To what extent can language express what we truly feel inside? In other words, how accurate can language be when we want to convey a certain message? ? Language has sure helped us humans a lot in many ways, but is it really possible for language to express everything on earth? Including emotions, or what about things that do not exist? How much, can language really express? We do not know the definite limitations, even though considering we are the ones that came up with these different languages. Isn’t it fascinating to know that we’ve come up with something that not even we ourselves know the boundaries of?
Throughout a conversation, you may get a general sense of what someone is saying, because we all live in a world where we share definitions of words that are agreed among the majority of people living on earth. For instance, there might not be a correct definition of “red”, but we have come up with a general sense of what it is- the color we seen on the skin of an apple, or the color of blood. We can see that red does not consist of only one shade of color, just like many other words do not have only one definition.
Definition of words vary among individuals, it is affected by many factors such as gender, nationality, culture, religion, age, time, and so on. Our experiences are what follow us when we think about the definition of a word, and the way that the words are used and being said. Therefore, when someone says something, what we interpret may not always be exactly what he or she is trying to imply. This is very important to understand and keep in mind because it can cause a lot of problems in communication, such as misunderstanding, disagreements, discrimination, bias, etc.
We can say that, language can also be really dangerous! Many of the words used in language not only have a primary meaning (denotation), but also a secondary meaning (connotation). A connotation of a word signifies more on the personal aspect of the word. This is when all the factors mentioned in the paragraph above come in to use. A word can have a certain definition in the dictionary, but you may have a different way in approaching this word. For example, the word ‘home’ is defined as ‘a house, apartment, or other shelter that is the usual residence of a person, family, or a household’ (reference to dictionary. om). But for many of us, the term ‘home’ may mean something more subjective and personal. I still remember during a project that I had about a year ago in literature class, I had to interview some of my friends and ask what the term ‘home meant to them, and I received a variety of responses. One girl told me ‘home is where the heart is’, another friend told me ‘home is wherever I’m surrounded by the people I love’. As you can see different individuals have distinctive interpretation of things, because we all have our own experiences that affect the way we think and accept things.
The difficulty in using language to communicate is especially high when it comes to expressing our five senses and our emotions. Why is that? Because we are limited to the words we know and the terms we can use to communicate. If you think about it, how accurate can you be when trying to explain to someone the taste of a dish, so that they are able to understand and can fully grasp the exact flavors that you tasted in your mouth. Is it then, also possible for you to use language to describe a smell so that the other person know exactly what it smelled like to you?
We all try our best with the knowledge we have but it does get hard at times. There are also certain issues that may affect the meaning of the words that you use, such as ambiguity, sarcasm, emotion, etc. Emotion plays an extremely big role in communication. Imagine language without emotion, without feelings, how does that work? We wouldn’t be able to express, or to correctly understand, language will just seem dead! It is important that emotion combines with language to achieve communication that is relatable. Most of the time when we talk about something, we often use comparison to try to get an image across someone’s mind.
We try to be as accurate as possible so that the other person does not easily misinterpret our message. We try our best to avoid misunderstanding and be precise when explaining things, but this still does not mean that we can always be a hundred percent accurate in conveying a certain message across. As we grow up, we learn more and more about how to use languages to express ourselves, and this is a long journey for all of us because language is constantly being developed and new vocabularies are being created all the time.
We have to be aware of all these factors that may affect language and communication in our everyday life so that we can better understand the society around us and the world that we live in. It is our responsibility to continue exploring the boundaries of language and our limitations to using language as a form of communication. References: http://dictionary. reference. com/browse/home? s=t IB Theory of Knowledge- Understanding knowledge issues (Short paper from the IBO about identifying and presenting knowledge issues. ) Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma Written by Richard van de Lagemaat