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@ The wonder of language

Japanese is a mother tongue to me born in Japan, I don't feel any serious inconvenience in English as I have been spending not a few time in my life until now working in English, I neither feel any big difficulties in working and living by using Indonesian as I worked for a long time in Indonesia as well, and I have been devoting myself to the museum projects in Jordan and Egypt for these several years, my Arabic has been developing step by step accordingly.


So, I can handle about 3.2 types of language comparatively freely, and the individual types of language belong to the completely different 'so-called language group'. Japanese belongs to the Ural-Altaic language group, English to the Indo-European group, Indonesian to the Austro-Malaysian group, Arabic to the Semitic group, like that.
There is a powerful view that the way to define the language groups can not be accepted authentically, I also actually experienced that once in my life.


@

While I was working in Pakistan, I studied Urdu very hard. To my astonishment, the grammar of Urdu was almost same as the one of Japanese.
According to a textbook of language, Urdu belongs to the Indo-
European language group, the textbook says so but.


Until that time I was convinced that the language groups were classified according to the differences of the grammar, but I was unable to understand what the language groups were at all. For instance, English says "I + go + to + school" while Japanese says "I + school + to + go", and Urdu uses completely same order of words and terms as Japanese one.


Being related to the above subject, the grammar of Indonesian and English is more than 90% same. Of course there are not a few minute differences between them such as Indonesian has no articles as Japanese has not it or an adjective is attached to the back of a noun, et cetera, though.


Arabic grammar, which belongs to the Semitic language group, has a lot of similar parts to English one, however it has unique part as Arabic language or the Semitic language group, hence we are confused at first.
One of the representative parts is that part of the subject is attached to the back of a verb when the past action is expressed, for example they express "you went" as "go+u".
"You go" is easier to understand because they say "you go" or "y+go".


Though I dealt with only five languages such as Japanese, English, Indonesian, Arabic and Urdu, there are such differences and similarities. If we study countless languages all over the world, some awful results may come, or even something more than 'awful' may come as Bushmen living in the Kalahari Desert sometimes speak taking in breath.


In spite of such a lot of mysteries in languages, almost numerous languages can express what human beings think, imagine and want respectively and appropriately. This is a world of wonder to me which I cannot help calling it the 'wonder of language'.


Human beings who have completely same figure such as two eyes and two hands and feet respectively but have a little bit different parts of colours, shapes and lengths could complete such languages with respectively different methods of expression and composition, why and how?
It can not be illustrated at all by the difference of natural environment or social situation through which individuals have been evolving themselves, I think.


The attached photograph is the cursive style hieroglyphs written in the 'papyrus of Ani'.
It was my great surprise that the grammar of ancient Egyptian depicted by the hieroglyph 5000 years ago was very similar to that of modern Arabic.
It is also my surprise that the fundamentals of Arabic have been unchanged at all although it has passed more than 1300 years since the time when the "Qur'an" was written in the middle of 7th century A.D.


i5/5/2007j
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