I made the most amazing discovery on this vacation to Costa Rica. Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of playing poker at the Adelante Hotel with several locals, including four Estonians. The Estonians built and run this particular hotel along the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. During the game, there was Spanish, English, and Estonian spoken interchangeably throughout the night. After 4-5 hours and 5-6 rums I actually thought I was picking up on the lingo that is indigenous north of Latvia and south of Finland in the country called Estonia.
But then today, I was listening and trying to converse with my 2-year old grandson, who says some words an adult speaker of English would recognize, but mostly it is a hodge-podge of words and sounds that make no sense to me whatsoever. He is obviously sure of what he is saying, and it is frustrating for him to get little or no reaction from most adults when he blathers.
My grandson was in the pool and I was sitting nearby when I decided to talk to him in unknown words to me, but what sounded to me a lot like the language I had listened to for hours at the Texas hold'em showdown at the Adelante. To my surprise, my grandson lit up like a candle, began gesticulating to me from the pool, and vocalizing loudly, and had an expression on his face that said "finally, someone understands me". I believe he even winked knowingly at me, although at his age a gas-induced grimace looks about the same as a wink. We jabbered back and forth for 5-10 minutes before it occurred to me. He was speaking Estonian!
I had discovered the solution for which linguists had been searching for centuries. All human babies, whether from Africa, or South America, or the Bronx are born speaking Estonian. It is only after years of hearing the language of the country into which they are born that they forget the beautiful tongue that comes so naturally to them and they struggle to begin speaking French, or Russian, or English. Estonian babies, of course, do not have to learn to switch to another language. The young people I played poker with spoke at least three languages. Of course they do, they did not have to start all over at age two by abandoning one language they already knew.
Did you ever wonder why babies enjoy the company of other babies so much? They usually love going to some kind of child care and seeing others of their ilk. It is because they can, at last, converse with someone in this world. I am sure they talk over issues important to them about their home lives---whether they like strained peas or carrots, whether they need to wear those papery diapers as much as their parents think they do, or whether being the middle child is really so bad. Just think if Estonians opened up child care centers all over the world. There would be a flow of information between the adult and the baby generations the likes of which humans have never seen. The only danger might be that non-Estonian babies would never want to give up the language that already works for them. But perhaps, in time, seven billion people would be united under one language.
I think the solution to world peace, for achieving personal harmony in one's life, and for eliminating all sorts of interpersonal problems might be alleviated if we all learned to speak Estonian. We would instantly find an ancient connection, and a personal familiarity, that goes back to the cradle or even the womb. The world would be as one mass of contented 2-year olds who all speak the same language. It would have to lead to a general feeling of well-being in the world. Can you imagine a group of 2-year olds telling each other they are going to nuke Juan, or embargo Jana, or prevent Jane from joining the United Nations? Of course not. So get out that Rosetta Stone cd of the Estonian language and start studying for world peace, verb by conjugated verb.