Language is an essential component that makes up the society and we use it various ways for various purposes. It is one of the major means of communicating and whilst it may seem that their purpose starts and ends there, through language, we are able to introduce, retain and change ideas, movements and even society. A rather complicated and necessary component, discover the other few aspects of society that is influenced and relied on its existence.
A Means Of Communication
The primary use of a language is, undoubtedly, to communicate. Communication entails the need to reason and participate in dialogues. Without language as a tool, it would mean to strip verbal codes and its writing script. We will be left with only non-verbal communication such as body language and gestures – note, even sign language is a language nonetheless – to relay messages and this gives space for miscommunication since they’re mostly up for interpretation. Which will be an obsolete effort if one is physically separated, like we are right now due to COVID-19.
Languages also allow us to communicate our emotions by putting in conceptual knowledge and giving meaning to the sensations felt by the body. After all, communication doesn’t limit itself to the building of society via ideas and dialogues, but it also includes the most primal sense.
Retain Culture And Tradition
Seeing as how communication is considerably more challenging without language, it is safe to say that cultural and tradition preservation will be just as difficult, if not more. Language is an intrinsic expression of culture as it helps to communicate values, beliefs and customs from one generation to the next.
If we take a peek at history, regimes that are successful at taking over other countries will almost always attack the latter’s cultural identity. For instance, Japan built schools in Korea so that native Koreans can learn and adopt Japanese as their spoken and written language. Japan made it a point to make learning, speaking and writing the Korean language a crime, effectively erasing their national identity as a country.
Push For Ideas And Change
On a similar tangent, language always has a role societal and cultural revolution. Because it is a mode by which opinions and ideologies are to be expressed and expounded that will be a trigger for change.
For instance, feminism has always been an engaging discourse that has dated even before the suffragettes’ time. It was a taboo topic – equality between genders – and even till today, true equality has yet to be obtained. One of the many methods women used to spread feminist sentiments is through literature. Even back in 1892, the hardship and unfair treatment of a mother suffering from postpartum depression is discussed in The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. In the 1970s, feminists engaged in the discourse about gender roles by churning essays that will shake the fabrics of society. Margaret Atwood is one such woman. Society will always be subjected to reform time and time again, and you would often see language has a big part to play.
As we’ve seen, there is no progress without language. In fact, our daily lives revolve around it. Thus, there is a need for us to have a good grasp on this tool of communication and it may even be wise to pick up a foreign language or two. Use this chance to dive deep into a foreign culture, ideas and discourses by learning their language.
With the current pandemic and its safety measures, why not have a go and enrol in an online Japanese course? Keep yourself preoccupied within these few weeks during the Circuit Breaker period by picking up a new skill as we strive to flatten the curve together!