Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Drum Talking, Powerless Words, & New Information

I found the first three chapters of Gleick's 'The Information' very interesting and informative. Nyssa mentioned in class that he took quite a while to get his point across. I tried my hardest to read with as little bias as possible, but in the end I would have to agree. However, I do understand that the depth of his content is to give the reader a clear understanding of the history of communication and words. So I guess more information is better than less.

Like I stated in class, I'm Cameroonian and I was totally unaware of this practice. In the first chapter a Cameroonian pilot sort of introduced the concept of 'drums that talk'. I was born in America, but I asked my mom and she says she is not aware of this custom at all either. From my reading and understanding, the drums are not a signal, they actually translate into phrases. My mother said, "When you hear a certain drum you may know that a chief is in town but it doesn't translate into an actual phrase." You definitely learn something new everyday!

In chapter 2, I was very intrigued about the emphasis on Chinese writing. I had no clue that a symbol in Chinese writing stood for multiple words and/or phrases that collectively made up another word. It's kind of weird but I feel like this might be why China is so advanced. English and many other languages don't need to be deciphered and/or broken down. It kind of is what it is! Chinese on the other hand is somewhat different and I find that cool. I couldn't  imagine learning it though, it seems really difficult.

Overall, I enjoyed the information that I got from the first three chapters. It's so wonderful to see how our vocabulary comes from nothing...basically. As people, we give power to words and then everybody just goes along with the flow and the words become permanent. Sometimes, it's hard to understand because we weren't even around when the first set of words were created. But, as a reference, I think of the term 'bling-bling' and how it was created only a few years ago by Lil Wayne, simply because he felt like this term was necessary to describe his extravagant jewelry and style. Now it's in dictionaries all over the world.

Good read.

1 comment:

  1. I liked the part about the Chinese language as well. I actually had the wonderful opportunity to learn some of it back in high school (I don't remember much now). The best part for me was drawing the characters, it felt partly like an art class!