Posted by: Zo Nicholas
Things change so fast, not only here online in cyber world but also in the real world. We have to keep pace by continually learning, as mentioned in my previous post, by absorbing new ideas, vocabulary and concepts in order to be able to communicate with others.
This weekend I learnt something new, even at my age!
We all are exposed to and absorb a basic vocabulary in our pre-school years. From then on as we socialise we build upon that foundation and add more words that we absorb and learn without even thinking about it. Further education and learning increases our vocabulary even more as we often learn technical terms that are required by our careers or jobs.
“ An average educated person knows about 20,000 words and uses about 2,000 words in a week” Johnny Ling – 2001
Language itself evolves as its used from day to day, and if we look back to say the Elizabethan times, (about the time of Shakespeare), the average vocabulary of an adult was around 500 words although Shakespeare himself had a vocabulary of around 21,000 words. He was a well educated man.
Having grown up children is a real eye opener sometimes. This weekend I felt a if I had dropped in of the moon! When youngsters get together they speak their own language. This language was something I could not understand with ease, as they were using words and phrases I had never heard before. Colloquial english… the language of everyday with its own vocabulary, phrases, nuances interspersed with slang. Certain words having taken on new meanings as the language evolves. Today ‘gay’ does not have the same meaning it had 50+years ago. Unless you are versed in this very informal everyday speech it all can almost sound foreign.
I have a few friends who always rib me that I use ‘colonial english’ but then that was the vocabulary, language and pronunciation I was taught and brought up with. Not exactly ‘colonial english’ as I’m not a dinosaur yet, but certainly grammatically correct. Even in the short span of my life time language has evolved immensely, and just as I don’t understand Chaucer’s 14th century language, nor will future generations understand today’s spoken words so well.
Children Learning Language
Children start learning language from a very early age by listening to adults around, primarily their parents and siblings. They mimic what they hear, not necessarily understanding the meaning of the words they use. They also learn by the tone of voice which words create displeasure and which approval. Today they are also influenced by television, videos, radios etc which they often hear in their environment. Even at a very young age they are listening intently, absorbing like a sponge, learning. My grandson is less than 6months old but already he recognises and responds to his name, and tries to communicate with you with noises in his own fashion.
Children learn language fast as they are not inhibited like adults, they are happy to give it a go and if they make mistakes they are easily corrected. Eager to learn, eager to communicate. Encouragement goes a long to helping their linguistic development.
Children have to be educated, but they have also to be left to educate themselves. ~Abbé Dimnet, Art of Thinking, 1928
Zo Nicholas, Media, Marketing, Publishing.
Co-Founder of YORGOO, YORGOO Press and Semiomantics.