o you know that Pontius, the first name
of Pilatus, means "the Fifth"? That Plato is
a nickname meaning "broad-shouldered"? (his real
name was Aristocles).
Do you know that in some languages the tense is expressed by the
pronoun and not by the verb? In the Haoussa language there is a "me-future" (kan
zo, I will go) and a "me-past" (na zo, I came)...
Do you know that German has an indefinite negative article? (kein)
And that German is spelled Tedesco in Italian, Nemtsy in Russian, Allemand in
French? and finally, do you know that in English you can express an idea with
more words of italic origin (I imagine you are satisfied with this information)
or with more words of germanic origin (I guess you are fulfilled with this briefing)?
Why do languages fascinate so much? Because they capture and express
the breadth and the diversity of human thought. Art is a kind of language without
words. However, language and art are both symbols of our human condition: they
are useful mediums with which to confront ourselves with others... They are the "invisible" knots
of the network which tie us together. Words and signs have a very long story
and we attribute to them a magic power.
We are distinguished from animals as much by symbolic language as
by our desire to alter, decorate and personalize our bodies and environment.
Indeed, evidence of art and artifacts, substantially antedates evidence of symbolic
language, and is thought to be an early index of brain development. Since man
is man, he has filled his life with things that have had no immediate or obvious
survival benefit. Art provides humans with an evolutionary advantage by allowing
us to "externalize" and collectivize both our memory of the past as
well as enabling us to plan for the future. Individuals perish, and with them
their memories. However, if the individual experience is "externalized" and
codified in art, the community retains the information even though one of its
members expires. Language is communication in the present. Art is communication
In this portal we'll talk about:
• the language which is the richest in terms of words and the "Esperanto" of
the nowadays world: i.e. English,
• Romance languages, such as Italian and French,
• old languages, including Latin and Greek,
• strange or invented languages,
• writings, scripts, symbols, signs, and modern art.