ROBERT P. HUDSON, M.D.
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English, the richest of languages, constructs some 1 million words from a mere 40 sounds. From the same sounds, I am told, we could easily make a million more—a terrifying thought in many ways. Language generally is seen as man's chief advantage over what we called the lower animals before someone discovered that cockroaches likely would survive a nuclear holocaust that destroyed all of man's kind.
But language is not pure blessing. Aldous Huxley theorized that another characteristic unique to man—his periodic compulsion to slaughter large numbers of his kind—would not be possible without language (1). And indeed it is
HUDSON RP. Medical Writing and Webster's Third. Ann Intern Med. ;71:435–438. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-71-2-435
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1969;71(2):435-438.
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