F: No --that won't let me out of the difficulty. Because written words still have some sort of rhythm and they still have overtones. The point is that no mere words exist. There are only words with either gesture or tone of voice or something of the sort. But, of course, gestures without words are common enough.


D: Daddy, when they teach us french at school, why don't they teach us to wave our hands?
F: I don't know. I'm sure I don't know. That's probably one of the reasons why people find learning languages so difficult.


F: Anyhow, it is all nonsense. I mean, the notion that language is made of words is all nonsense --and when I said gestures could not be translated into "mere words", I was talking nonsense, because there is no such thing as "mere words". And all the syntax and grammar and all that stuff is nonsense. It's all based on the idea that "mere" words exist --and there are none.
D: But, Daddy...
F: I tell you --we have to start all over again from the beginning and assume that language is first and foremost a system of gestures. Animals after all have only gestures and tones of voice --and words were invented later. Much later. And after that they invented schoolmasters...

-Parte de uno de los Metalogues, de Bateson con su hija.