Why Don’t We All Speak the Same Language? (Freakonomics Radio)
"There are 7,000 languages spoken on Earth. What are the costs — and benefits — of our modern-day Tower of Babel?"
An interesting discussion about how and why we ended up speaking so many languages.
"What are the costs — and benefits — of our modern-day Tower of Babel?"
The costs are obvious: confusion, distrust,ethnocentrism.
The benefits are obvious if painful: a single computer keyboard, phone, apps.
We could, but then it wouldn't be as exciting learning a language here. :)
It's like this. ---Lots of creatures can make sounds that have meaning ie "danger". ---Humans probably started with a vocabulary from prehuman species. ---To get ideas across, they imitated sounds of nature and creatures. ---Then they invented sounds to have agreed upon meanings. ---All over in human communities they did this separately from other groups. ---Gradually, some learned words from others they came into contact with. --- Language growth was hastened by warlike leaders capturing and conquering ---But most people never went further than they could walk. ---Even after thousands of millennia, people spoke like others in their small communities. ---Their speech gradually changed while in the next community speech and pronunciation drifted in other directions. ---Then a change came about. ---Trade, larger tribes, then countries developed. ---You could still hear a different accent from people who lived a short distance from you. ---Then a change came about. Transportation, communications, sound movies, radio and television made it so that people around the world often would hear the same program in different parts of the world. -------And now we are entering a time of culture unification.
The tower of Babel is a true story..although they did not quote it correctly.
What ever you may think about the metaphor of not aspiring to be god, or how god works, or what the effects the multitudes of languages have on man, the tower of babel is not historically accurate picture of language development.
Multitudes of Languages and civilizations predate Jewish civilization and mythology. Many new languages have formed after the alleged events of the tower of babel. So it appears, languages can form without divine intervention, and they appear to have been formed before the tower of babel. Also, god appeared not to strike rocket ships out of the sky - which doubtlessly reached deeper into space that any stone structure could ever reach. Empirically, it would seem, if there is a god, he has no problem with space ladders at least literally.
I am not saying you cannot find meaning in the tower of babel story. But attempting to literally interpret it as the origin of languages on the planet, or gods will toward space exploration would be historically and as it would appear, empirically inaccurate respectively.
Yeah, not understanding each other can lead to conflict for sure.
However plenty of cases of people that speak the same language killing each other in record numbers. Communist movements for example killed more of their own nations people last century then all the wars.