The nature of language by a. sosal a.


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An attempt to discover the nature of language from a linguistic point of view. It consists of: what is language? what is a language? language structure and language use.

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  • Gods Dictionary book published on
    A Complete Analysis of World’s Languages
    तुझा देवत्व-योद्यामध्ये भरतीचा सीधासाधा राजमार्ग
    O! Earth Habitats, Learn Gods’ & goddesses’ own Maratha Language & Grammar. After Learning/ Knowing Gods Own Language, Anyone Can Understand, Any Unknown Foreign Language Of This Universe.So Henceforth No Need to Learn That Perticular Language.After Refering The GodsDictionary No Need To Purchase or Refer Any Other Languages Dictionaries.Books or Borrow Any Transliteration/Transcription Services Any More.Thus Save Your Lot of Money,Energy Headeach & Invaluable Time.Since The GodsDictionary Also Teaches You The Gods/goddesses Own Universal Single & Only One Maratha/Marathi Language, Made For The One Universe.So Just Throw Away All Worlds Danavic Languages Dictionaries Books And All Foreign Languages Learning Books Into DustBin.Do Not Attend Foreign Languages Learning Cources.SINCE NOW GODS/goddesses OWN LANGUAGE HAS NOW ARRIVED FOR OUR ONLY ONE UNIVERSE.The Universe Is One So The Language Is One Accommodating All Worlds Languages All Scripts At The Same Time.THE WORLD IS ALREADY HAVING ONE COMMON GODS MARATHA LANGUAGE PLATFORM.
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  • The Worlds most ancient scripts and Alphabets invented and brought by the God Maratha Warriors from the world of Gods and goddesses to this planet Earth. The incident happens when Dragon ions (mixture of human & Dragon) were ruling on this planet Earth. The dragons were egg layers. Afterwards the dragon ions came. (Some dragon ions were mammals while some were egg layers).
    Afterwards the Human beings brought to this planet Earth by the Maratha Warrior Gods. The Maratha warriors were in dragon, dragon ion form in those days and were speaking the Marathi Language in those ancient days. Human and dragon ions and dragons were mating each other.
    At the prior stage, the human children and women were brought up by the Dragons and Dragon ion communities.
    The Maratha Gods, goddesses, and teleported from heaven to Earth in the shape of invented the first packet of men and women. l., that time every dragon ions shouted .alla, alla. Means O there came the packet of man to earth. Later came women packet in the shape of .i. means. Aai aali. means the mother packet came. Afterwards many men and women packets came.
    For the human the process stopped then the dragon ions told to Maratha Gods and goddesses in Marathi. The alphabet .L. pronounce is .Aale. means O Gods and goddesses all the packets of men and women came to the earth successfully.
    Later on the alphabets came written on the wings of various insects and the pronunciation of each alphabet made by various accompanying birds to teach the human being the alphabet and its pronunciations by the Almighty Maratha Gods
    The processes of arrival of the packets from heaven of different animals and different species are still going on. But the human beings became greedy danav does not notice them.
    That is why the Maratha Gods and goddesses do not inform their activities to human. For the Devs and devis who ever became greedy those people automatically become their enemies (danavs).
    Since the devs and danavs are born enemies of each others. So due to excessive greediness, the human beings have cut off from God and goddesses and turned themselves into danav. Therefore, the human beings are their enemies due to the same reason The Devs and Devis do not keep inform their activities to human.
    In the coming future, please expect a species of intelligent animals looking much similar to human. but they are not humans but they are maratha Devs and Marathi Devis. The Devs & Devis survive only on human flesh (cannibals) shall be coming from heaven to earth, to kill eat and wipe out the greedy human (danav).The first batch of Devs and Devis shall be arriving in Maharashtra very soon.
    Only survive those who learn the God Marathi language and speaks devs Marathi (rural Marathi with Urdu blend) on the planet earth.
    Those who speaks danav Marathi or Vedic Marathi or punery Marathi or urban Marathi also shall not going to survive on this planet.
    Since Maratha God and goddesses are very strict, very ardent followers of Marathi language. The Devs & devis take very serious about which language you speak.
    Sunil Maruti
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The nature of language by a. sosal a.

