I read somewhere that if there are living intellectuals of the century, there are notably three; Richard Dawkins, Umberto Eco and Noam Chomsky. The first one, an ardent atheist/evolutionary biologist, the second, a philosopher and the last one a linguist. One thing common to them was that they dissected the society/human psychology in their own perspective. The protagonists critically claim that they did it more sanguinely and genuinely than the conformist.
Somehow, I didn't get the link of the study of language with the criticism of society for some time. Although the mind sublimely accepts that most often language correlates with a person's character. If we all progressed from the forests of Africa and spread all over the globe, there must have been a language coherence assuming we dispersed when we had reached critical levels of cognizance to even seek new places. I really can't even guess as to how we would think without language, of course, if we were from the apes, we would have rather survived with instincts.
In my view, If there is some invention/discovery that remarkably changed the way we evolved to live life, it is fire, as history claims but i would rather defiantly proclaim that language would have been the giga-leap which changed the way we live. I think that the invention of language levered the productivity of accumulated knowledge. Communication is essential for survival as a group, although non-verbal communication constitutes about 65% of the chunk, i think that written/spoken language plays a pivot role in knowledge transmission whereas the former might be a good indicator of behavior.
It always puzzles me as to how different languages have different sounds. It could not have been a mere coincidence or non purposefulness even though it may have been involuntary. As surmised in the kiss theory, i felt language must have a correlation with the climatic conditions. I believe in evolution and so extending it, I think that even phonetics/phonology of a language must have gone through the process of adaptation and mutation to accommodate the externalities. Survival is the key objective of evolution; energy is what drives life, so it is essential to conserve it incases of extreme conditions.
Heat in the body need to be conserved, so i kind of guess that the mouth needs to be shut more often in the western world (which is cold) than in the tropical countries to maintain the body temperature. The more it is open, higher the amount of calories needs to be burnt in a colder climate than a warmer one. (The more we open our mouth, the more we expose ourselves to the external work and heat is transferred from our body to the outer world. As Heat transfer occurs from to a hot to colder body, so more calories need to be burnt to maintain the body temperature).Extending it, may be that is why the western world (colder climate) is more crisp and articulate and the eastern (tropical climate) world is more ambiguous (there is less urgency to arrive at a solution)
While I was googling around, i came across interesting piece of research which suspects that there might me a correlation between the sonority of language and the climate .As i was thinking why people in cold countries communicate more closely, physics came to aide. According to thermodynamics the density of air is inversely proportional to the temperature. So warm the climate, the less dense the air. This effectively means that there is less hindrance for sound waves to move across in the medium (air here).This means that for the lowest energy to be expended for speaking, we need to be communicating nearer. For the same amount of energy, the people in warmer climates can afford to communicate at a far more distance than the colder ones.
The phonetics of any language is built with consonants and vowels. Vowels are open sounds whereas consonants are closed sounds. To produce varied and intelligible sounds the sound patterns need to be accompanied by the combination of open and close sounds (loosely syllables).To speak and produce different sounds the mouth needs to closed and subsequently open. In terms of sound production, a vowel is a single speech sound produced by vibrating the vocal cords without any obstruction for the airflow from the lungs whereas a consonant is a sound which is obstructed in some way by a tongue or lips. This effectively means than air flow is more continuous while vowels are produced and hence this should accompany with the transfer of heat from our lungs to the outer place.
According to the heat conservation principles the colder climate languages should have lesser vowels to retain heat. Deducing from the earlier air density principle, the warmer climate languages need more audible sounds (vowels) as they tend to increase the carrying power of speech sounds and, hence, audibility at a distance. The study also asserts that the indigenous languages of tropical and subtropical climates in contrast to the languages spoken in temperate and cold zones manifested high levels of sonority.
Coming to the energy utilization pattern, the minimum energy (Basal Metabolic Rate :BMR) expended while at rest in a neutrally temperate environment just sufficient for the functioning of the vital organs tends to be lower for warmer climates compared to colder climates, even after controlling for body size and composition. And for the climate effect, cold weather climates increase the body’s efforts to regulate its temperature more than hot climates. This is the reason why the bodies try to maintain a lower metabolic rate in colder climates to counteract the temperature effect. You must have felt hungry more often in winter than in summer, given the same activity cycle.
From the point of view of a speech-language perspective, breath is the basis of speech. All words and sentences are produced on an exhalation. At the end of each sentence, it is necessary to take a quick inhalation, after which the next new sentence is articulated on an exhalation. Since most sentences last anywhere from two to fifteen seconds, the dynamics of breathing require sufficient breath control to allow enough time for the person speaking to complete the sentence. The yogic practices advise a ratio of 1:2 (inhalation to exhalation time) or even longer exhalation time for better health. This has greater implications, in order to conserve heat the breathing frequency should be lower in colder regions, and this also means that the intake "ventilatory volume" should be more in colder climates to suffice a longer breathing cycle which tends to be longer to conserve heat. I was wondering if the syllabic structures of languages have evolved to suit different breathing frequencies to optimize the exhalation process.
As i was discussing with a friend of mine, he had another observation to share with me, he said that the economic status of the person/ general affluence of the region might determine the sweetness of the language. He is a marketer and tends to be across places and people. He said that people in Coimbatore tend to be more courteous and sonority tends to be sweeter (the place of "Kongu Tamil" which is claimed to be "Konjum Tamil" ), whereas the people in the Northern part of Tamil Nadu Vellore/thiruvallur/villupuram district" tend to be harsh. This kind of tweaked my brain and wanted to check if the perception was right. I asked people around me to rank people's vocal behavior (courteousness to harsh), Climate (pleasant to uncomfortable) and general economic Status (Good to Bad) across regions in Tamil Nadu.Boy, oh boy! Believe me; everybody was almost consistent in their rankings. Everybody ranked Coimbatore region to be soft spoken and the northern districts to be harsh. Adding spice to it, the ranking was almost similar for the climate and economic status (at least the first and the last were same in all the cases as the language sonority ranking).This cannot be pure coincidence.
If the above climate factor was true then language and economic status might be tied as well. The regions which are mostly arid mostly tend have a better economic status than the tropical ones.
There have been varied number of hypothesis which has been put across in this post but some seem to be divergent which reality. I feel that natural languages must have evolved to adapt climate and hence breathing cycles/metabolic rates/communication distance/vegetation and so forth. The dominance of a particular parameter might have defined the phonetics and syllabic structure to enhance survival.
As I had a gasp of relevance of language with the climate, it has sprouted another farm of questions. What is the impact of immigration of people in one climate to another? .The consequence of adapting to diametrically sonorous language? If different languages have different tones/rhythms, then what would be the impact of cognition at different stages of life? Why have some languages survived for a long time than others?