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BIRDS' LANGUAGE (Notes regarding a Platonic dialogue) "All we can say about language, and also about death is, in a certain sense, an unaccessible truth." (GEORGE STEINER, "After Babel", Bucharest, 1983) They say about Prussia's Frederic the Great that, tempted by the thought of an EXPERIMENTAL recovery of the "original language", he decided to raise two newly-born children in princely conditions, but isolating them from any verbal stimulus, from any contact with the sphere of human utterance. So, the two children were being perfectly taken care of, but no-one spoke to them and no-one spoke within the space surrounding them. The king hoped that, urged by an innate need of communication and bereft from any exterior linguistic model, the two "subjects" should end up conversing spontaneously in humanity's original language, the one before the Tower of Babel. After a few years, very few actually, despite a permanently checked bodily health and an irreproachable physiological administration, both the children died, sucked in an abyss of silence.

Therefore, Frederic the Great found nothing about the original language. But he found out - with a price that kings could only pay - something far more important: that language is not an ANNEXE of human condition, an auxiliary piece in its biological and social economy; for the man, language is a reality having the same rank as food and air: it's nutritional and therefore VITAL. To speak is not doing a simple exercise of "communication" - as an important section of modern linguistics is pleased to believe. To speak is to vitalize (or to poison) your interlocutor. Words are not a derived phenomenon of life and of intelligence: on the contrary, it is the source of them both, their rhythm of maintenance, in short their "breathing".

This is how, it seems, the old...