Home Forums Discussion Board Discussion 1.1 – The word “Language”

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    • #1770
      admin adminadmin

      Like the example of Spanish, Romanian is another language in which there are a few words for “language” with different conceptualizations: ‘limba’, ‘limbaj’ and ‘vorbire’/’grai’. These are, in fact, equivalents of the Spanish words. This is probably because both languages are of Latin origin, as I’ve found that with German, for instance, this is not the case (the only word being Sprache). Can anyone confirm? I think the different conceptualizations tend to be more plurilithic, as they recognize the uses of language by different groups.

      I like the verbification of the noun “language” (just like many many other nouns) because it conveys that language is always in motion, transforming, being dynamic, and not passive, as some might erroneously think. We can see this use in the word “translanguaging’, for instance.

      To view past replies go to: https://changingenglishes.proboards.com/thread/5/discussion-pt-1-word-language

      • This topic was modified 2 years ago by admin adminadmin.
    • #3262

      It is good to learn that the words for “language” can be expressed in different ways in Spanish. The word “language” in my mother tongue, Chinese, is commonly expressed with one term “yuˇyenˊ” .

    • #3316
      Joshua TanJoshua Tan

      I have limited understanding in linguistics so do call me out if I have erred. What I do understand, however, is that the word “language” in Malay language is “bahasa”. It refers to the totality of the language which we have spoken. If we were to refer to a body of system, we simply add the word “sistem” before “bahasa” to mean the system of a language. If we were to talk about the writing system, we would have used the term “sistem tulisan” (writing system). In other words, there is a clear demarcation between the spoken language and the written language in Malay language.

    • #3345

      It is interesting, there are other words using in different contexts in the process of learning a language.

    • #3348

      Yes, different words which refer to language carry different conceptualizations of language. However, when it comes to the Sinhala language there are no such different words to refer to language. Although there are regional differences in the way Sinhala is spoken, they are all included within the umbrella term of Sinhala.

      Using the word language in verb form could also mean that language is not a static system which is there for people to acquire or learn. On the other hand a language comes into being through active interaction among the speakers. Language being an act in itself it is more of a verb than it is a noun.

    • #3385

      That’s interesting. In my native language. The word ” language ” has to means. 1-Idioma
      (Like idiom) and 2-Língua (like tongue)

    • #3392

      Interestingly, in (Brazilian) Portuguese we will also find a number of different words related to language — língua, idioma, linguagem, fala, linguajar… The last one can function as a verb (chatter, blab, talk away) or as a noun (the specific way someone or a group speaks), which signals the very same idea of verbalizing the word language.

      Just like paintbrushes or pairs of scissors, I believe that languages are tools which might tell mere users from distinct artists. It seems to me it is a matter of being able to communicate (well enough) with the world by using the system(s) you have access to.

      Languages do not belong to their speakers; they are not restricted to geographic boundaries, either. Instead, they are independent living entities which, however, can only survive when constant changes and contributions are made to them.

    • #3497

      As I am a Burmese, there are two different ways to express the word”Language”. They are “Bartharsakar” and “sakar”. Like English, those words are used as nouns in our language.

    • #3517

      Yes, I agree with thoughts of that Learning English Languages is like a Galaxy.
      Language is way of transferring one’s idea into another . It is up to you how much and How to transfer it to in society. The sociolinguistic, psycholinguistic, or Multilinguistic perspective is equally important along with its requirement of time ,place and need of communication. As per it English is been accepted. Globalization has remarkable impact on it. It not only moved the English Speaker to teach from Native to another country but also Enriched English language. It was the tradition from years and years that is still going on . So I feel that if Language is open it grows fast . Addition of the world views makes it richer and richer so as English.

    • #3539

      In Farsi language the case is a kind of weird since we have only one word for language. Thus if you mean “language” or “tongue” only you must focus on the context to realize which meaning the speaker or writer intends! So it is difficult for non-native of Farsi to understand which one the speaker means, for example when he points out to a kind of dish made with ship’s tongue! In Arabic they have 2 words, 1 means “tongue” the other means “language”. So in my opinion in Farsi it’s more of a monolithic concept rather than plurilithic one.
      Using the world “language” as a verb implies the plurilithic concept since it shows words are dynamic, hybrid and are coined on daily basis. So there is not clear definition or grammar label as ‘noun” for it. Generally speaking it is OK in my pinon if people use it as a verb but since we have taught by more or less monolithic concept underling our teaching and learning system, it sounds weird when you hear it for the first time as a verb.

