RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LANGUAGE AND SOCIETY

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LANGUAGE AND SOCIETY

 

The connection between language and society is tightly anchored. The relationship of the two is deeply rooted. Language performs various functions in the society and the society does the same way. If one will not exist, the other one will be affected.

Language is the primary tool for communication purposes, for establishing peace and order in our society, for showing authority and power, and for attaining goals and objectives. But, it can also destruct the society if it is will use inappropriately. It must follow the conformity governing the society to avoid conflicts and to meet the boundary of individual differences.

Society however controls our language by giving us preferences as what are acceptable and not, because each one of us has our own perception or point of view. A group of people may accept our language, but for others, it could be kind of offence or insult. We must know how, when and where to say it and for what purpose.

Social changes produce changes in language. This affects values in ways that have not been accurately understood. Language incorporates social values. However, social values are only the same as linguistic values when the society is a stable and unchanging one. Once society starts changing, then language change produces special effects. Every language use is situated within a group of speakers who have something in common. They may be people living in the same community who may share the same origin, profession, social class, and so forth. Such a group of people tend to behave alike because the environment or context in which they operate constrains them to use language in a particular way. Since language is a system of symbols, the speakers choose from the linguistic system in which they operate only those symbols that will communicate something meaningful to them. The words and the structure of a group of language speakers reflects the way they see the world and these in turn, guide their social interaction. For instance, the world view of Yoruba speakers makes them to see kinship relations in a different way from the way English speakers see them. Someone’s brother in the Yoruba world view is not just “a male who has the same parents as the person”. Someone’s brother includes all male relatives who are slightly older or younger than that person. It is also important to note that in some cultures, greetings are used more for socialising than in other cultures. In most African cultures, a lot of value is placed on greetings before the commencement of conversation, during conversation and at the end of a conversation. Different contexts of language use have their distinct social identity and style markers. For instance, the way language is used in casual conversation setting is different from the way it is used in institutionalised discourse setting, such as: Church, debate, quiz, symposium, public lecture, and so forth. There are ways people behave when they speak different languages. This means that language has a connection with behaviour. In fact some scholars have summarised this by saying that language is a form of behaviour. For instance, there are ways to speak and behave in a courtroom, and this is essentially different from the way we behave when we for instance are in the open market for any form of transaction. The market situation in Africa allows for sellers to advertise their wares by calling out to potential buyers. There are also ways we behave in conversations that makes them look orderly. For instance, participants in conversations will not usually talk all at once. Conversely, there will not usually be stretches of time in which no one talks at all. Language cannot be discussed without mentioning the culture in which it is used. Culture is regarded as the way of life of a people. The language a people speak is used to express the various elements of their culture. Likewise, we cannot speak meaningfully about culture without talking about the society in which the culture resides. So, we see that the society is the base for all the discussions we may be having about language. And within each society or segments of the society, we have different cultures, which those who belong to them express through their use of language.

 

Reference

Alatis, J.E. (1985). Perspectives on bilingualism and bilingual education. Georgetown University Press. Giddens, A. (1989). Sociology. Cambridge: Polity.

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LANGUAGE AND SOCIETY

 

The connection between language and society is tightly anchored. The relationship of the two is deeply rooted. Language performs various functions in the society and the society does the same way. If one will not exist, the other one will be affected.

Language is the primary tool for communication purposes, for establishing peace and order in our society, for showing authority and power, and for attaining goals and objectives. But, it can also destruct the society if it is will use inappropriately. It must follow the conformity governing the society to avoid conflicts and to meet the boundary of individual differences.

Society however controls our language by giving us preferences as what are acceptable and not, because each one of us has our own perception or point of view. A group of people may accept our language, but for others, it could be kind of offence or insult. We must know how, when and where to say it and for what purpose.

Social changes produce changes in language. This affects values in ways that have not been accurately understood. Language incorporates social values. However, social values are only the same as linguistic values when the society is a stable and unchanging one. Once society starts changing, then language change produces special effects. Every language use is situated within a group of speakers who have something in common. They may be people living in the same community who may share the same origin, profession, social class, and so forth. Such a group of people tend to behave alike because the environment or context in which they operate constrains them to use language in a particular way. Since language is a system of symbols, the speakers choose from the linguistic system in which they operate only those symbols that will communicate something meaningful to them. The words and the structure of a group of language speakers reflects the way they see the world and these in turn, guide their social interaction. For instance, the world view of Yoruba speakers makes them to see kinship relations in a different way from the way English speakers see them. Someone’s brother in the Yoruba world view is not just “a male who has the same parents as the person”. Someone’s brother includes all male relatives who are slightly older or younger than that person. It is also important to note that in some cultures, greetings are used more for socialising than in other cultures. In most African cultures, a lot of value is placed on greetings before the commencement of conversation, during conversation and at the end of a conversation. Different contexts of language use have their distinct social identity and style markers. For instance, the way language is used in casual conversation setting is different from the way it is used in institutionalised discourse setting, such as: Church, debate, quiz, symposium, public lecture, and so forth. There are ways people behave when they speak different languages. This means that language has a connection with behaviour. In fact some scholars have summarised this by saying that language is a form of behaviour. For instance, there are ways to speak and behave in a courtroom, and this is essentially different from the way we behave when we for instance are in the open market for any form of transaction. The market situation in Africa allows for sellers to advertise their wares by calling out to potential buyers. There are also ways we behave in conversations that makes them look orderly. For instance, participants in conversations will not usually talk all at once. Conversely, there will not usually be stretches of time in which no one talks at all. Language cannot be discussed without mentioning the culture in which it is used. Culture is regarded as the way of life of a people. The language a people speak is used to express the various elements of their culture. Likewise, we cannot speak meaningfully about culture without talking about the society in which the culture resides. So, we see that the society is the base for all the discussions we may be having about language. And within each society or segments of the society, we have different cultures, which those who belong to them express through their use of language.

 

Reference

Alatis, J.E. (1985). Perspectives on bilingualism and bilingual education. Georgetown University Press. Giddens, A. (1989). Sociology. Cambridge: Polity.

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