if this planet of ours referred to as earth had no human phrases being spoken on it right now, what form of planet would it not be? or, if we rewind the clock to the distant beginnings when there were yet no human phrases being spoken upon its face, what sort of planet was it? or, moreover, if we speedy-ahead to a future millennium while there might be no human words still being spoken upon its face, what changed planet will earth have come to be?
with due humility, i recollect that the mother of science and technology changed into duly named – as language – by using manner of answering the above questions in my inaugural lecture, entitled ‘a wordless international’, 40 years in the past, i.e. in 1982, following my appointment by using makerere college to the position of professor of literature.
it was and still is the exercise that within 12 months of being appointed to the chair of an educational branch, the relevant professor had to deliver his/her inaugural lecture on a topic of intellectual and professional interest regarding which the professor takes a selected stand and carefully defends it. in different words, it’s far a public pronouncement on what a specific professor specially professes approximately his/her precise instructional engagement.
as a starting point, i imaginatively recreated the prehistoric situation in which authentic man to begin with invented or evolved human speech; and having accomplished that, he used language to itemise and call his world – and in so doing he hooked up mastery over it and have become its governor. superseding the usage of gestures, verbal communication consequently became the mother of all factors of human development – from the invention of fireplace, to the invention of the wheel, to the complicated achievements of contemporary science and era.
with particular attention on uganda, i talked about to my target market that inside the first actual decade of our county’s acquisition of political independence, there had already emerged unwell-knowledgeable and crude voices advocating for giving priority to “tractor drivers over shakespeare” inside the all-crucial matter of country wide making plans and development.
the “tractor drivers over shakespeare” perception changed into articulated by using a real and known respectable within the ministry of education which turned into on the time headed by means of dr js luyimbazi-zake. “tractor drivers” changed into shorthand for palms-on and machine-assisted pastimes, while “shakespeare” stood for the arts and arts and foreignness.
fifty years on, the presumed superiority of science over the humanities is being pushed by means of none aside from the highest single voice inside the land, to the effect that one technological know-how instructor is nearly as precise as 10 arts instructors, and that their respective remunerations must mirror this equation. a science-based economy indeed!
returned to 40 years ago: the point became made in my inaugural lecture that simply as there’s technology and implemented technological know-how or era, so is there language and applied language. when language is applied creatively or imaginatively to express greater than commonplace truth, the end result is certainly what literature is. but literature does no longer stand by myself in expressing human values of the spirit that don’t want technology laboratory experiments to vindicate their reality. it’s far a sister subject in the intellectual and expert hobbies known as arts and humanities.
the opposite point became that perhaps the sector became getting to a degree while phrases ought to give up being the standard mode of human verbal exchange. that maybe we had been dwelling at the verge of a submit-verbal age within the history of the arena, whilst man have to come of age and get on to digitalised, codified, and wordless sorts of conversation.
the worst alternative to the above scenario might be that guy, having grown deaf to the innovative, redemptive phrase of poet and prophet – will (in a word through the poet dennis brutus) blow up this earth in “one incandescent flash”…
and whereas within the starting was the phrase, and the word become with man; if ultimately there has been no phrase, and no word become and not using a guy – what a silent, wordless international that would be!