  1. 1. 2011 Ahmed Sosal A. Department of Linguistics University of Khartoum 10/25/2011
  2. 2. 1 The Nature of Language Ahmed Sosal A. Introduction Any language speaker knows something about his/her language, but it is difficult for language speaker to tell us what language is. This is according to Harris 1980. This make it evidence that the access to the inner knowledge about the language is not an easy task despite our competence in language(s) and its importance for our mental and social life. Such a task requires following certain systems in order to discover, describe and analyze the underlying rules that control any language. This led to the emergence of language theory or model which is sentence to test like any other theory. Reasons of studying language First, is to discover about the world around us and it is considered to be a continuum for our natural desire to know more about ourselves. Second, the importance of linguistics (which is known as the study of language) which has a wide variety of practical applications in our everyday life issues in one of its branches known as applied linguistics. Such as language teaching, forensic linguistics (It is used in the criminal investigations), speech therapy, natural language processing by computers and translation. The third reason is learning language in order to control their speaking and writing more effectively. As well as to be aware of what is known as critical language study ( the use of language to achieve certain goals which can be against our will as the language used by advertisers, politicians, and employers). What is ‘language’? There are three different interesting views on what is language is? (SILL International, 1999) 1- Communicative view of language: The communicative or functional view of language is the view that language is a vehicle for the expression of functional meaning. The semantic and communicative dimensions of language are more emphasized than the grammatical characteristics, although these are also included.
  3. 3. 2 The Nature of Language Ahmed Sosal A. 2- The structural view of language: The structural view of language is that language is a system of structurally related elements for the transmission of meaning. These elements are usually described as  phonological units (phonemes)  grammatical units (phrases, clauses, sentences)  grammatical operations (adding, shifting, joining or transforming elements)  lexical items (function words and structure words) 3- The interactional view of language: The interactional view of language sees language primarily as the means for establishing and maintaining interpersonal relationships and for performing social transactions between individuals. The word ‘language’ involves many aspects of human and animal communication (such as the language of bees, body language etc).  Verbal communication: It describes language as a mechanism for conveying meaning which operates independently of other means of human communication (e.g. gesture) and differ from animal communication.  Non-verbal communication: It includes body movement, facial expression and other non-verbal phenomena are part of the complex progress of human communication. Semiotic theory This theory elaborated what language description can involve as it includes cultural and social behavior (such as the choice of the clothes, or the architectural design) which considered as a signifying practices and analyzed as same as verbal language. Linguistic discipline Linguistics is usually known as the science of language. “One way to understand the difference is to contrasts the scientific study of language with the humanistic approach, since the goals and methods of these two kinds of study are
  4. 4. 3 The Nature of Language Ahmed Sosal A. so different. Most of the traditional approaches to language have been humanistic in the sense that establishing human values has been its goal” (Dinneen1967:5). Finally, it should be evidence that the traditional approach of description has proved to be dissatisfactory to the linguists because of the deficiencies in its method that led to a lack of precision. Consequently, language has been treated as a system of logic explicable in terms of mathematical principles; as a computer program requires specific kind of input to yield an output after processing. Some characteristics of language According to the experience, in order to arrive at an accurate description of language there are several characteristics of language are to be considered. These characteristics are as follows (Ibid, p. 6-10): Language is sound This statement point out the primacy of the languages sounds over the other representations in writing which are regarded as secondary phenomenon of speech. For instance, all traditional orthographies and letters used in common alphabets, such as the familiar Roman alphabet, represents different sounds in different languages. Such a claim that language is sound, prove the fact that all human beings produce speech sound with the same equipment (By the movement of the speech organs). Language is linear This is a fundamental feature of spoken language. That we can represent language by using symbols for each sound and arrange them in a linear succession similar to the sounds production order. This ordering of symbols could be left-to- right (e.g. English) or right-to-left (e.g. Arabic) according to the language writing system. Language is systematic Although stating that language linear which permit a combination of symbols together but not all the possible combinations of symbols (sounds) is
  5. 5. 4 The Nature of Language Ahmed Sosal A. possible. This is what makes language systematic, means it is describable in terms of finite number of units that can combine only in a limited number of ways. Due to that, terms such as sound system, grammatical system etc. emerged as part those terms used in describing and comparing languages. Language is system of systems Each language has phonological (or sound) system and a grammatical system. Each one has its units and rules of possible combination and order. Language is a system of systems; all of which operates simultaneously, but the distinctions we make it for the sake of analysis, the units and combinatory rules prober to each. Language is meaningful It is principally through the acquisition of language that the child becomes an effective member of the community, and the leaders in a community preserve and advance their leadership largely through their ability to communicate with people through language. Language is arbitrary This refers to the idea that the conditions required for the existence of more than one language: that there be no direct necessary connection between the nature of things or ideas language deals with and the linguistic units and combinations by which these things or ideas are expressed. Language is conventional The use and formation of linguistic units is so regular that these units almost seem to be employed according to agreement among the speakers. So language can be said to be conventional as a consequence of this apparent agreement. Language is a system of contrasts What makes single speaker’s habit valid for the speech of a community is that language is a system of differences.
