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Evaluate Ezra Pound's claim that "no single language is capable of expressing all forms and degrees of human comprehension".

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Introduction

Evaluate Ezra Pound's claim that "no single language is capable of expressing all forms and degrees of human comprehension". Language is the systematic means of communicating ideas or feelings by the use of conventionalized signs, sounds, gestures, or marks having understood meanings.1 Language allows us to express ourselves in such a way that other people can understand us. However, there are many limitations on how far it can actually be used in order for us to be able to communicate our thoughts and emotions to other people exactly as we understand or feel it. We are forced to reduce the fullness of all that we are experiencing to only a few words and gestures. Ludwig Wittgenstein had introduced the idea of a "private language"2, which would refer to the speaker's own, private sensations and experiences, and can only be known to the speaker himself. However, he concludes that for a language to be unintelligible to anyone but its originating user is impossible. Our sensations can be expressed through words. ...read more.

Middle

There are restrictions on how much can be communicated and by trying to express ourselves through language, we would have to make a compromise between what we mean and what can be said. In language, a particular word may be used to express a range of ideas. Its meaning would depend on the context in which it is being used. The word "to", for example, has at least eight different meanings and each differs according to the context. For words such as good, nice, bad, their meaning would mainly be relative. It would depend on the context but what I perceive to be "nice" would also influence my use and understanding of it. "Today is a nice day", "It would be nice if...", "That is a nice way of putting it", "We had a nice time", "He is a very nice boy". In these sentences, the word "nice" is used in different contexts, and its exact meaning varies with each one. ...read more.

Conclusion

Therefore, my perception of what the person said, would not be what he/she meant to say. I may believe that I understand what I think the person said, but I may not realize that what I heard is not what the person meant. We cannot express our thoughts and feelings without the possibility of other people interpreting our expressions in a different way. We are experiencing so many new things even in our everyday lives. For us to be able to express them exactly as we have experienced them, would be quite impossible. With the limitations and restrictions that language can impose, and with the endless forms and degrees of human comprehension, it would stand to reason that for us to express ourselves, we would have to limit our thoughts to the words available and therefore, lose the original meaning. Thus, no single language will ever be capable of explicitly expressing and communicating human comprehension. "The tragedy of our age is the awful incommunicability of souls." W. O. ...read more.

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