1.c.11 – Is word the first stone of human culture?

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January 3, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti


Is word the first stone of human culture?

To coordinate the activities in a society as complex as human is, an efficient communication system is needed.
Today we know that our movements are coordinated by a complex system of internal communication that is the nervous system, which cells use a complex electrochemical language. Similarly human beings use a complex language made of gestures, facial expressions and, above all, of words. Even in this case, it is an evolution of language used by monkeys, which use both visual signals and sounds; as previously seen for the group, also the complexity of language is considerably increased, particularly for what concerns sound signals.
We humans have in practice a different sound to indicate any type of object and action that we are able to conceive: i.e. words.  We can achieve such a miracle, through appropriate modifications of the voice refined by evolution, of being able to modulate and articulate an enormous number of sounds at high speed. The words are associated with each other to express more complex concepts and this according to conventional, very intricate rules, called grammar and syntax.
A similar evolutionary and intellectual effort leads to an exceptional ability in communication, allows to sharpen faculties uncommon in the animal world, including monkeys; this is a faculty that goes beyond the need to manage public relations: it must therefore have been developed for another purpose.
The word enables communication of complex concepts and this, if it can be unnecessary for the purpose of socialization, is indispensable in specialized work that, as we have seen, is an essential and successful peculiarity of the human being.
The purpose we mentioned before is then the formation and transmission of culture, i.e. the body of knowledge tending to increase and to become increasingly complex.



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