What is Language?
Many unanswered questions on language have been asked. People would often correct themselves when they pronounce words in the wrong way or say a sentence in a structure they think is wrong. …
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This essay will look into Smith and Wilson’s theory of what a language is, and their arguments on the idea that language is rule-governed. What is a Language? There have been a number of definitions on what a language is and in each definition, there is an aspect that points out language is rule-governed. This is where Neil Smith and Deidre Wilson come in to justify the claim that language is governed by rules. Language uses the concept of grammar. Grammar is a set of rules whose main tasks are to separate grammatically from ungrammatical sentences and to provide a description of grammatical sentences. Individuals who are fluent in a particular language often correct themselves when they make mistakes in grammar while talking even when no one has corrected them (Smith and Deirdre 327). A language speaker will also feel and know when someone from a different language makes a mistake in grammar when trying to speak his language. For example, an American will feel and know the mistake when a German pronounces the word ‘what’ as ‘vat’. When two speakers of different dialects of the same language meet and talk, each will feel the other one is making grammatical mistakes in their sentences and would want to correct them but out of politeness will keep away from correcting the other. A speaker of British English will for example see a fault in a sentence like ‘I done gone to school’. He will feel like the sentence is supposed to be ‘I had gone to school’. The speaker of the other English dialect will similarly feel that the British English speaker’s sentence needs some correcting. This not only shows that languages have a set of rules that they follow but it also shows that these rules do differ (Smith and Deirdre 327). Rules can be created and operated by a single individual easily. There are two such instances in language. One of them is when children are learning how to speak and the case of grownups with idiosyncratic speech patterns. Kids learning their first language often make their own rules on how they pronounce the words and how their sentence structure should be. These rules are more often than not wrong according to the adults but to them they cannot be more right. An instance of such a grammar rule is when a child asks: mummy what that was? Instead of: mummy what was that? Adults on the other hand could have a difference in their linguistic rules (Smith and Deirdre 329). A sentence like ‘’what did you want to do before going out’’ might seem wrong to another individual. People who have also suffered a brain damage and consequently suffered aphasia or speech loss also fall in this category of creating their own rules. This results in the construction of sentences that are ungrammatical pronounce words in the wrong way (Smith and Deirdre 330). Rules’ patterns cannot be reversed and still have the same meaning. Sometimes they become meaningless when reversed. The same applies to language. A pattern of a sentence construction loses its meaning or becomes meaningless when changed. A sentence like ‘’we ate the food ourselves’’ when changed to ‘’ourselves ate the food we’’ it becomes meaningless though the words are still the same. Therefore, like rules, language pattern loses its meaning when changed (Smith and Deirdre 332). Like rules, language has a feature of being universal (Smith and Deirdre 337). There is a striking similarity in the language that cuts across all language patterns of the globe. The pattern of a sentence structure of different languages pointing out to the same thing will have almost of not exactly the same pattern when all of them are translated into one language. A sentence like “
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Name Professor’s Name Subject Date Language Introduction Language is a dynamic and living creature. Our lives are connected with it. We gain knowledge, share our experiences and develop our lives in terms of language. Language connects our lives and once this bound is violated, we come across a problem of a challenging choice: whether to live or not to live.
The story surrounds the detrimental effects of the colonial era. On the other hand, Baldwin’s story, written in 1979, reflects the role of Black English, a language developed by people of color in the American society. Both pieces of literature reveal the role of language.
My native tongue is Chinese, with English being my second language, so it is easy for me to understand how Rodriguez felt giving up the secrecy and intimacy that comes with speaking a language that others in your environment do not understand. However, learning English helped me expand my range of who I can be close to.
Grammar entails the descriptions of the rules governing a given language. Human beings have to learn such rules in order to facilitate effective communication. The rules differentiate grammatical and ungrammatical sentences while at the same time providing vivid descriptions of grammatical sentences, together with their pronunciation and meanings.
The understanding of language is further enhanced by definition given by G. Trager (1949) which emphasizes the relation of language to the total culture of society. He states that language should be understood in the point of view of the total culture of the community using it.
Regional differences have created languages such as German Sign Language (GSL), American Sign Language (ASL) and Australian Sign Language (AUSLAN) (Brauer 1). Regardless of region, the dominant features of sign languages are that they have manual and non-manual parameters, including; hand-shape, hand orientation, location, and motion (manual) and gaze, facial expression, mouth movements, position, and motion of the trunk and head (non-manual parameters).
This is because all languages are in constant state of flux, and this continuous change is the reason for dialects and even new languages. In monolingual societies people don't have much choice. But in some bilingual and multilingual situations, the language we choose is governed by social and economic factors.
Linguistically and culturally, however, complex variations exist since language has a great influence on culture and other languages could influence another (Andersen 1984). This idea, also known as the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, was proposed by the anthropologist Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf and states that linguistic structures may affect the some aspects of culture and society but could also work in reverse (Pfaff 1987).
To achieve this, it has embarked on the formulation of some standards for public health systems, which are then required to be applied by the public health providers, to ensure that the level of the services they provide to the patients as well as the
This paper examines the nature and extent of the relationship between the struggles over the English language and the struggles over national identity.
Since the advent of colonialism, the relationship between language, culture, and national identity has become more
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