To clearly understand the significance of language as an effective tool of communication and understanding in any society, adequate regard must be given to its origin. That is, how did man come about the concept and institution of language? Why and what then is the importance of language in a society which has made it a distinguished institution in any culture.
Language, as an important feature of society, is conceived by different scholars to have come into existence through different means. Some argue that language began with the imitation of sounds. Sounds that were picked from animals. Sounds that are expressed by language as onomatopoeia today.
Other scholars argue that language passed the process of development which has stemmed from emotions such as love and pain. Also, language is expressed during relaxation plays and other fundamentals of society.
It is also argued that language stemmed from the spontaneous exclamations we give to different emotions. Say interjections. Say shrieks like ‘oh’, ‘ouch’ and other interjections, spontaneous reflexes. The interjections extend to sounds made under heavy labor or child delivery periods.
Other scholars argue that language goes through a process of observation and hypothesis. The importance of observation here is to pick and consider the term which is significant to culture for generalizations of such terms.
However, all arguments would be considered in this essay. At this, language should be agreed to have stemmed from collective efforts. That is a generally approved institution, terms, and concepts, a fundamental means for unity and clarity of thoughts in expression.
By this, a means of communication is established.
Language is simply the arbitrary means to communication which includes sound, symbols, and words. The dynamism of language is in its occupation of culture, the distinguishing importance of language in society.
A society cannot exist without communication. And language is the vehicle of communication. Language then exists as propelled as a desire to express human feelings. As should be understood, the importance of language in society resides in its functions and the dimensions in which it operates.
With the functions and dimensions, language can be seen as a mirror through which understanding and unity is being forged into any given culture or society.
Language operates in the forms of sounds, symbols, gestures, and words.
Symbols and signs as a form in which language is applied to our daily discussion is an important dimension of language’s operation. The simplest example is the consideration given to deaf and dumb persons. Dumb and deaf persons need symbols and signs to understand what another person who can speak is saying.
As though, some can express language with words, others express it with the symbols attributed to each word. In this, words play a significant role in communication too.
Humans speak words, write words and use it to express themselves. This form in which language take is primary as every society has its dynamic means of communication with its own conceived and universally accepted accents and definitive terms.
Sounds like a form through which language operates is quite relative to every human. Some ideas are best expressed with sounds. That is, without the onomatopoeic sounds that we make, interjectory or not, some ideas will not be better communicated.
A woman on a delivery bed cannot but scream. This sound is a language in itself. As much as a man working on the plow grunts successively while a child makes intentional sounds to express his needs and lacks, a message is passed.
Reading meanings to these messages, therefore, is the goal and aim of language. An aim through which the importance of language in society is achieved.
Gestures are really important forms of language too. The body movement of a person says a lot. Just as the cliché quote states, “actions speak louder than voice.” Human gestures: a raise of hand during court proceedings, a stamp of feet on the ground during arguments or the stretch of a hand (for shaking) after a tough debate. These gestures express the human condition and reaction to the events.
Without these forms of language and others, the importance of language in society will not be felt. More so, emotions, desires and any other human feeling are also expressed with any of the dimensions explained above.
Importance of language
Language plays multiple roles in any society. The basic importance of language is its role in civilization. Before today, man existed in barbaric states. A savage situation where life isn’t given to communication and the collective understanding of it.
However, with the use of language, man is grouped into different societies as unique with their history and thus, permitted to devise a philosophy of existence to guard their culture.
Language is also a means of unity in society. Drawing from the experience of the builders of Towers of Babel in the Bible. The commencement and conception of such a building stemmed from the unity which came as a result of a similar language.
Commotion set in when God gave different tongues to them while building a tower to reach heaven. As they spoke different languages, there was no understanding and there was no unity any longer. The building project eventually failed.
Language makes social interaction and contacts easy. For an American who meets an American in Russia after a tough trip, he would be glad to express himself and seek directions if essential.
It will be the contrary for Russian seeking directions from a French man. They would certainly not understand themselves, hence, no smooth social contact and interaction will take place.
A language is an important tool of expression. Every great man in the world had language as a tool for greatness. Every idea is conveyed and expressed only through language. Through language, a shy person finds expression in whatever dimension; and through language, an orator finds life given to his ideas.
Language is also a means to retain culture. Unlike many societies that have been influenced by foreign languages, Hindi in India still gains international recognition for its resistance to British English even after colonial years.
Language helps the spread of culture. This is why Chinese restaurants still have Chinese language speakers in them even in European and Russian societies.
Language plays an enormous role in dignifying a society and culture. Language performs the basic role of passing a piece of information, expressing such information in the most engaging way possible. Language gives direction to particular events or happenings and language also adds flavor to meanings and life. At this, language is a primary structure that every society can never do without.
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