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What is Language

What is a Language

What is Language:

Can we imagine; that how a shopkeeper will sell his products without language? How will we learn without the help of it? How can a teacher express his sophisticated intellectual thoughts to his learners? The shopkeeper tries to sell different things to customers with the help of it. Students learn with the help of it and Meritorious professor, Teachers and Tutor teach students with the help of it. Otherwise, there are no perfect means of communication as itself is. here in this study, we will try to define What is a Language? How does it help to convey our messages? what is the differences between the languages?

Detailed Insight on What is Language:

Human beings speak, shout, cry, sing, yell, or plead; They always use it to express their feelings. In learning and teaching, guiding, and assistance, they always rely on it. So it can be said that it is a sophisticated and unique part of human nature and is always helpful for human beings in their daily life.

If we take a look at our daily routine life, we will see the immense impact of written and spoken language on our experience. Our social gathering, school, universities, the familial discussion, can not be fruitful unless we talk to each other. So it is that makes our routine life colorful and understandable. So, It is not a modern phenomenon. History of it is as ancient as the story of humanity is. Communication has been examined and studied by the Philosophers, Linguists, and scholars from the old time. We find millions of books from the old-time to the present day.

Introduction to Language
A Brief Introduction to Language

Animal Vs Human Communication System:

No other creature on this planet can communicate as human beings do. It is specific only to human beings. Other members of the animal kingdom can communicate thorough vocal noises. So, The communication system of animals follows an inborn faculty strictly and can not move from that. For example, a calf in Pakistan and Britain always follows the same pattern of communication.

It makes very same voices, but a human child in Pakistan compared to a child in Britain always differs in his communication. There is still an element of creativity and learning in human beings concerning It. So, If a person moves from one particular country to another, he learns the language of his new destination for his communication at that place. But if we move an animal from one place to other, there will not be any change in his communication system, and it will make the same noises for communication.

Read also: Krashen’s Monitor Model, Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theories of Learning

Language, Religion, and Science:

Religion is the most crucial part of human life, and most of the human beings have religious attachments. Sacred scriptures of Jews and Islam tell that Adam A.S. learned the name of some Things by God. It shows that after the birth of humankind, the first thing was his learning of language. Furthermore, as per the scientific point of view, it was originated when early hominins started gradually changing. So, both pictures show the origin of It was started with the birth of human beings, and now this cycle is in progress continuously.

Philosophy of Language is under debate since the Gorgias and Plato in ancient Greece. Rousseau and many other scholars have argued that it originates from emotions, but as per the Kent viewpoint, it originated from rational and logical thoughts. So, What is Language: Even some of the 20th-century scholars have argued that philosophy is the study of language. There are also some other linguists as Ferdinand De Saussure and Noam Chomsky, who have their viewpoint regarding language. 

Origin of Language to know What is Language:

The word ‘Language’ is derived from a Latin word, which means language or tongue. Linguists and Grammarians define it as an abstract system of symbols and their meanings. Moreover, this system of it includes rules that relate symbols and meanings with the help of this systematic combination; We communicate with each other for being in touch. So, the term symbol or code means a particular thing that stands at the place of an additional idea. Like dinner, food, lunch is specific symbols that are used for items to eat or eat at a particular time. Or the idea or name of Sun, Moon, Day or Night also symbolizes a specific thing, and when someone listens to these names, he gets a clear idea regarding these things.

According to an ancient linguist of the subcontinent, Patanjali, “language is that human expression which is uttered out by speech organs.”

References from Encyclopedia on What is Language:

As per the Encyclopedia Britannica, vol.13, It is defined as “A system of conventional, spoken or written symbols by means of which human beings, as members of social group and participants, in its culture communicate.”

Introduction to Language
Importance of Language in the social circle

Henry Sweet, an English phonetician, and language scholar stated: “Language is the expression of ideas by means of speech-sounds combined into words. Words are combined into sentences, this combination answering to that of ideas into thoughts.”

The American linguists’ Bernard Bloch and George L. Trager formulated the following definition: “A language is a system of arbitrary vocal symbols utilizing which a social group cooperates.”

Characteristics of Language to know What is Language: 

Above said, definitions show that communication always provides a unique approach to everyone. Human Language is a system of signs and codes. This process goes systematically in which the speaker or writer of the it encodes his thoughts, feelings, etc. So,when the other person listens or reads these words, his minds decode that information and comprehend. So we can say that it is a system of coding and decoding of thoughts and their comprehension.  Moreover, Production and Creativity, Cultural transmission, Displacement, Arbitrariness, Duality, Discreetness are the main characteristics of a language.

Read also: Cognitive linguistics

Language Learning Process:

The learning process of humankind starts with the birth of a child. It is an inborn faculty of humanity, and after the birth, he begins learning his first language. Every human being learns the first language unintentionally for his communication. When he reaches the age of 5 to 6 years, his learning abilities go mature and mature, and approximately he can understand all essential domestic communication and also can show his performance. So, typically, people acquire the first or native communication to communicate with their parents, their community and local social gathering.

Learning Process in Detail:

In contrast, they come to the second language for their studies, Business plans, and employment, etc. Competency in it is termed as Monolingual. And if a person is competent and can show performance in two languages, he is called bilingual. So, People who are born in families where family members use different languages for communication, children grow up bilingual. So, Most of the traditional monolingual families and cultures adopt a single Language at home. As well as educational institutions of that very culture also follow that very language, so the children grow up in such families as monolingual.

English as Foreign or Second Language:

 Here is a question; why do people learn the second language? As we know, the primary purpose it is to communicate and convey our messages, and by learning one language, we can express our messages and communicate with others, then why we feel the need for the second language? People learn the second language for their business, education, tour, travel, preaching, etc. So, If someone wants to go to the USA, he needs the English for communication there. Without English, he can not communicate with people there.

Moreover, this is the era of Science, technology, and the internet, and approximately there are 10 million websites that have data in the English. 70% to 90% of research of the world relevant to Scientific, technological, business, space, or educational topics is available in the English Language. All well known and prominent scientists, educationists, Professors, Economists, Chemists, Businessmen, Chemists, Physicists, and much more belong to the English speaking community. So, All well known and standard books are available in the English. This information highlights the importance of English.

Introduction to Language
Second Language

Scientific and Technological Advancements to know What is Language:

Most of the scientific and technological devices are easily understandable in English than any other communication. Terminologies used in Science and technology mostly belong to the English. English speaking countries make most of the industrial equipment, Mobile Phone devices, computers, laptops, Smart Watches, and much more. There operating manual and guidelines are available in their native language. So, it is the hour of need to learn the English to avoid any inconvenience.

If developing countries want to progress, then they must focus on English learning. In this way, their graduates will be able to understand all scientific and educational research, and as they will be capable of operating the imported machinery from European Countries and the USA without Language hindrance. So, English speaking person will be able to communicate with 1132 million people in the world. The graduates who know the English will have the opportunity to study in developed countries. They will have more employment opportunities than before. In this way, developing countries will save most of their national reserves.

Read also: Behaviorism, Innatism and Other theories of Learning


Like any other language, the English has some unique characteristics that make it a universal phenomenon and increase its importance. So, The English has the characteristics of Receptiveness, Heterogeneousness, Simplicity of Inflexion, Fixed Word Order, Use of Periphrasis, and Growth of Intonation. Linguistically every language has the same importance and value. Still, when we observe the worldly point of view, then the importance of English can not be neglect, and soon English will have more dominance worldwide.


Written  & Reviewed by: Muhammad Asad Kasra,


M.Phil Scholar, Riphah Institute of Language and Literature, Riphah International University Lahore, Pakistan.

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