• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

If Language isn't simply vocabulary, and isn't simply communication, how might you describe what it is (and how it works)?

Extracts from this document...


If Language isn't simply vocabulary, and isn't simply communication, how might you describe what it is (and how it works)? Language is the expression of human communication through which knowledge, belief, behaviour, and experience can be explained and shared. This sharing is based on systematic, conventionally used signs, sounds, gestures, or marks that convey understood meanings within a group or community. Humans express thoughts, feelings, and ideas orally to one another through a series of complex movements that alter and mould the basic tone created by voice into specific, decodable sounds. Speech is produced by precisely coordinated muscle actions in the head, neck, chest, and abdomen. Speech development is a gradual process that requires years of practice. Language is a defining and limiting set of words, symbols, sounds, gestures, or marks that are used to convey or transfer experiences. The use of language evokes many problems of knowledge that tie into the limits that it imposes on the transmission of an experience. Language limits the way in which an experience is conveyed in three ways. First, our thoughts are limited by our language. Secondly, language, in this context, does not limit, however, it shapes and moulds our interactions with other people. Lastly, language may act as a barrier to acquiring certain skills. All of these aspects must be addressed, while keeping the problems of knowledge that arise from language itself in mind. ...read more.


In the linguistic determinist's view, language would have to be derived from a source outside the human realm because thought is impossible without language and before language there would have been no thought. One final problem researchers have found with the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is Whorf's lack of empirical support for his linguistic insights. Whorf uses language nuances to prove vast differences between languages and then expects his reader to infer those differences in thought and behaviour. Another "property" of language is that it moulds and shapes the interactions of humans with other humans. Language is closely tied to ideas about human cognition and interaction with the world, and with others. The main idea behind this statement is that language itself is part of the experience, as pointed out by John Searle - a supporter of this notion. (Example goes here). In addition to that, all people are familiar with the feeling of not being understood. This is because nobody sees the world quite like ourselves, so in an abstract sense we are alone. It has been suggested, that we can link these experiences with one another, using language as a bridge. To some extent this must be true, however, it is not the language that we are interested in transferring, it is more the experience that we are trying to convey. It is only because the English language (or any language for that matter) ...read more.


Since everyone has their own thoughts, everyone has a different idea of the meaning of certain words. Language can affect all the areas of knowledge by the way they are conveyed to those trying to obtain the knowledge. For example, in the field of mathematics, one's mastery of a language, or lack thereof, can completely manipulate the concept that is at hand. However, language on the other hand, can benefit all the areas of knowledge. In the mathematics example, using universal mathematics symbols (or a separate language - mathematics) one can convey the exact meaning of the concept at hand. In conclusion, it is clear through the claims stated, and the supporting evidence that language is a defining and limiting set of words, symbols, sounds, gestures, or marks that are used to convey or transfer experiences. There are many of problems of knowledge that arise with language, but that is the case when examining any way of knowing. In addition to this, it has a significant effect on areas of knowledge, as a result of these problems of knowledge; however, once again such is the case with any way of knowing. The flaws inherent in language are the same in all ways of knowing, however, it can be ascertained, that language imposes many limiting factors on the way one conveys their experience to another. 1 This example was taken from: Alchin, Nicholas. Theory of Knowledge. John Murray, London (2003) (Page 205) 2 Alchin (221) 3 Personal experience 4 Alchin (206) ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Language: Context, Genre & Frameworks section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Language: Context, Genre & Frameworks essays

  1. Investigation into Gender Differences in the Language of Personal Profiles on Dating Websites

    20% of men said it was something they looked for in a partner. It is a common stereotype that women are not as funny as men, and one of Lakoff's assumptions about women's language was that they do not tell jokes as well as men, or understand punchlines.

  2. In what ways might language be used as an instrument of oppression?

    If a hit-and-run driver kills her, the charge is 'manslaughter.' If she is injured on the job, the coverage is 'workmen's compensation.' But if she arrives at a threshold marked 'Men Only,' she knows the admonition is not intended to bar animals or plants or inanimate objects.

  1. How do Politicians gain support through language? AQA English coursework

    Each tends to use complex sentences to give the audience more information on a particular issue. * I also noted that many of the linguistic features were used to similar effects by pairings of the politicians at different points in the speeches depending on their aims at that point.

  2. The topic of religious language has many facets for exploration. The area of research ...

    5 /now whilst a lot of the (.) particular points/ /of detail (.) that we have here (.) applied only to the first/ /generation of those disciples (.) yet we can say that the principles/ /that have been established here (.) are to be taken seriously by/ /Christ's church (.)

  1. A one to one interaction with an elderly woman Aunty Emily to try through ...

    In care settings, care practitioners need to use eye contact properly when interacting with service users, colleagues, or relatives. Eye contact can be used to let some one know that you wish to talk to them. However this can be influenced by their cultural background.

  2. Themes, motifs, and symbols.

    his maternal ancestors, but he keeps reminding himself that his maternal kinsmen are not as warlike and fierce as he remembers the villagers of Umuofia to be. He faults them for their preference of negotiation, compliance, and avoidance over anger and bloodshed.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work