What are the advantages of studying a language as a system rather than a tool of communication ?

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wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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In some cases, studying a language as a system can make the new language easier to learn. For example, when I learned Japanese, we studied the new language as a system first. Since we were having to start over from scratch, it was easier this way. English is based on the Roman alphabet while Japanese has it's own set of characters (three different sets of characters actually). We had to take a different approach to learning the language because our native language was so dissimilar. In other areas, studying a language as a system can help us understand the nuances and subtle points of that language we might otherwise miss. In linguistic studies, this is often the case. I know in several courses I took, we looked at aspects of the English Language which had little to do with communication. You begin to understand where the language itself comes from and how we learn it. You begin to see how it was able to adapt and change over the centuries. It is interesting to study the science and hidden nuances behind the languages themselves.