Why language matters

A discussion beyond written alphabets

Abhinit Singh
2 min readJul 8, 2023
Illustration generated using Leonardo AI

It’s all about ideas, right? Who cares about the medium?

Not quite.

Language is more than just a medium — it’s a product of evolution. Each language carries a unique tone that reflects the confidence, intellect, culture, and aspirations of its speakers. The intricacies and nuances of language tell stories of triumphs and tragedies, of defeat and glory, of rebirth from the ashes.

In this article, I won’t bore you with facts and figures. Instead, let’s talk about everyday experiences. Take Marathi, for instance. When it is spoken, you can sense the evident pride, confidence, and even aggression. Although I may not understand the language, I can discern from its sound that its speakers possess the spirit to build empires. Similarly, it’s intuitive to understand why languages spoken by the underprivileged incorporate elements of revolution and uprising.

Languages intuitively convey what history confirms with facts.

But language is not solely about history; it also binds communities together with trust and comfort. Notice how your body language changes when you shift from English to your mother tongue (in an Indian context)? Your hand gestures become more fluid, your expressions more pronounced, and your voice breaks free from the monotony of corporate life, rising and falling with delightful cadence. Every conversation feels natural, and you don’t need to be on guard. Trust becomes inherent, and ideas flow without filtering.

Languages carry intangible yet potent civilizational memories.

This potency also makes language a powerful political tool. Every oppressed society has strived to protect its language(s), knowing that as long as it endures, the resurgence is inevitable. Language connects the present challenges with the struggles of the past, even as times change, palanquins are replaced by cars, and attire evolves. As long as the language is preserved, something binds the threads of history together.

Tum mujhe khoon do, mein tumhe aazadi doonga” still resonates today, more than seventy-five years after independence. Why?

There is much more to be said on this subject, but most of it lies beyond my current knowledge. Like everything I write, this is an attempt to understand. I hope it has sparked some thoughts.

Thank you for reading.

If you liked this piece, check the one on the question of faith.