Please explain and show some references about: Are "the nature of English" and "the nature of language" the same?I wonder whether they are the same and I can't find any books related to "the nature...

Please explain and show some references about: Are "the nature of English" and "the nature of language" the same?

I wonder whether they are the same and I can't find any books related to "the nature of English" and "the nature of language". It involves sociolinguistics

Asked on by luckybee

1 Answer | Add Yours

maadhav19's profile pic

maadhav19 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted on

"Language" is a general category, while "English" is a specific kind of language. So there may be features of other languages English does not have. For example, it is the nature of some languages (such as Latin and Hindi) that the main verb is at the end of the sentence, instead of in the middle as in English.

Conceptually, though, there has been a long standing debate on the nature of language as it relates to thinking. The "Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis" suggests that different languages affect the thought processes of people who speak those languages. Languages constrain and channel thought by being the medium by which one can think. If a language has words for concepts that English lacks, then the speakers of that language have concepts that English speakers presumably lack. One area where this might be seen is in terms in languages such as Sanskrit for meditative states one can accomplish through yoga. An English word like "trance" might be used to translate a number of different terms relating to meditation, each of which in Sanskrit means a different experience.

If you take a foreign language such as French or Spanish or German, you know that many other languages have gendered nouns. One area where research is ongoign is the extent to which gender in language affects people's perceptions of objects.

So we might argue whether it is in the "nature of language" that language constrains thought; but we can't ask the same question of English alone without another language to compare it to.

We’ve answered 318,911 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question