The Role of Images: The Creation of Language

Although we cannot trace back in time to the day languages were created, we should understand that the creation of language is gradual and ever-changing.The Chinese language and the English language were not created in a day. It was through many years of attempts at communication that people accepted a set form of language. What we do know is that the language was derived from pictures. Although people may have had different “pictures” in mind when creating words for the same things, they are ultimately the same. For example, things like the 三点水 are associated with water, therefore the 旁 would be 3 点, which resembles water. Or take the word 网as an example. You see the two XX in the middle of the word and the “box” covering it? You could deduce that from the way the word is written, it has something to do with enclosures and something to do with nets (though less obvious). This word is used in Nets, like fishnet or even Internet today.

Languages change all the time too. One word might mean something in the past and might mean something completely different. Click here to go see eight words which have completely changed their meaning over time. Also, I’ve been looking through words that have interesting roots, and I saw the hot words from explaining the roots of Autumn’s name FALL. 

And that’s not all, if we look at changes in languages, we must look at how the digital age has influenced it. The word “lol” has successfully been added into the Oxford (and many other) dictionaries. Though its definition might need a little bit of tweaking, we can see how widespread use of the word in society will eventually lead to the word being assimilated into the language.

Although we cannot make any judgments about the similarities in the ways languages were created, after examining different languages, most notably Chinese, Indian and some of the middle eastern and African languages, we can see that they all have one thing in common: The languages were all derived from images. For languages with words that were not related in any way to images, like languages that have Latin roots, we still require some sort of image in the brain to interpret the word.

Comments are will be much appreciated. I would like to know what you think? For those of you who are also multilingual, do you share the view now that I have state my opinion in the previous paragraph?

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1 comment to The Role of Images: The Creation of Language

  • Averil

    I feel that honesely, alphabets have no images linked to them. Words that we type are just alphablets strung together into words. Each alphebet has a sound to it which makes us pronounce it the way we do. While I do not claim to be multilingual, It is true that chinese characters did evolve from images, and this probably is true for all other languages that do not involve alphabets. I dont really get what you mean by -languages that have latin roots still require some sort of image in the brain to interpret the word though. Do you mean that our brain immediately converts the alphabets strung together form images in our minds?

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