What? Pt. 2

Read the previous post (below) before reading this.

Sound is so cool. Consider the fact that sound is a byproduct of things that are already useful to us. They’re transfered to us through vibrations in the air, water, or even metal. I heard a great segment on NPR today:


You can listen to the whole show (which is about 40 minutes long) or just read the highlights and listen to the samples. It’s incredible that there are sounds that can only be heard in specific places in the world, or sounds that are hard for us to hear because they’re out of our hearing range or are only emitted underwater.

Now consider the fact that we’ve built our language by skillfully making use of important materials around us, employing them for their lesser purpose.

It’s absurd. What even.


Take a quick step back from society and think about language.

If you’ve done any lip sync work / animation, you’ll know that most of the words in the English language are made up of six mouth shapes. The language that’s spoken by millions of people around the world is based on memorizing specific patterns of mouth shapes, pauses, and varied amounts of volume.

It gets even crazier when you think about how we found it necessary to turn spoken language into written language. We assigned specific symbols to specific sounds, then we learned to pass it around. When you move your eyes over these symbols, your mind converts them to sounds that you hear in your head. Some of us have reached the point where we can glance at a word’s whole and grab an emotion from it. Or a meaning that’s completely different from someone else’s. Or a connotation.

The human brain is incredible. We’re able to take these noises, decipher them into meanings, and produce them into symbols and shapes on paper or on the internet. Most of the time we’re able to listen to and interpret these noises while making them ourselves, oftentimes while doing completely different things.

I dunno. Maybe it’s just me, but if someone told me that a planet of six billion beings was thriving by making gutteral noises out of their food-holes, I’d be pretty darn skeptical.