    • #3622

      Greek has different words for ‘love’ which expresses the love experienced in different contexts. For example, eros: sexual passion; philia: deep friendship; ludus: playful love; agape: love for everyone; pragma: longstanding love and philautia: love of the self. I think these words correspond to more monolithic senses because they are clear cut and used in certain contexts. They are not as fluid as the word ‘love’ in English. But on the other hand, there are other words in English that could describe different situations/nuances, for example, ‘I’m infatuated with him’ compared to ‘I love him’.

      I haven’t heard the word language used as a verb and I think it would annoy me to hear it especially if there is a perfectly suitable alternative. If it were used more and became a common term, I would probably start using it myself. A contemporary example is ‘friend’ as in ‘I friended her yesterday’.

    • #3627

      Hi Friends,
      Language evolves day by day depending on the context we use. ‘Bhasha’, is the word that we use for language in totality, the spoken language differs from written language as ‘vyakaranam’ (grammar) is important for written language but we have many dialects and slangs in spoken language. Sanskrit is the source for all our languages and hence one can find common words in some of the languages. ‘chikistha’ is one such word which means treatment which is used in majority of languages in India.

    • #3670

      Thank you for sharing this interesting information about various words referring to “language”. In my native language – Polish – we basically have one word which is an equivalent to English “language” in common use. However, more technically we can also use the word “mowa” (close to the English “speech” like in “reported speech”), which refers to the system consisting of words and grammar rules used for communication. This second word is usually used when we study our own language at school.

    • #3729

      It is great, there are other words using in different contexts in the process of learning a language.

    • #3854

      In Italian, we distinguish between lingua (which in English is language ) referring to the Italian language or the idiom we write and speak, and then there is linguaggio which refers to the ability of men to communicate

    • #3906

      Sinhala and Tamil languages which are the first languages of many Sri Lankans are mutually intelligible though they have a rich diversity based on geographical location of the speaker different registers and many more factors.
      It’s so interesting to know that ‘language’ is not only a noun, but can be used as a verb too.

    • #4017

      There can be language differences according to the geographical distribution within the country or the world wide.
      It is also interesting to know that the “language” can be considered as a verb rather than a noun.

    • #4042

      I am always fascinated to know and even witness that a word may transcend from the way it is usually perceived by different language users. We cannot say that their usage of the language is incorrect. Rather, we must learn why they use it in such way.

    • #4066

      The shift of word function like the “verbification” of the noun “language” shows how languages evolve.It shows the dynamism of language. From the time “verbification” was used in Early Modern English until today, the change of grammatical functions of words make languages grow and expand its vocabulary. These days, technology usually does this as words/nouns like “Facebook”, “Instagram”, “Google” are used as verbs or nouns depending on their function in the sentences or in discourse. Some languages may not have this linguistic practice, but in English, this is normal.

    • #4184
      Julio TorresJulio Torres

      In Spanish we do have different words to refer to language. Spanish seems to be as flexible when it comes to nominalising a verb or verbalising a noun as we can see in the English language in its different varieties. We would not always use language as a verb.For example, we can change habla (noun) to hablar (verb) but we would never say “lenguajear or idiomar. I think we need to get familiar with the usage of each language to avoid awkward use of words or expressions.

    • #4207
      Dauda PikawiDauda Pikawi

      It is great reading through the comments, languages come with their world views as to concepts. In my Gure language in Nigeria, language is called ‘pilem’ another word for tongue. It is the word for both the organ and language, usage and reference is best dictated by the context.

    • #4261

      Variation in the representation of the word “language” in some world languages is a prove that language is universal. It also proves the uniqueness that lies in each languages.

      “Verbification” of the word language further proves the dynamism of English language. As the world changes, languages change with it. New concept are brought up just as new grammatical functions are been assigned to old concept.

    • #4586

      “Language” is not a single aspect but it has a relation towards plurilithic concept where language considers with psycholinguists and sociolinguists aspects. For an example, In Sri Lanka, Sinhala or Tamil is the mother tongue language, English language is considered as an official language which is needed in every professional matter. Consequently, a new variety of English language has been existed in Sri Lanka, which is called as “Standard Sri Lankan English” It is needed to mention, “Standard Sri Lankan English” is made out of the borrowing words from Sinhala and Tamil. On the contrary, It serves as a interlanguage in the Sri Lankan context where students are hoping to improve themselves as Standard British English users.

    • #4597

      In my native country, Myanmar, there are two words to describe the word, “Language”. They are “Sagar” and “Bartharsagar” which are used as nouns.

