Intergenerational Transmission of Skills

Written by Dyami Millarson

Language eases the intergenerational transmission of skills. Observing and imitating may be valid wats to transmit many skills, but language alters the game. Without language, complex sets of skills that are required for modern human existence would be impossible to transmit. Moreover, language makes it much easier to keep certain skills alive for many generations. Language has enabled humams to achieve more efficient intergenerational transmission, and therefore humans are more adaptive due to possessing language.

Language enables us to transmit complex knowledge for generations and it enables us to prevent loss of complex knowledge. It must be concluded from this that language is the ultimate tool of transmission and conservation, without which modern civilisation and even complex human existence from thousands of years ago would be entirely impossible. Language is the condicio sine qua non for humanity.

With merely oral language, it is possible that knowledge may still be lost. However, since the invention of written language, knowledge lasts much longer and even if lost temporarily, can wait for centuries or even millennia to be rediscovered, depending on the material used to write on. Moreover, since the invention of internet language, knowledge has become much more accessible than ever before. We can see how language evolved from pre-literary to literary, and eventually from pre-online to online. The internet has proved to be the next upgrade for writing. While people mainly used physical material to write in the past, they can enter written words into the digital reality of computers nowadays.

As I am writing this on WordPress, I am making use of the miracle of the next (r)evolution for human language. Endangered languages must have their own written system so they can be shared online as well in the same way that English is being shared online. Literary development must precede online development. It may require some ingenuity to adopt an existing writing system, such as the Roman script, to an unwritten language, but it will hugely pay off for doing so, since when it has a written form, it will be easier to share online. The adoption of endangered languages online may help prevent the loss of human skills.

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