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WHY LANGUAGE?

When you were a baby, do you ever recall saying ‘hey pass the milk’? You didn’t know any words back then, yet you were naturally able to ask for many things before learning to talk. The language we speak was acquired as we grew, so what is the use of it?

 


5 Photographs in this collection. Comment after.

Take Time to sit a While.

When you do, you enjoy the simple pleasure of noticing things. An awareness of the world around us helps us to feel alive, but have you ever tried to share such experiences with others? Consider the reflections of the garden in the plaque. The way you choose to transfer that image into the minds of others says much about what you think is important.

Teleporting Back.

English can be quite ambiguous. Take the third sentence. If it ended with an exclamation mark, the message means that we should go ahead and enjoy this garden, but also remember that we’re only keeping the seats warm. A winking emoticon can illustrate its playfulness. But if ‘we may’ was italicized, then the message reads that we’d better enjoy this garden, or else Linda and Michel are coming back to make sure we see the significance of it.

Berkeley Square.

The benches live in a square that was once Winston Churchill’s address, but is most famous for the antique bookstore at number 50.

It used to be the decadent home of a certain Thomas Myers, the eccentric son an MP who allowed the place to decay after being jilted by his bride. The tragic character of Miss Havisham in Charles Dickens’ book, Great Expectations, was apparently modeled on Myers’ grief and, in the book, she lives in her wedding gown, ready to be married at any time.

No one really knows if Dickens did indeed model Miss Havisham’s character on Myers, so a word used to describe that story is ‘apocryphal’, which means that it’s a doubtful statement taken as true. It’s a word whose use has declined since the 1800’s, which indicates how humanity has changed since then. In that way, words themselves record our history.

The Mystery.

Well-articulated words are interesting. For instance, the inscription on this plaque doesn’t reveal the secret of Joan Gordan, and that shows the true power of language – that what’s left unsaid can really suck you in.

A Special Place.

It’s ironic that this particular bench has armrests. They’re good for leaning, but keep people apart. When love arises, it has the power to change the way we see the world, so ‘a special place’ is largely a perspective.

But there you have it, what language really does. It’s a tool to explain our state at a particular point in time. It communicates you. And that’s what we use language for.

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Why Language? | White Tea Studios
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