Recently there's been some interesting discussion about representing Language as a living thing. This caught my interest and I thought I'd write a little bit about the theory and what it is based on.
All life works towards survival of their species. All life evolves to become more adapted to the environment, and therfore be the fittest. And in life it's all about the survival of the fittest. All life tries to reproduce.
Language is constantly changing. Some languages seem more fit to survive. Therefore daily languages cease to exist, while languages like English are currently being learnt by milions. English can be said to be reproducing, while a language like, say, Tocharian was not fit enough to survive.
I believe this is a very interesting thought. There's one thing about language though, that makes it maybe less alive than a human. Language is dependant on humans, to survive, to reproduce, and to adapt. Some have said that this would make language a parasitic life. I tend to disagree, and would rather call it a symbiont. Because not only does a language profit from us in his quest for survival, We also profit from language to survive.
Obviously language needs us for survival, while we only profit from language to be more succesful at surviving. So the symbiotic relationship isn't quite equal, but this is not necessarily a requirement to speak of such a relationship. Therefore it seems wrong to call language a true parasite.
Some people are currently probably screaming with anger, or annoyance about this view. You might want to define life as something that is only corporeal. In that case, language isn't very alive no. Or maybe you might think that life needs to have a conciousness, nevertheless I wouldn't consider a tree to be concious, or a bacteria, but they are most definitely alive.
The bottom line is, from a purely Darwinian view, I think language should be consider a living being.