Absolutely fascinating. And utterly immoral. That’s how I’d describe an experiment that’s been performed several times down the centuries. Or so the stories go. Maybe the stories are wrong. Maybe no powerful ruler has ever ordered a group of babies to be raised in isolation by silent nurses, so that he could discover whether language is acquired or innate, and perhaps learn the true mother-tongue of mankind. But Herodotus says that the pharaoh Psamtik I (664–610 BC) tried the experiment and concluded that Phrygian is our Ursprache. Later historians say that Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II (1194–1250), King James IV of Scotland (1473–1513), and the Mughal emperor Akbar (1542–1605) tried it too.
Tongues and hands
Only Psamtik and Akbar may really have done so, but they wouldn’t have discovered the true and original language of mankind if they did. The evidence suggests that children raised like that can create a true spoken language among themselves, but it won’t match any existing or historic language. An entirely new sign-language appeared like that when deaf children were brought together in schools for the first time in Nicaragua. So yes, language is innate to human beings. It’s coded in our genes and it will emerge ex novo even if children are raised by silent and unsigning adults. But how is language coded in our genes? How did it evolve? I think those are two of the biggest scientific questions, up there with “Why is there something rather than nothing?” and “How does consciousness arise from unconscious matter?”
And maybe the evolution of language is the biggest scientific question of all. After all, language is the most important aspect of human behavior. It defines us and has empowered us in all our achievements. We’ve conquered the earth and begun to understand the universe with two small and feeble body-parts: our tongues and our hands. Mathematics is essential for true scientific understanding, of course, but mathematics wouldn’t exist without language. Nor would any kind of civilization or any kind of genuine culture. So everything comes back to language. That’s why, as I said, it would be absolutely fascinating to study a language that was created by children in isolation. But it would be utterly immoral to run an experiment like that, so we’ll have to go on wondering what such a language might be like.
One of the things that I wonder is what influence race would have on the new language. Would White or Black or Chinese children create something racially distinct? Would finer racial distinctions, say between German and Spanish children, make any difference? The experiment would have to be repeated to get valid results, of course, but orthodox linguistics already knows what those results would be. It says that race would have no influence whatsoever: any kind of language could emerge from any kind of children. After all, race doesn’t exist, so how could it influence language? That’s what the leftist mainstream of linguistics says. But the leftist mainstream is as wrong in linguistics as it is everywhere else. Race does exist and it influences everything from physiology to psychology. Why should language be excluded?
I find it very difficult to believe that identical genes underlie language in every human group. And even if those genes are identical, they wouldn’t be expressed in isolation. Extra-linguistic traits like extraversion and intelligence also influence the language we use. For example, you can see extraversion and intelligence (or lack of it) at work in the language of Black Americans. When White society relaxed its efforts to police feckless behavior and instil European values in Blacks, they swiftly reverted to the matricentric cultural patterns of Africa, as though Black genetics was reasserting itself after centuries of suppression.
No photo required
Is the language of Blacks part of that Afro-genetic renaissance? Take the woman who has been arrested for “trying to burn down the birth home of American civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr in Atlanta, Georgia.” I predict that the leftist media will soon send the crime down the memory-hole, because the arrested woman is Black. I haven’t seen a photo of her, but I have seen her name. It’s Laneisha Shantrice Henderson. Those forenames are definitely Black, but they’re restrained and tasteful by comparison with many others: Shaqeeqah, Demontravius, Shalondra, Rau’shee, D’Vontay, Knowshon, Jermajesty, Anfrene, Deontay, Ogonna, Dremiel, and so on. In nomenclature like that I can sense a new language trying to burst the carapace of English and emerge into the light. If English-speaking Blacks were separated from Whites, they would turn English into an entirely new language. They’ve gone a long way to doing that already, as a satirical commenter at Paul Kersey’s old SBPDL blog once noted:
I was at the bus stop today and there were two of the stupidest, most unintelligible blacks that I have ever been around. Both were in their 40s, unkempt, dirty, and walked with typical Negro lethargy.
They “spoke” for a few minutes in their ebonic gibberish, and it went something like this:
Black 1: Ramclam. RAMCLAM! Suppa dat?!
Black 2: Yah gooby. Muhfugga aw-rah yo.
B1: Yuh huh, ooba dun dee-id dat.
B2: Dahhh ain’ got dat shoeshine.
B1: Nah! Flibba doo bo’ cain’ got da jimjam.
B2: Heard dat! Aw yaw ain’ got duh ribba fo duh foo. Dat’s wah dey ain’ got muhfuggas an’ sheeit!
And it went on like this, with extensive crotch-grabbing and chuckle-laughing, finger-snapping, and levity on a wavelength only these two were on. And to think there are millions of whites who would listen to these two in amazement, thinking they were speaking a unique language rather than butchered English. (Stuff Black People Don’t Like)
But it isn’t really butchered English: it’s Black English. Some Whites find it amusing, while other Whites – so-called “wiggas” – try to imitate it. The first response is much healthier, of course, but it misses the scientific interest of Black English. Are genetics at work in its phonetics, grammar, and semantics? I would say that they are. I would also say that genetics are at work in the English of another alien group in Western culture. Here’s an example of that English from the Financial Times:
Confronted with enormity: murdered infants, abducted grandmothers, slaughtered villagers, lusty chants of “gas the Jews” at the Free Palestine demonstration in Sydney, mere words feel like weak carriers of so much horror and sorrow. Journalistic bloviation on the cause of this and the effect of that seems an indecency, at least until the bodies are gathered and returned to families. So context me no contexts, analyse me no analyses, suspend your partially informed diagnoses; leave off your strenuous efforts at even-handedness. Let us be, to grieve, rage, weep; say the mourners’ kaddish.
