There are about 7000 languages spoken in the world, remarkably diverse, but with deep similarities that many (most?) linguists believe are genetically based. Certainly, children learn to speak without being taught, something no chimp can do, and genes have been identified with certain language deficits. But the mystery of how thoughts get converted into meaningful strings of spoken or written words remains to be unraveled. Live scans show the brain lighting up like a Christmas tree when we express a thought. Goggle that last sentence and see how long it takes Google to index it.
If you want to appreciate the virtually infinite diversity of language, consider just this one stanza from Robert Pinsky's poem Jersey Rain:
The Jersey rain, my rain, soaks all as one:List those seven towns in any other order and you haven't changed the semantics, but you will certainly have changed the magical thing Pinsky is doing with words -- the end rhymes, the internal rhymes. Let those syllables roll off the tongue and you'd be reasonable to guess that you are tapping into brain structures that have to do with music too. We are a ways here from "One fish two fish red fish blue fish," but just watch those lights flashing in that astonishing few pounds of meat that is the human brain.
It smites Metuchen, Rahway, Saddle River,
Fair Haven, Newark, Little Silver, Bayonne.
I feel it churning even in fair weather...
(BTW, in case you didn't know, this site or any site can be Google searched with this format: site:www.sciencemusings.com "search term")