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Evolution of Language – Lingua 101

People all around the world converse in many different languages, yet we never stop to think how these languages came into being. ‘Lingua 101’, organised by Blank 101, presented a fun yet informative talk on the evolution of language, from its absolute beginning to its current status.

Picture Credits: Bushra Mamnoon

The talk began with the evolution of primal humans from being unable to speak to becoming capable of making basic sounds. Humans communicate in a highly advanced form of communication, or so we believe, whereas animal communication is mostly based on instinct. The speaker talked about how animals convey information to each other by means of certain actions. The same was delivered across with the help of examples such as bees notifying each other about the location of nectar by performing something similar to a dance.  He pointed out that animals such as dogs are known to have a heightened sense of communication, which makes them capable of perceiving emotions and learning to respond to commands.

The talk provided an interesting insight into sign languages and their varying interpretations in different countries. Most of the languages present today find their roots in older languages like Latin and Greek, whose origins were traced by the speaker. Next in line was the Internet’s role in modifying the English language, a topic that most of the audience members could relate to. This focused on how memes that internet users make, along with the style of writing adopted while sending text messages has greatly changed the language.

Picture Credits: Bushra Mamnoon

Another important aspect covered in this talk was the decline of many languages, especially those belonging to tribal communities. The inability to preserve these languages might result in the loss of the ethnic identities of a segment of society. Indian languages such as Sanskrit and Tamil, that have strong traditional ties, need to be preserved to maintain the cultural integrity of the nation.  The audience enjoyed the session as the speakers made it entertaining with the use of memes and humorous one-liners. Offering a new perspective to the basic task of communication that one usually takes for granted, Blank 101 managed to keep the audience invested throughout the talk.