Tuesday, February 27, 2007

From gibberish to language

For a long time their speech was mere gibberish to me. But along the years I started to recognize it as Hokien (and not as Cantonese or Mandarine) – as speech, even though I still don’t understand a word that is uttered. This reminds me of what Wittgenstein penned down in his 1914 notebook (published in Culture and Value): “We tend to take the speech of a Chinese for inarticulate gurgling. Someone who understands Chinese will recognize language in what he hears. Similarly I often cannot discern the humanity in a man.”

No comments: