The average IQ of the world population (which has always increased since after World War II, until the end of the 90’s) has decreased in the last twenty years…
It’s the reversal of the Flynn effect.
It seems that the level of intelligence measured by the tests decreases in most developed countries.
There can be many causes for this phenomenon and one of them may be language impoverishment.
In fact, several studies show a decrease in lexical and language knowledge impoverishment: it is not only the reduction of the vocabulary used, but also the linguistic subtleties that allow you to elaborate and formulate complex thoughts.
The gradual disappearance of times (subjunctive, imperfect, compound forms of the future, past participle) gives rise to a thought almost always in the present, limited to the moment: incapable of projections in time.
The simplification of tutorials, the disappearance of capital letters and punctuation are examples of “deadly blows” in precision and variety of expression.
Just one example: eliminating the word “senhorinha (lady)” (now obsolete) does not only mean giving up the aesthetic of a word, but also unwittingly promoting the idea that there are no intermediate phases between a girl and a woman.
Fewer words and fewer verbs conjugated means less ability to express emotions and less ability to process a thought.
Studies have shown that part of the violence in the public sphere and privateness stems directly from the inability to describe emotions in words.
Without words to make an argument, complex thinking becomes impossible. The poorer the language, the more thought disappears.
History is full of examples and many books (Georges Orwell -“1984”; Ray Bradbury – “Fahrenheit 451”) tells how all totalitarian regimes have always hindered thinking, reducing the number and meaning of words.
If there are no thoughts, there are no critical thoughts. And there is not a Wordless thought.
How to build a hypothetical-deductive thought without the conditional?
How to think about the future without a conjunction with the future?
How is it possible to capture a temporality, a succession of elements in time, past or future, and their relative duration, without a language that distinguishes between what could have been, what was, what is, what could be, and the what will be after, what may have happened, actually happened?
Dear Parents and Teachers: Let us make our children, our students speak, read and write. Teach and practice the language in its most diverse forms. Even if it looks complicated. Especially if it’s complicated. Because in that effort there is freedom.
Those who assert the need to simplify spelling, discard language of its “flaws”, abolish genres, times, nuances, everything that creates complexity, are the true architects of the impoverishment of the human mind.
There is no freedom without need.
There is no beauty without the thought of beauty.
Author: Christophe Clavé