Mother of all Technology
Joshua Huang, Division 2, 10th grade #ws17e-s2d2

If I were to imagine an exhibition that showcased the best of mankind’s innovation, some inventions would definitely be displayed more prominently than others - the wheel, the tool of efficiency; gunpowder, a revolution for warfare; or the smartphone, the digital extension of a person in modern times. But what weaves and interlocks all this technology together? Since I know innovation and improvement are fueled by communication, I can naturally point to Language as the most important technology.

By reading the article so far, one would question if language is even a form of technology. I can assure you that it is a contraption that equates the prestige of the ever-mysterious Labyrinth that Daedalus, master of innovation, created. Language, like other forms of technology, was developed to address a central problem of humanity. In this case, the problem is the need for humans to be able to communicate effectively and efficiently. With language, one can transfer information from one person to another in many ways, such as in an oral, body, and even written form. Language is also constructive; with understanding and knowledge, hostility or ignorance towards a person or subject may vanish, with inspiration from books or role models, others may discover or create new ideas, and with collaboration, ideas and concepts may be shared and improved upon tenfold. These constructive factors make innovation and discovery possible, thus making language the grand foundation in which it is built on. Thousands of years after its development, it is pretty safe to assume that this idea has sold out with the human race, as all of its members are dependent on the technology today.

Interweaved into the cloth that comprises my cultural identity is the silk of Chinese Culture that my parents passed down and the cotton-thread of Western Civilization that came from my American upbringing. In the red, white, and blue threads of Western Culture, it is America whom I recite the Pledge of Allegiance to, and English in which I read and write my homework in. Just like any other American children, I watch movies that have English-speaking actors in it; and I have friends who only speak the English Language. But in the silk of Chinese culture, I eat rice as my main diet, go to Chinese School every Sundays to learn the Chinese language and its history, and always travel back to Taiwan every summer to visit my Mandarin speaking relatives. Ironically, although I was intimately intertwined with the cultures, I did not consider language especially important in my life. I often questioned my mother when the time was to stop going to Chinese School and free up that time to do more things I was interested in. Because of my lack of interest in the Chinese language, my writing skills in Mandarin were only basic, and I frequently stumbled over my words when I spoke to my relatives. One day, though, I had read about the story of the Tower of Babel whilst researching for a class project. In the story, a united humanity that speaks one tongue decides to build a Tower to reach Heaven. In response, God punishes the arrogant people by releasing different languages in the world, so the peoples’ differences in tongues would prevent them from finishing the tower. This story caused me to realize that with communication and united languages, people can achieve great feats. It also made me think about a time in fifth grade when I helped out a Chinese transfer student. He had just moved from China to America and did not know how to speak English, and was very alone in the classroom. Because I knew how to speak his language, I was able to help him struggle through the new environment and accustom him to his surroundings. As I recall this event, I feel a certain pride for being one of the few that could act as a bridge between the two worlds. Swinging back and forth between the two cultures, I could learn and communicate concepts from the opposite world that the latter world may lack. I could dig deep into the libraries of culture presented to me with my knowledge of both languages and formulate new ideas with the fusion of the two cultures, or perspectives that may provide differences in opinion.

Language, being part of my cultural identity, will always remain one of my most important pieces of technology. I marvel at its innermost workings and its practicality, developed from thousands of years of ingenious engineering, and is also in awe of its legacy, a world of innovation with collaboration. I am now trying to weave a new pattern in my cloth of culture in learning yet another lingo, the French Language. With my efforts, I may succeed in becoming one who links the world a little more together.
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