Testing… Testing… Are you getting this???
Language is something so natural and commonplace, we almost never think about how just mind-boggling it really is. Right now all you see are marks on a screen… and somehow your brain puts it all in place. Someone else wrote these words in a different time, in a different place– and you still understand. That’s incredible. As Stephen King once said, “writing is almost like a kind of magic.”
But while English might come naturally to you, there’s a whole host of other tongues from around the world that would hit your ears like utter gibberish.
Linguistics is the study of language. It’s a fascinating and underappreciated science. For example, one famous linguist, Noam Chomsky, claims that humans have the fundamental building blocks of language in their brains from birth. This idea, “The Poverty of the Stimulus”, is based on the wide divide between how much language human babies hear, and how fast they are able to learn how to speak. Basically, even though babies only hear a certain amount of sentences growing up, they’re still able to produce an almost infinite number of sentences. How’s can it be possible? That’s one of thousands incredible facts about babies, and one of the most interesting questions in science today. Perhaps that what earned Chomsky his nickname: “the father of modern linguistics”.