This question forms a part of the dialogue in an old Malayalam movie. It was asked with the innocence of a child by a child. It did make me wonder why I never questioned my teacher the same way!
If we look into the history of evolution of language, I am sure we would find out about the origin of each and every spoken language in this world. The common thing among these languages, I am sure, would be the fact that it evolved from the human need to communicate effectivelywithout the use of hand gestures. What this implicates is that the written language came in later after the advent of Grammar and Pronunciation. This indicates that the need for a perfect language, its grammar and its punctuations evolved from the need to communicate more effectively through a written medium. This also, probably, explains why there are a whole of exceptions in languages.
I can speak in four languages, I can read and write in four and I can understand at least three more. Most of these languages are Indian, and I am sure I will be able to communicate with people from most parts of India. Of course with the additional help of sign language and gestures. With a little bit of French I picked up from my kids and from my visit to Paris, I am sure I can survive in most parts of Europe. A little Spanish is what I intend to learn next, to cover the American Continents. But of course, I would never be able to master any of them. In fact, I have not even studied my own Mother Tongue as a subject in School!
A language needs to be understood. Anything else that gets done with a language is purely for the purpose of a “Showcase”. The beauty of the language is more often understood by the way the words are pronounced. Some additions and subtractions in these languages by different communities give rise to dialects or the colloquial form of a language. Most people can be identified by the way they speak a particular language. I am sure this exists in forms of English or French or Spanish. There may be a variety of dialects for them too. If we learn the language, we generally tend to learn it based only on its written text.
There is something I heard a long time ago, that keeps coming back to me each time I try to learn something new. Someone had once told me that anything new that we need to learn, whether it be a language or a sport should be done before the age of 10. Of the many explanations that I have come up with for this particular statement, is that, the body undergoes a whole lot of changes after the age of 10. The concentration level decreases and the capacity to take in data reduce drastically. This theory probably explains why it is easier for adults after a certain age to concentrate more. They are fully developed, they have a family and they have finally settled down in their lives. The apprehensions regarding their future no longer exist. Of course, this is replaced, not in full, by the worry about their children.
If I were to redo my Engineering course now, I am sure I would manage to score much higher than I did back then. I am sure that if I plan to study a new language or sport today, I would be able to pick it up much faster than I used to. I have seen a banner on my way home yesterday regarding cooking classes. I am seriously thinking of joining it. I know only the colloquial form of Kerala cooking; I want to learn its original textbook version too.