Until we reduce the language…

We shall never understand one another until we reduce the language to seven words.

Khalil Gibran (1883 โ€“ 1931)

32 thoughts on “Until we reduce the language…”

  1. I wonder which 7 words he meant? I listened to a podcast about a woman who had a severe stroke and woke with only 40 words. But they were completely unrelated to each other. She said it was so peaceful. But another woman (different podcast) tried to discover the minimum number of words needed to make a language function. It was about 120 I think. But while it functioned it was impossible to express anything subtle or complex. But perhaps Mr Gibran was commenting on the capacity of the human brain to accept what we hear?? Not sure.

    1. I’ve been thinking about it… some simple words like ‘yes’ and ‘no’ could be conveyed with body language… so what are the basic concepts that we need verbal language to express?

      1. I don’t think he can have meant it literally. Aren’t we so proud that we can communicate more subtly than other species? My dog knows more than 7 words… English words that is.

  2. Very cool thought by a wonderful poet. After my mom died, I found Kahlil Gibran’s book The Prophet in my parent’s library, read it on the plane home… very beautiful, including in terms of layout, and with drawings. Basically says it all, in short format ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ’— (but not seven words ;)) xoxo

      1. And I don’t mean universal language, like Esperanto; I think he means universal words that are the same in every language. That’s an interesting concept.

        1. It’s a thought experiment for me ๐Ÿ™‚

          I’m now actually considering writing some poem with only seven words to see how it comes out.


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