Language, Words

“In the beginning* was the Word, and the Word was with God” John begins his Gospel in this sentence. I am not a church goer, but I am sure the “word” was used to refer “the word of God”. When I first read when I was a teenager, I took it literary and thought, “why the word first? pre-historic men didn’t speak a word”.

How humans started verbal communication? There seem to be many theories on this subject. The professor of Shippensburg University listed those, this might have come from the sudden burst of a feeling as “Ouch!”, or there is even a theory that the word might have been originated in music. None of those theories will be proven ever, I assume.

On the other hand there are studies done on how much human rely on  verbal (or voice) as a resource of communication.

Some say 90%, others say less as in 55%. Whatever the case, the percentage is more than half (of communication resource).

Recently, in the college I teach, we have more and more foreign students, many of them from China.

The other day on the entrance exam for Undergraduate and Master Degree Program, I communicated with many of those foreign students.

The language proficiency of many of those students are somewhat low and very often, in interview, I received an answer completely irrelevant to what my question actually was. Well, if I could recognize that their answer was not appropriate, I was lucky because often I could not even tell what they were trying to express.

Of course as and educator, I strongly encourage them to take Japanese Language Proficiency exams possibly to the highest level before starting their study in the college, but the strange thing is, even though their language ability is extremely low, it does not mean I could not interview them.

I don’t know what information I am getting from them in interview, but without legitimate verbal communication, I can still feel what kind of person he or she is, and what musical background they have.

In our Master Degree course, the language sometimes become a huge burden as we need to discuss some musically delicate issues. However in the end, we seldom have a situation where there is no communication with each other.

It might be that we are taking the “words” too much to be reliable.