A short while ago I watched an old film on the television. I do not normally watch fiction films, as I prefer to spend that time on more fruitful pursuits, ones where I can see what I have achieved at the end of it. I suppose the answer to that is to write the dialogue down in shorthand, and maybe I will remember to do that next time*. However, the film was called One Million Years* BC and the characters did not have much of a language, apart from their names, a few simple commands and the names of the local marauding dinosaurs.
* Omission phrase "ne(k)s(t) time"
* "Million Years" Normally this could be phrased, but as it is a title, context would not help, and if phrased it could be mistaken for "millionaires"
The Rock Tribe were primitive, violent and vicious, and more than willing to kill each other, in order to* further their position of superiority, or just to gain another piece of the roasted meat dinner, which they fell upon and ate like snarling beasts. The more advanced Shell Tribe looked after each other, acting as a co-ordinated group, with orderly and civilised lives, having realised that this is the only way for all of them to survive the dangers of their harsh world. When they needed help or to locate each other, they summoned the others using a horn, clearly the very first* mobile phone, literally, as phone means sound.
* Omission phrases "in ord(er to)" "very (fir)st"
I particularly liked the scene where an old man in the Shell Tribe was teaching a crowd of children about the animals they hunt, and was illustrating with paintings of them on the cave wall. Obviously there was no escape from schooling even for those kids, although it would be of great practical interest to everyone as that knowledge provided their meat and clothing. Current theories generally seem to be on the lines that the depictions were used in pre-hunt rituals to gain spiritual mastery over the animals, to ensure a successful outcome.
The Shell Tribe’s life comes closest to the vicissitudes of the shorthand take, with its rapid changes from easy to hard, from safe to perilous, in a split second, and back again. Their life was almost like a seaside holiday, cavorting in the surf, easily spearing the fish, and at home shaking fruits from the tree and sitting around making shell necklaces. Then all of a sudden* a roaring and snapping allosaurus appeared on the scene and the happy relaxed atmosphere vanished in a moment. They had to summon up all their speed, presence of mind, ingenuity, quick thinking and courage. Of course the chap who had wandered in from the primitive Rock Tribe was the one with no fear of it, it was just another big dinner-to-be, and he used a large sharp-ended stake on which the dinosaur eventually impaled itself.
* Omission phrase "all (of a) sudden"
If you practise a one thousand word passage twice, and then take it from dictation, and do that every day for a year, in that time you will have written over a million words in shorthand. As you will be making full use of intelligent phrasing, you will of course have written much fewer than a million actual outlines. Lessons in survival tactics will be learned from the unrelenting attacks by the monsters of unknown words coming at you at ultra high speed, and the claws of the meat-eating pterodactyl will not carry you away to its rocky nest, never to be seen or heard of again. Having survived the encounter, you will put your Shell Tribe brain to work, to ensure that next time* you are even better prepared, no casualties occur and you can deal with everything decisively, and then afterwards resume your well- ordered, methodical, resourceful and creative life. (600 words)
* Omission phrase "ne(k)s(t) time"