    • #4604

      To ‘language’ seems accurate from a theoretical standpoint. For the layperson, however, it probably sounds like nonsense. From my experience using English as a plural (Englishes) is considered a grammatical error. This most likely relates to the idea that English is monolithic.

    • #4621

      In Myanmar, the word “language” is called “Bartharsagar” and “sagar”.

      • #5226

        Is there any difference between these two Myanmar words that refer to “language”?

    • #4623

      I have learned different words for language in different places. In our country,Myanmar, we describe language as “Bartharsakar” or “Sakar”.

    • #5195

      Q1: The word language in Latvian (valoda) is used only as a noun and does not have corresponding words nor synonyms. However, the word itself has several definitions: 1) articulated sign system which is used for human communication and thinking; 2) a system of sounds and lexical grammatical items of a nation; 3) a special type of system with its own characteristic means of expression; 4) the act of speaking or speech ability; 5) something is being talked about or discussed by a wider group of people. Based on these definitions, it is possible to conclude that the word valoda corresponds to both concepts: monolithic and plurilithic. On one hand, the word valoda denotes membership to a specific nation with its own characteristic vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar which is equivalent to the monolithic concept. On the other hand, the word valoda is used to describe human conversation and thinking. Based on the plurilithic concept, there are no two people who would use the language in the same way. Therefore, in order to conclude, it is necessary to investigate the history and sociolinguistic development of the Latvian language.
      The question ‘Is language a verb?’ is rather a thought-provoking one. For me personally, the word languaging means a process of speaking in which the users of a particular language shape, manipulate, and experiment with the vernacular language by creating new expressions or by assigning new meanings to a word. In this way, languaging can be viewed as a plurilithic concept because it allows individuals to expose their voice and their own identity by using the language to describe who they are. However, I must highlight that the verb languaging can be interpreted in many ways resulting it being used as an umbrella term, for instance: I am languaging – Am I speaking? Am I learning the language? Am I creating new words? Am I debating? Am I having a conversation?

      • #5225

        Interesting the way Latvian perceives a universal reality, and how this perception changes in every language (as social convention).

    • #5224

      In Portuguese, the words used to refer to LANGUAGE can de linguagem, língua and fala. Each corresponds to a different perception of the act of communication, going from the general ability of communication (linguagem), to the social linguistic convention (língua), and finally the individual realisation of the act of communication (fala). I think this reflects a plurilithic vision of language, as an entity that is created individually, socially and is part of our nature.

      The second question is interesting and I have always thought that there is nothing that can be considered more active than language itself. It is certainly a process of exchanging ideas, opinions, feelings, thoughts, and requires not only coding but also decoding.

    • #5239

      Most of the time we learn something new. The English language was adopted from different languages.

    • #5269

      I like the idea of having the word Langauge as a verb since based on the explanation we concerned about so far is that language is forever in motion.

      • #5503
        Saul SantosSaul Santos

        Yes, I agree, a verb makes it easier to think of the dynamic sense of language, but also, languaging positions the ‘communication’sense over the ‘system’sense.

    • #5290

      Lingua Franca of the 21th century

    • #5313

      In my native language, we also have different words to express language but these slight differences don’t always mean the same concept. They are not always interchangeable. We need to be precise with our words.

      • #5403

        Interesting fact where I see language as evolving all the time together with the introduction of technology and the younger generation bringing their changes to language use

    • #5363

      Whilst I know some Spanish and I am aware of the synonyms “la lengua” and “el idioma”, I find it more poignant that everyday expressions or greetings in English such as “how are you?” have substitutes in other languages.

      After spending some time living and working in Vietnam, I picked up some conversational Vietnamese and found it was very rare to hear this expression explicitly. You would be much more likely to hear: “ăn cơm chưa” as an initial greeting which literally translates to “have you eaten rice yet?”. Perhaps this is a reflection of the culture that such a question is more significant than your personal feelings of being “well” or good”.

      To language then is to express what has been and continues to be important to a specific culture, but this line becomes fuzzy in an increasingly globalised world.

      • #5389

        I agree with you, Simon. As Filipinos, we also don’t ask ‘how are you?’ as much as people from the west do. We normally open conversations with ‘kumain ka na’ (have you eaten yet?) or ‘gawa mo?’ (what are you doing?). I am convinced the use of one’s language is highly influenced by the culture of the people who speak it.

