Words: Neurology and Language

An Exploration of Connection

Yesterday I posted about syllables, and I’d like to follow that post up because I actually wrote it a while ago, and as we progress, we learn, and something struck me while I was editing the post for this atmosphere.

There is a type of closeness between the way in which we organize language, and the way in which we perceive our bodies to function. At least, this is true in English. I’m not a Linguist, I don’t know if this is true for other cultures, but it seems to hold true for English.

Just as we have one controlling body part, the brain, which runs all of our other functions, albeit subconsciously most of the time, so too do we organize our language. In a sentence, we have a root, a base, that solid unit which has something happen to it, such as a nerve, which has chemicals which then make it respond.

The chemicals are like our predicates/subjects, and the nerves are our subjects. Sometimes, our subjects are dipped into our predicates, and sometimes our predicates are applied to our subjects, but either way, we get the two of them together. It struck me because of the name of a core of a syllable, nucleus.

The nucleus of the body is that part which controls the rest of the cell. Now, I’m not saying that the two are backwards related, I’m not saying the name nucleus for the cell came before nucleus for the syllable, or that nucleus was the name of the cell before it was the name for the core of anything else, such as a family group. I just, find it interesting that we assign the same name to both things.

As an English speaker, I see this happen all the time. The legs of a tripod, the arms of glasses, and so on, but the idea that the scientific pursuit of understanding language would overlap with understanding the body surprised me for some reason. Nucleus, next to onset and coda, just feels wrong. It’s like Nucleus should have been subject, or base or something, root even, but nucleus?

The nucleus and the coda of a syllable create the rhyme/rime.

The nucleus and extra bits of a cell are contained within the cytoplasma.

If we were to extrapolate from that, we could say that the extra bits of a cell are considered the coda. The cytoplasma would be the rhyme, and the cell wall or membrane would be the onset.

Here’s the fun bit.

That means that all cells which are composed the same, rhyme with one another whether they are shaped exactly the same or not. As long as their inner bits line up/are the same, they rhyme! All of our skin cells, our blood cells, our family cells, which are composed of the same ingredients, despite how they look on the outside, rhyme.

That means you and your full blood siblings rhyme because you’re both composed of the same DNA. The memories might be different, the shell might be different, but you are composed of the same thing.

You could even say that you rhyme with people who have the same life experiences.

The idea of oneness, of two out of three parts being the same as other people has always been a fascination of the human condition. We are drawn towards people who are similar to us, who like the same things we do, who love the same things we do. All we have to do is look at fandoms to understand that, and what makes a fandom great, is when it can interact with a counterpart fandom which is minutely different.

When Sherlock interacts with Dr. Who, or Supernatural, we see the growth of the one through the unity of the two.

Just like the word Defibrillate becomes more when paired with Extrapolate or Exfoliate, so too do we grow when we are in harmony with those around us, but when we are not the same.

This world is full of broken puzzle pieces
and we have no box to tell us where to go,
just gooey balls of guesses
sliding by one another
searching for our place.


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