Perhaps images, then, not words? Of terrified young people who in a trice went from dancing to frantic running in a futile attempt to escape the spray of bullets; of a kibbutz dog shot as it emerged from a house (that must have helped Free Palestine); a young woman with bloody marks staining her sweatpants as she is bundled away by captors; a knife lying on a sofa in the kibbutz Be’eri, where 10 per cent of the population were killed; or visual evidence of “resistance” like the video of Mor Bayder’s murdered grandmother uploaded by her killers to Mor’s Facebook page.
Sympathy, for the moment, abounds, for as the writer Dara Horn pointed out in the title of her unsparing book of essays, People Love Dead Jews; living ones, especially should we have the temerity to defend ourselves, not so much. There is, rightly, sympathy too for the Palestinians of Gaza who are also victims and prisoners of Hamas and do not deserve to be punished for the wickedness perpetrated by their fanatical tyrants, nor for the delusion that the deaths of Jewish families will make Israel disappear. (“Let us be, to grieve, rage, weep,” The Financial Times, 13th October 2023)
That’s the Jewish historian Simon Schama (born 1945) reacting to the Hamas atrocities in Israel. As I read his article, I decided that he was committing atrocities of his own – atrocities against the English language. He postures and preens in a thoroughly obnoxious way. And I found myself nagged by a strange thought: that English isn’t Schama’s mother-tongue. Yes, he grew up in an English-speaking Jewish family in an English-speaking country, but he doesn’t use English in a natural way. As Andrew Joyce said in his incisive polemic against Schama at the Occidental Observer: “[…] what strikes me most about [his] literary and visual productions is the inescapably non-European, and utterly alien, manner in which he communicates.” “Alien” is the right word in more ways than one. There’s something squirming and wriggling beneath the surface of Schama’s language, like one of the death-dealing larvae of the Alien films as it prepares to burst from a human body in a shower of blood and shredded tissue.
Speech for speaking’s sake
I think Jewish genetics are at work in Schama’s English. And I think that’s ultimately why I find it so pretentious and ugly. Other Whites have reacted in the same way to Jews using other White European languages. As Andrew Joyce continued: “Schama’s type of verbosity has for centuries been taken as a Jewish hallmark. The most famous attack on Jewish verbosity, of course, came from Richard Wagner who heavily critiqued his Jewish musical contemporaries for their preoccupation with speech ‘for the sake of speaking, rather than with the object that first makes speaking worthwhile.’” And what does make speaking worthwhile? It’s to communicate truth, first and foremost. But any gentile who has ever argued with Ashkenazi Jews must have noticed that some of them simply aren’t interested in the truth. Instead, they’re interested in that perennial and pluripotent question: What’s best for Jews?
And in pursuit of what’s best for Jews, they will unblushingly advance the most ridiculous arguments and commit the most blatant fallacies. Here’s an example from Rabbi Dov Fischer, a Jew who much writes much better than Simon Schama but seems to share Schama’s indifference to reality. Addressing the Black commentator Candace Owens, Rabbi Fischer said she was mistaken to claim that Israel’s supporters had any financial power:
As you posted, Ms. Owens, one “cannot serve both G[-]d and money.” The Big Money: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain. By contrast, Israel is the size of New Jersey, population 9.5 million, comparable to New York City’s 8.8 million, way less than Tokyo’s 14 million. When you stand with Israel, you are turning your back on money while serving G-d in all His glory. (“An Open Letter to Ms. Candace Owens,” The American Spectator, 17th November 2023)
Dov Fischer is an intelligent man. Why could he not see the complete non sequitur of using Israel’s land-area to refute the idea that Israelis and Israel’s supporters have enormous financial power? Yes, Israel is a small country. So is Switzerland. Do we therefore conclude that Swiss banks are a myth and that Switzerland is a nation of barefooted goatherds? Of course not. Nor should we accept the idea that standing with Israel means “turning your back on money.” On the contrary: standing with Israel means opening your arms to money. Lots of money. But was Dov Fischer consciously and willfully lying when he made that utterly ridiculous claim in the American Spectator?
Words versus world
I don’t think so. It’s more complicated than that. There’s a basic division in life between those who think that reality should govern words and those who think that words should govern reality. Those in the first group try to conform their words to reality. That is, they try to speak the truth. Those in the second group try to control reality with words. That is, they have no respect for the truth. Instead, they’re interested in something else, like power or benefiting some identity-group.
Most leftists belong to the second group, but Dov Fischer is right-wing and he has as little respect for the truth as the left-wing Simon Schama. After all, Fischer and Schama are concerned with something much more important than what’s true and what’s real. They’re concerned with what’s best for Jews. We don’t yet know how race affects the genetics of language, but one thing is already certain. Different races use language in very different ways and for very different ends.