    • #5366

      Italian has ‘linguaggio’ e ‘lingua’. The former I understand refers to the ability to communicate, be it spoken or written language, or paralinguistic. The latter refers to an individual language, like, for example, Arabic. Speaking of which, I will check in my Arabic sources: I have a poster with “14 increasingly strong stages of how the Arabic language expresses the idea of love”.

    • #5379

      What do you think of the use of the word language as a verb by some linguists (Joseph 2002)?
      This is new to me but I am reliably informed (OED online) that ‘language’ (v) means ‘to express in language, put into words’. Whilst I’ve read Joseph’s (2002) article, I really need to read more in this field before I can form an opinion re ‘language’ as a v. and a n.

    • #5391

      Sounds strange to me using the word ‘language’ as a verb, but I am always open to new ways on how a word’s definition and use may evolve to embrace the concept of plurilithy. Perhaps it can be used this way: “Mind languaging (i.e. adjusting or minimizing your use of idiomatic expressions native to your native tongue) your speech, so these learners can relate to your English?”

    • #5402

      Language fascinates me and after having done some research on the globalisation of language in Italy language has produced a kind of lingua franca of the 21st century know as italianglo, where many English words are used in the Italian language, as it is a form of communication.

    • #5412

      As in Spanish, so in Greek there is a variety of words referring to “language”. Some of them are “ομιλία”, “έκφραση”, “λόγος”, each one of them having different connotations of language. For instance, “λόγος” (“logos”) appeals to logic; it is that part of the language that tries to persuade an audience with reason, using facts and figures. On the other hand, “έκφραση” (“ekfrassi”) covers both the written and the oral part of how someone expresses himself. It includes body language as well.

      Nowadays, in Greece, due to the increasing use of social media, a lot of English words are used in the Greek language to the extent that a new word was coined: Greeklish.

    • #5474

      In Brazilian Portuguese, the word “language” has several conceptualizations as well. There is língua, linguagem, idioma, linguajar.
      I believe using English as a verb implies that the language emerges in the moment of the interaction, that language enables us to act, so I believe it exists if we use it in a continuum process of adapting and changing it.

    • #5502
      Saul SantosSaul Santos

      Viewing language as a verb helps me see it as something people do, and helps me distance from the view of language as an object. Then, if language is something people do, it is easier to imagine that each individual language in their own way: language as plurilitic. People language (that even gives the possibility to integrate resourses form other named languages) according to their personal experiences.

    • #5545

      Think about the word language as a verb makes it easier to think of the dynamic sense of language. Call me out if I have erred because I have limited understanding and I have to read a bit more, it is new for me.

    • #5549

      I guess we have a similar situation in Italian, with lingua, linguaggio and idioma. No surprises here: Homer Simpson once said that Spanish and Italian are the same language 😉 However, I can’t think of anything similar to the use of habla. Maybe some other Italian speaker can help me out here?

    • #5577

      I was not aware that there were different words for language in Spanish (or many of the other languages that have been introduced in this chat so far). I speak English and German and in both (as has already been pointed out above) there is just one word for language (Eng: language, Ger: Sprache).

      I’m familiar with the verbal use of ‘language’ and I find that concept neat because it implies that we are not just using a system but are contributing to it, interacting with it, being influenced by it. I think learners sometimes feel helpless, like it’s me against this system of language (this monolith) I’m trying to learn, and when we talk about languaging, then we legitimize agency and creativity. I guess in some ways languaging also implies that we are putting less emphasis on the language system and more on what we are using it to do – transactionally, communicatively, interpersonally.

    • #5652
      Jacob HuckleJacob Huckle

      I agree with the use of the word ‘language’ as a verb. To think of ‘languaging’ instead of ‘using a language’ shifts our thinking towards a dynamic process rather than a static ‘object’.

    • #5697

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    • #5735
      Jo GregoryJo Gregory

      Synonyms for language in English can include tongue or jargon. To me “tongue” could mostly refer to the spoken word, while jargon is the language of a
      certain industry. This indicates there is a pluralthic aspect to English. Personally while I can see having language as a verb makes sense as it is a dynamic concept, I think in spoken English it would be an awkward word to use e.g I language to you. Let’s keep it as a noun!

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    • #5886

      Language as a verb or languaging indicates the fact that language is not a fixed entity but a flexible process: it keeps evolving during the interaction with other languages throughout the course of time.

    • #5924
      James SmithJames Smith

      It is beneficial to realize that there are various methods to represent the concept of “language.”
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    • #6016

      Please correct me if I’ve made a mistake because I only have a little understanding of linguistics.

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