  6. 6. 5 The Nature of Language Ahmed Sosal A. Language is creative Language can be used to create a new world through the imaginative manipulation of the standard interlocking of the phonological, grammatical and lexical systems poets and creative writers or speakers which extend our awareness of possible relations among things. Language is unique Since languages are arbitrary, systematic networks of contrasts, each language can be said to be unique. Languages are similar All the languages have certain features in common. This characteristic opens the possibility of language learning although some languages are very different from each other the common features help in language learning process. What is ‘a language’? The word ‘a language’ can be examined by looking briefly at the English language. English as important language in the world and an international language because firstly, it is now the first language of people from several countries; secondly, many others use it as a subsidiary language. Many people who speaks English as first language speaks no others and such monolingualism is the normal state of affairs in the world. The majority of the world’s English speakers, however, are bi- or multilingual. In his book Language in Mind and Language in Society (1987), Trevor Pateman claimed five definitions for what is a language? Three or four of them have some currency in contemporary linguistics and philosophy of language. These five definitions are  (I) A language is a natural kind. (NATURALISM)  (II) A language is an abstract object. (PLATONISM)  (III) A language is a name given to a set of objects (for example, a set of grammars, lects, or idiolects, characteristically taken to be properties of individual speakers). (NOMINALISM) (See Endnote 3)
  7. 7. 6 The Nature of Language Ahmed Sosal A.  (IV) A language is a social fact, and that social fact is also a (or, in a stronger version, the only) linguistic fact. (SOCIOLOGISM)  (V) A language is a social fact, but that social fact is not a linguistic fact. (DUALISM, for want of a better word to indicate a view of reality as stratified and with at least `weak' emergent properties). Approaches to language classification The importance of the classification methods is vivid because of the fact that there are so many language varieties. So there are two approaches of classification. 1. Typological approach This approach groups languages according to their similarities and differences in linguistic structure. Here languages can be classified in term of their characteristic patterns of word order. Such as in English language the normal word order is, S V O Jim caught the mouse Where (S) stand for subject, (V) refers to verb and (O) stands for object. Thus, English is sometimes referred to as SVO language. Other languages such as Welsh, Arabic etc. are VSO languages where the verbs appear at the first position. Other word orders such as OVS are relatively uncommon. According to the typological classification world’s languages are classified into four groups:  Analytic (or isolating): In languages like Chinese where words are simple units without any affixation syntactic relationships are signaled entirely by word order. For example in Mandarin Chinese Ta chin fan le He eat meal past ‘He ate a meal’  Synthetic (or inflectional): in languages like Latin which consist of a wide range of suffixes system for grammatical purpose. e.g.
  8. 8. 7 The Nature of Language Ahmed Sosal A. Octavia amat can-em Octavia loves dog- Obj. marker Word order in synthetic languages don’t change the meaning since the relationship can be shown by words endings such as in Canem Octavia amat Here canem ‘dog’ is still the object of the verb amat ‘ loves’.  Agglutinative (or affixing): In languages like Turkish Japanese and Swahili. In Turkish for instance the word evlerden Ev ler den House pl. from ‘From the houses’  Polysynthetic (or incorporating): In languages like Australian Aboriginal languages where we can find complex words forms that can function as a complete sentence. For example in Inuktitut, a North American Indian language words as Qasu-iir-sar-vig-ssar-si-ngit-luinar-nar-puq Qasu-iir-sar -vig -ssar -si -ngit -luinar -nar Tried not cause-to-be place for suitable find not completely someone -puq. Third person singular ‘Someone did not find a completely suitable resting place’ The inadequacies of this approach Although this approach has proved very useful it has been subject to many critics through time. One problem is that many languages don’t feat neatly into the divisions listed above. Such as English which can be regarded as a mix of analytic, synthetic and agglutinative.
