4) Sound Investigation: Sound Ideas #1

Gibberish. It is an unintelligible or meaningless language. So why is it that we use it? I for one don’t know why people would commit their time to try and make sense of random sounds which in the end, aren’t supposed to make any sense at all. Yet, one major fact that I found interesting, after listening to Stephen Fry’s, “The Joy of Gibberish,” was that a baby’s mother tongue starts off as gibberish. The first few sounds, mama, dada, or papa, are all terms that are gibberish. When babies have a conversation with each other, we say they’re talking, and yet, they’re actually speaking gibberish. Fry had explored the sensation of gibberish, what it was and is, why we write, speak and sing it, and why we truly find it quite enjoyable. His motive for this project was to try and find a meaning to something that is meant to be something meaningless. This is quite clear towards the end of his podcast.

Something that I honestly did not think about was the show Teletubies being spoken in Gibberish. Throughout my whole childhood life, even after learning English, I’ve watched that show numerous of times, and until Stephen Fry had stated that they spoke gibberish, it had not crossed my mind. I found that very surprising, and quite hilarious actually. One would just assume that sound refers to small noises made by people, animals, or things, but even languages like gibberish is a type of sound. I never knew how gibberish could be so significant and still have no meaning at the same time. Stephen stated that “true gibberish should not have meaning and, what might be gibberish to someone might just be someone else’s native language.” Personally, I always thought Gibberish was used when people wanted to communicate without the others around them understanding what it was that they were saying. In the beginning it stated, “Please don’t stretch your pigeon-hole of a mind to understand what these words really are,” which basically just meant, don’t hurt yourself trying to understand gibberish, but instead just enjoy it for the sounds that are made. Stephen also suggests the difference between gibberish and complete nonsense is that nonsense may have a logical and hidden meaning but gibberish does not have any of that. It is merely an imitation of sounds.

Last but not least, the ending where Fry made clear of his point in a not so clear way amused me greatly. “Gibberish is a universal language, spoken by many, recognized by all and understood by none. Gibberish is literate and illiterate, it hints at beauty and truth. Gibberish speaks to our being.”





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