So my son has started to say da-da da-da.
Although I would love to believe that he actually prefers me to everyone else, that sadly is not the truth.
Research has shown that children have larger tongues in proportion to their mouths (to aid in breast-feeding), and so have limited motor capabilities, limiting the sounds they can produce. They start with the GH sound and then the Da sound, with the Ma sound coming in much later.
Of course, the Da-da can mean me, or his mother, or the deep blue sky, so it is anybody’s guess.
Interesting though, how words are made. Though linguists differ, an emerging consensus is that mirror neurons may have played a crucial part. There is something called the bouba-kiki effect that demonstrates the correspondence between what we see and how we speak.
For example, when we say “Tiny”, the mouth actually becomes smaller than when we say “large”. Or when we say “go”, our lips pout outwards, but when we say “come”, it involves drawing the lips together.
So words were not drawn arbitrarily, rather -they seem to be an outcome of gestures and visuals. Wonder what the son thinks of when he says da-da. Given that most babies start with dada, wonder how they all think the same thing…nature perplexes.
Speaking about nature, I was watching a documentary where they mentioned about dinosaurs. They first emerged around 250 million years ago, and perished 65 million years ago. Thats nearly 200 million years of existence.
To put things into perspective, we have been civilized for around 5000 years.
So the next time we think of ourselves as the most advanced species, let it sink in that we will individually be gone in 80-100 years, and as homo-sapiens, we still have 200 million years to go before we can come close to the survival span of the dinosaur.
Going by the looks of it, we would have destroyed ourselves and the Earth many times over before we reach the next 1000 years. So much for advancement:)
For now, we put existential questions to rest and try to decipher the most important question of all…da da da da?