  9. 9. 8 The Nature of Language Ahmed Sosal A. 2. Genealogical approach A genealogical approach of classification tends to show the historical relationships between languages. All languages which have emerged from a single parent language are regarded as belonging to the same language family. Most of the European and Indian languages are thought to be derived from a single prehistoric language, which have been called Proto-Indo-European languages. Linguists have tried to represent the relationships between the Indo-European languages by means of family tree. ‘There are about thirty such language families containing at least 4,000, and perhaps as many as 6,000, different individual languages’ (George Yule 2006- 183). Family tree limitations: 1- The lack of documentary historical records for the other languages rather than the Indo-European languages which where extensively studied during the nineteenth century make it difficult to apply such a classification for those poorly studied languages. 2- The genealogical approach fails to account for the contact between languages after the historical period when those Indo-European languages studied. Social and political criteria As same as the linguistic identity languages have social and political one, in Britain, the USA and Australia, most of English speakers are normally monolingual in English. On the other hand, there are four official languages in Switzerland (which are German, French, Italian and Romansch) and three languages in Belgium (which are Flemish, French and German) such a phenomena is for some extend unusual one. Another extreme example is New Guinea where there are about 800 different languages. The political unrest in some countries can sometimes cause a problem of data collection. That is not the case in most of the European countries where the collected data can be considered more reliable than those of the other countries which are probably politically unstable.
  10. 10. 9 The Nature of Language Ahmed Sosal A. Finally, factors as language importance, and the exact number of language speakers is change over time. Such as, Hindi and Chinese speakers increased noticeably in these years. Similar to the linguistic and the mutual intelligibility criteria policy and culture play an important role in describing certain variety as a language. This is true for the Scandinavian languages. Danes, Swedes and Norwegians people can understand each other, but they are using a language that has certain standard form, and considered as a symbolic of their political and cultural integrity of the country. Classifying speakers Classifying the native speakers of a language is problematic for two reasons: 1- It is difficult to distinguish whether a language speaker speaks certain language as first language or second language. 2- Monolingual speakers (those who speak an only one language) may use different language styles according to the context or even different dialects. Thus, to avoid such problems it’s better to think of most of language speakers as commanding a linguistic repertoire instead of being monolingual. This can help us to know how different varieties are used in different communities. For example in Singapore both English and Tamil (spoken by a large community in Singapore) are used beside other languages with different social and political statuses. In many countries such as India and Singapore there are local varieties of English language. For instance Indian English is distinguishable in contrast to the other English dialects through the numeral system for example which includes words as lakh (100 000) and crore (10 million). So such differences raise a potential question of where the boundary between different Varieties of English to be drawn. Minority languages Minority language is a language spoken by a group of people in a part of a country where it is not the national or official language of that country (R.L. Trask and Peter Stockwell 2007:171).
  11. 11. 10 The Nature of Language Ahmed Sosal A. ‘In the UK, and The Endangered Language Fund in the USA. Contact details for these and similar organizations are given in Crystal (2000: Appendix). “…Chinese, Russian, Arabic and other major languages have all had an impact on minority languages throughout their history, and continue to do so. The responsibility for language preservation and revitalization is a shared one.” ’ (David Crystal, 2003:21) A language number of speakers has nothing to do with it is being as a minority language. In Britain for instance Chinese is considered as a minority language although there are around 100 000 Chinese speakers there (Wong 1991) and still it is not recognized to be used in any educational nor governmental administration issues. Language structure language use Language structure Language components As long as language is a complex system of communication linguists role is to describe this system and analyze the relationships exist between its various components. Such as the following language components: Figure 1: Language Components Sound Grammarmeaning
  12. 12. 11 The Nature of Language Ahmed Sosal A. In order to analyze or describe any language we need these three components to works together (not independently) to arrive at an adequate analysis or description. Each box have further subdivisions (or levels) which works as complementary for one another, Duality (or double articulation) There are two level of simultaneous organize together to form human language. This is what called duality (or double articulation), a. Physical level: where we can produce individual sounds (e.g. n, b and i). Such individual sounds do not make sense (form meaning) separately so this lead us to the next level. b. Combinational level: here we can have combination such as bin which is a result of turning those discrete sounds into a meaningful word. So, one level leads us to a distinct sounds and another to a distinct meanings. This duality of levels is considered to be one of the economical features of human language because a combination of limited set of discrete sounds can result in a production of a large number of sound combinations (e.g. words) which are distinct in meaning ( George Yule 2006:12). Sound phonology morphologysyntaxGrammar meaning semantics
