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Dharmit Nakrani

14350001
HSS 201: World Civilization

Why Language is critical to civilization and what changes dramatically


when human beings start writing?
Language is a social construct, an abstract source of communication among
individuals, an important parameter which reflects an individuals personality and
also hints about the road map of ones culture. Language is not the creation of one
person or of one period but it is an institution, on which hundreds of generation and
countless individual workers have worked. Language must be rich enough to
explore issues at a depth as it allows for shared understandings to exist between one
individuals mind and others mind. Language enlightens the mind and helps to
understand the prevailing reality. Reality is not just the implicit assumption of
science about physical universe and its claims that science alone can explain the
mysteries of this purely material reality. Reality includes levels beyond matter and
includes physical and spiritual components such that both science and religion are
needed to understand its mysteries. Thus, in order to gain understanding of complex
reality the topic of language particularly language of science and religion takes on
paramount importance.
Civilization is the construction of new social reality and it emerges through
language. Social reality is the expression of words and their meanings to which
society has agreed upon. The evolution of talking i.e., having real conversations
through any form of language was done by cavemen for giving warning calls when
danger threatens and to express their suffered pains during hunting. Prehistoric
people were the first creatures to give names for objects. Language helped them for
their protection from the intruders (person speaking different language) and to tell
stories about their wars, their mistakes and learnings to their infants.
Language is one of the attributes of any particular civilization and change of
language mostly becomes the change of civilization. The theory of Aryan migration
into India (The Indo Aryan migration theory) based on the similarities between
European languages and the Indic languages shows a standard view that the
Europeans might have migrated to India as Aryans. Thus, the linguistic similarities
give evidence of Aryans migration to India. It also claims the Indo Aryan speaking
people of having migrated from northwest and arrived in the subcontinent,
interacting with the native Dravidian speaking people. Though civilization is a
complex phenomenon factors such as language, ethnicity can provide evidences as
attributes of particular civilization.
Language is critical to civilization as it can reflect the prime values of the culture
prevailing within the particular boundaries of the region. For example, German
language for German culture. This national language reflects the culture as a whole,

being the main spoken language used by people living in it and also reflects its
values.
Humans had been speaking for a couple hundred thousand years before they got the
inspiration or nerve to mark their ideas down to posterity. But when Mesopotamian
people called Sumerians finally scratch out a few bookkeeping symbols on clay
tablets (Cuneiform) 5000 years ago, they unknowingly started a whole new era in
history. After people started settling down and life became a bit more complicated,
need for expertise in agriculture (prime occupation ) and detailed recordkeeping (a
way to keep track ) of property such as animals, grain suppliers or land were
required which prompted Mesopotamians to the invention of writing.
The presence of written sources denotes the technical dividing line between
prehistory and history. All the civilizations started writing in the form of scribbling,
sketching, pottery paintings, etc to tell the world about their culture in a very
permanent way. Egyptian writing- the famous hieroglyphics, started as a result to
mark the valour of their pharaohs. The first examples of writing were pictograms
used by temple officials to keep track of the inflows and outflows of the citys grain
and animal stores which were big enough to make counting by memory unreliable.
Officials began using standardized symbols to represent commodities.
Trading with different communities at far offshore distances gives rise to the most
celebrated form of writing today (alphabets) by Phoenicians. The Phoenicians had
around 22 symbols which made its learning easy and thereby trading smoother.
This form of writing has dramatically brought revolutions in civilizations. The
evolution of writing scheme vastly improved the efficiency of economies, the
accountability of governments and most importantly our understanding of the past.
The teachings of the mass preachers (saints, prophet, priests) which were crafted as
The holy Bible, The Kuran, The Bhagvad Geeta have changed the religious view of
the people. Reading and writing in ancient times wasnt for masses. However daily
life was also time consuming and so writing became a specialized profession,
usually for members of the elite class. Literacy remained a privilege of aristocratic
males in most societies all the way until the 19th century, when public education
became more widespread around the world.
The historical period is exponentially better understood than the experiences of
humans before writing evolved. The ephemerality of experience is transmitted into
permanence of consciousness through way of writing. The nature of writing has
been constantly evolving and getting polished, particularly due to the development
in technologies over the centuries. This can be viewed as transition of Inscription
writing by Sumerians (Cuneiforms) to Egyptian hieroglyphs and then to Phoenician
symbols.
Our world today is the world of information with a fast speed of globalization. Thus,
in order to understand others view and to present our own ideas, thoughts, feelings
and opinions to the world, language is the soul driving force. Language should be
rich in content otherwise the collective knowledge of the objective reality and social
reality that exists outside of our minds would be tremendously difficult to generate,

and our connections to each other would be extremely limited to the point where
we wouldnt really have society. Language is expressed through words which are its
building blocks. Words depicting experiences, feelings can be transmitted into
permanence through writing. Writing has made civilizations to emerge and also had
destroyed several civilizations. The power of pen is more than power of sword has
come true in the modern era. But the power of pen has to be increased as still today
every one among five children is illiterate in most of the third world countries.