The living language is like a cowpath: it is the creation of the cows themselves, who, having created it, follow it or depart from it according to their whims or their needs. From daily use, the path undergoes change. A cow is under no obligation to stay – E. B. White
I never attested to the belief that language originated abruptly; or that the complex formation of a group of characters was planted into existence. It had to have evolved gradually, had to have become simpler, yet complicated at the same time as it got used broadly. As Ralph Waldo Emerson had aptly put it, “language is a city to the building of which every human being brought a stone”. This is true not just for English but for every other language in use today.
And yet the exact origins of language as a notion are yet unknown. This issue features some insightful essays that attempt to decipher and explain the past, present and the future of this complex obscurity.