to each other.

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^True. Language is just one way of communication. Humans are intelligent beings and will always find ways to express themselves, we are not just limited to spoken and written language. . There is Morse code, drawings, body languages and the likes.

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I don't believe humans could exist the way we do without language. There's no way we could have evolved to the point we are at today without language to share, perfect and create the advances we enjoy today in interpersonal relationships, technology and philosophy. Even animals in the wild have some form of "language" communication between one another and other animals to warn them of danger, show affection, and share food sources. If anything, even if we didn't have communication through sounds and vocal language as we know it now, we might speak to each other through sign or body language, but we wouldn't be where we are today; we'd most likely still be primitive beings living in solitude in caves.

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Life would certainly be very different without language, but I think we would still find ways to express our thoughts one way or another.

Who knows, maybe we would have evolved in such a way that we can communicate simply by touching each other. The possibilities are endless.

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Or maybe if languages didn't exist, humans would have been able to communicate telepathically. With the presence of language, the human brain stopped evolving in terms of communication because it's no longer necessary. If there is no language, the brain might have skipped to the next level of communication. What am I saying, it's getting nonsensical.

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I really can't imagine life without a  language. I know it will be very difficult. By just thinking, I don't know how will I express myself, explain things, tell or share stories with other people. These are just some of the examples that can't be done in life without language.

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