- Feb 5, 2013
- Reaction score
- Washington State
How might it be among our worst nightmares to wake up and find language gone?Nothingness
I woke up at night and my language was gone
No sign of language no writing no alphabet
nor symbol nor word in any tongue
and raw was my fear—like the terror perhaps
of a man flung from a treetop far above the ground
a shipwrecked person on a tide-engulfed sandbank
a pilot whose parachute would not open
or the fear of a stone in a bottomless pit
and the fright was unvoiced unlettered unuttered
and inarticulate O how inarticulate
and I was alone in the dark
a non-I in the all-pervading gloom
with no grasp no leaning point
everything stripped of everything
and the sound was speechless and voiceless
and I was naught and nothing
without even a gibbet to hang onto
without a single peg to hang onto
and I no longer knew who or what I was
and I was no more
~Aharon Amir, translated from the Hebrew by Abraham Birman
How important is language to human beings?
The poem implies that we are dead the minute we lose language. In what way(s) is this true?
Having once acquired a language, is it ever possible for us really to stop talking? Once we
take on a language, can we ever really lose it?
If languages are systems of symbols, if one takes the symbol away, does not the thing itself remain?