  13. 13. 12 The Nature of Language Ahmed Sosal A. Language use The Autonomy of language Autonomy system is a way of describing or analyzing languages in terms of their internal relationships and contrasts. This system is extensively abstract one which is obviously in contrast with the concept of language in use (the actual use of language). The linguistic theories presented the distinction between those concepts. For example in the early nineteenth century the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure proposed the two concepts langue (or ‘language’) and parole (or ‘speech’). Saussure concepts have been reproduced later in 1960s by the American linguist Noam Chomsky as, competence (our internal knowledge about a language) and performance (the actual production of speech). Chomsky argued that linguistic theory should be based on competence rather than performance (Chomsky 1965:3). A few decades later descriptive linguists and the modern schools of linguistics use largely to ignore competence and to focus on performance what led to the emergence of what is called the study of language in social context. The study of language in social context Criticism of Saussurean tradition of linguistics The anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski criticized the Saussurean tradition of linguistics as follow, First, language in this tradition is looked at basically as a vehicle for ‘information communication’ and ignored its other functions such as its use for negotiation and maintaining social relationships. Second, this tradition claimed that language study is exclusively study of linguistic form not meaning. Context of situation According to Malinowski and many other anthropologists utterances are only comprehensible in a context of life of which they form a part. This result later
  14. 14. 13 The Nature of Language Ahmed Sosal A. in what is known as London School of linguistics. This concept has been developed later by Michael Halliday to be extended as a formal model shows how language and context are interlinked to produce meaning. Under the concept of communicative competence (relative to Chomsky’s competence) Dell Hymes proposed the notion of the ethnography of speaking which includes questions as who (the speaker), whom(the person being spoken to), where (the context in which the speech is produced), why (the communicative goals of the speaker) and so on. This comes under a linguistic branch called sociolinguistics which interests in the study of the relationship between language and society.
  15. 15. 14 The Nature of Language Ahmed Sosal A. Conclusions After looking in details (for some extend) at these different concepts in order to come at a precise knowledge (conclusion) about what is the nature of language by looking at ‘what is language’ In which we have viewed language from three different angles according to the communicative, structural and interactional point of view. Then through some of the characteristics of language proposed by Dinneen1967 we approximately knew some aspects which can help together in defining what language is linguistically. In our second aspect of this paper we come across another concept which is ‘a language’ (What is ‘a language’?) which I think it differ from the previous one in that it refers to specific language (whether this language is one of the human languages e.g. English, Arabic, French etc. or language of specific field types of machine languages, animal languages “if there is any” and so on). Whereas, the former concept ‘language’ is an open one and may include in it all those concepts which are involved in the later (a language). Here we have come across five attempts to define what a language is in relation to some views such as the naturalism, sociolinguistics, dualism etc. then there is an explanation for the different approaches used in language classification (typological and genealogical approaches) and their different subdivisions. In addition, each approach revealed some kind of limitation to be considered as a universal way of classification for all the languages of the world. In this section also some aspects have been discussed concerning the social and political criteria, languages speakers’ classification and language minority. Finally, the last section is about, language structure and language use which provides us with the inter- relations between three components: sounds, grammar and meaning (with their subdivisions) to form a language. Then we discover the duality (or double articulation) of language where two levels acts together to form a human language. In the next part of this section we have been shown the distinction between the abstract view of language analysis (in the Saussurean tradition and Chomsky’s view) and the movement towards the analysis of language in use (in descriptive and modern schools of linguistics). The context of situation is the last concept in our attempt to discover the essence nature of language where Malinowski, Halliday and Hymes show us some of their participations in one of the branches of linguistics that is known as sociolinguistics where language is studied in relation to
  16. 16. 15 The Nature of Language Ahmed Sosal A. the society. Their work led us to the conclusion that language cannot be studied in isolation of the society who speaks it.
  17. 17. 16 The Nature of Language Ahmed Sosal A. References David Graddol, Jenny Cheshire and Joan Swann (2002); Describing language; Open University press; Buckingham, Philadelphia. Francis P. Dinneen (1967); An introduction to general linguistics; Georgetown University, U. S. George Yule (2006); The study of language; Cambridge University Press; U. S., New York. David Crystal (2003); English as a global language; Cambridge University Press; U. S., New York. Peter Stockwell (ed.) & R.L. Trask (2007); Language and linguistics: The key concepts; Routledge; USA and Canada. Trevor Pateman (1987); Language in Mind and Language in Society; Oxford University Press. The interactional, communicational and structural views of language; SILL International (1999); retrieved from  TheCommunicativeViewOfLanguage.htm  TheStructuralViewOfLanguage.htm  TheInteractionalViewOfLanguage.htm Extracted from Richards and Rodgers 1986, Richards, Jack C. and Theodore S. Rodgers (1986); Approaches and methods in language teaching: A description and analysis; Cambridge University Press. Cambridge ,167pp.