The Visual Language of Fairy-tales

Bare Essentials, June 18, 2017
Written by Kate Forsyth

Fairy-tales are as old as language itself.

Indeed, many linguistic scholars believe that language was invented simply so that humans could tell each other stories. Non-verbal communication is surprisingly effective, as anyone who has observed chimpanzees at the zoo can confirm. However, for humans to express more sophisticated ideas they needed a more subtle and complex form of communication. And so, about sixty thousand years ago, humans began telling each other stories.

‘With the invention of narrative, planning, storytelling … and the cultural transmission of knowledge all became possible’Professor Arnold Lewis Glass writes in Cognition: A Neuroscience Approach.

The purpose of these stories was manifold. On the one hand, they amused and entertained and brought comfort and consolation. On the other, they warned and enlightened and taught what was needed to be known.

Kate Forsyth
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