Adonis Diaries

Town of Babel: Excellent verbal communication skills

Posted on: March 25, 2011

Town of Babel: Excellent verbal communication skills

An explorer of the 17th century, known as “Arabia Traveler“, passed by a town, smack in the middle of Europe.

The explorer discovered that the people in the Bourg were lively, healthy, good-humoured, and communicated easily and intensely, supported by intricate gesticulation, complex intonations, and much focus on looking straight in the eyes. The traveler could not place the kind of language that was spoken:  It didn’t resemble close to any familiar language of the time.

Surprisingly, the townspeople had no written language:  There were no manuscripts around to learn any language. This paused no problems to being highly cultured:  The people loved listening to poetry, attending theater, and engaging in heated discussions…

The explorer wrote: “For obscure reasons, I had this impression that the townpeople understood me clearly when I talked in my mother tongue, slowly and precisely.

This town of Babel spoke a variety of languages and had no common language proper to the community.  Fact is, Babel had no language.  

A toddler acquired his own unique language, listening, mimicking, and babbling with whoever was talking to him.  All words were as good as any others.

There were no trouble communicating with other people and the lack of a written language broke barriers to sensible acceptance of diversity.

This town had suffered greatly for too long from various European territorial expansions, annexations, by all kinds of warring powers, and dealt with all kinds of forms of monarchies and republicanism.

Most power-to-be tried to impose their own brand of language.  There came a period, the town was reduced to a simple passage to other territories, regardless to which State the town boundaries belonged to.

In this century of internet and language technology, a freshly graduate linguist landed in Babel. He endeavored to decephere this complex language, never comprehending that there was no language.

Strong with a computer “language program“, the linguist started to translate and interpret the language.

The townspeople learned how to write and read.  Many sentences turned out to mean the opposite of how they comprehended them.  For example, the response to “I love you” was more accurately meaning “I am not ready to fall in love” or something not satisfactory as a response…

What do you think happened to the town?

Note:  This short story is for the Islander author Thorarinn Eldjarn

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March 2011
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