भाषा: हिन्दी

What is Language? – We are all insiders

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We are all insiders to language, so for many purposes, we have the right to take this term for granted. For instance, we all know English. Yet, English is not spoken the same way In Glasgow as it is in say Jamaica. There are no single forms of speech or writing for ‘English’ instead there are many ‘Englishes’.

““We must, in reality, distinguish as many languages as there are individuals” (Hermann Paul, 1880).

Linguists are often asked just how many languages there are. The answer they give tends to centre on around 5000 to 6000. Definitions of languages can vary from one country to another.

“A language is a dialect with an army and a navy” (Max Wenreich, 1945).

It is best not to worry too much about what we call things; both dialect and language are terms applied to ways of speaking we perceive as different. So, in reality, how many languages are there?

In conclusion, everyone speaks a language in a different way. It could be argued that every human being on earth has their own language, but the differences are small so communication is still possible. Language, therefore, is the general structure of words and sounds that are commonly understood by speakers of the language.

I did not mean it like that! Language at its best (or worst).

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Language works in many ways and what someone says may well not truly get to the core of their true meaning or the point they were trying to get across while at the same time the receiver is stumped or takes offense. In the piece of writing, I will try to explain that the English language has many meanings, descriptions, and stumblings that we wonder how someone was actually trying to make their point and did they (or others)really know what they were saying.

In a famous Bertrand Russell’s sentence construction, we can see that we do not hold consistent opinions on facts. On a BBC program in the 1940s, Russell conjugated an “irregular verb” as “I am firm; you are obstinate; he is a pig-headed fool.” These constructions provide excellent illustrations of the varying emotional associations of words and the empathy of meaning.

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What Russell was illustrating was the power of words to convey attitudes (connotations) as well as meanings (denotations).

Moreover, think about the following statements and how they convey their meanings: I am sexually adventurous, you are promiscuous, he is a slut.

We recognise connotation as ‘the emotional implications and associations that a word may carry’ and denotation as ‘the direct or dictionary meaning of a word’.

Dog = man’s best friend (connotation)

Dog = four legged animal (denotation)

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