I think that, in a huge way, Keller did experience the “birth of language.” It’s made clear between the selection we read and the video Dr. Martinek shared that Keller’s understanding of the world shifted suddenly with her understanding of water. Before she understood language, she could not symbolically differentiate “mug” and “water;” but after she recognized the difference, she was able to perceive the world differently. The follows in line with Langer’s statement that without language “anything properly called ‘thought’ is impossible.” This is most strikingly expressed in her regret over breaking the doll; prior to her comprehension of symbolism, she hadn’t felt anything.
I found it interesting that Keller recognized that everything had a name, but that the name was not the thing itself. For her, it seems, language simply allowed for comprehensive thoughts. This falls into Hayakawa’s discussion of the two worlds we live in; throughout her early childhood, Keller existed only in the “world of happenings” with no solid way of sorting through information. Her sudden understanding of symbols and recognition that everything has a name allowed her to not only make sense of her immediate surroundings, but to also be exposed to what Hayakawa describes as the “verbal world.”
As an aside: Langer makes the statement that “man has elaborated this sort of communion to the point where it makes a perfect exchange of ideas possible.” It seems worth arguing that we are far from “perfect” in our use of language. Certainly, we can express ideas more efficiently than animals, language allows us to express emotions without physically expressing them; however, it has its limits and its flaws.