Language and knowledge - Sample Essay

Discuss the relationship between language and knowledge Language and knowledge have certain intrinsic worth and we consider that the existence of one is vital for the existence of the other one. In order to examine the relationship between language and knowledge we need to term them respectively. Knowledge can be defined as the info that we use from our everyday life to the difficult theories of philosophers and researchers. Some samples are ‘I love you’ and ‘the earth is moving around its axes’.

Here we have information on our belief (I believe that I love you) and information of a fact, which is derived from thinking (I think that theearth is moving around its axes). Consequently, we can come to a definition that knowledge is a result of three levels, where data are combined to set up information, then by synthesising them with conclusions you come to knowledge. For example, data are such as ‘Monday, hate, rain, morning’, and by synthesising correctly ‘On Monday morning I hate to rain’, and synthesise it with the conclusion of a past unpleasant experience of one rainy Monday morning, then you are acknowledged that I hate if it will rains again on Monday morning. In general knowledge is derived from the validation of generalisation.

On the other hand, language realistically is a product of the impulse of humans to exchange knowledge or opinions about it. Language is not only a mean of communication but it is also a barrier. If two people both speak the same language, they can communicate with each other and exchange ideas. If they speak different languages, and do not have a language in common, communication is difficult. Although there has never been truly a universal language, there have been some periods when a single cultural areas did share a common language, for instance Greek in the eastern parts of the Roman Empire and in the Byzantine word.

Nowadays there are more than three thousand kinds of languages, which differ not merely in their vocabularies but also in the way they are constructed. In interpreting the significance of what is said to us we take account not merely of what is said, but also the way in which it is said: volume, intonation, stress, accent and speed, any supporting gestures, and the demeanour of the speaker. Our speech is often supported with gestures, this is customary in Mediterranean countries where the speech is supplemented by a great variety of manual gestures, and a speaker’s hand is rarely still.

What’s more, the way we stand and hold ourselves may convey hesitancy, hostility, servility, good will, and so on. We call these forms of non-verbal communication body language. There are, as well, cases where we learn much from other people through their unconscious body language. Unintentional signs of our thoughts, attitudes and intentions may be detected by facial expression, eye contact, dilation of the pupils of the eye, sweating, and so forth. These signs may also differ from culture to culture, and because they are not under conscious control, they may be the cause of serious misunderstandings. An case is when a

woman is flirting with a man using eye contact in France is natural but in India s unthinkable since woman’s place in society differs. In addition, there are sign languages which are genuine non verbal languages used by the deaf which have vocabularies of thousands of words, and grammars as sophisticated and complex as any verbal language. One of the most crucial questions concerning language is whether all thought necessarily takes place in language and thought consists with knowledge. The commonest point of view is that we first think, and then express our thoughts in language. This has two implications, firstly that

thought is quite independent of language, and secondly that language depends wholly upon thought. For the first case, where we first think and then externalise thoughts in words, the ideas we have when we think may be put into words. These words in some way capture those ideas. When we wish to communicate our thoughts to someone else, we use language as the vehicle to ‘transfer’ them to the other individual, who hears them. This recipient then haul out the meaning from the words he hears, so that the idea of the original thinker becomes present in his own mind. On this view language functions rather like a telephone.

We first speak into the phone, the sound waves are converted into electrical impulses and carried along the wires, and then at the other end the electrical impulses are converted back into sound waves once more. Even though the first case is based on common sense, in this century philosophers have called it “Language Myth”. The reason is that there is evidence to suggest that the relation between language and thought may be much closer than we normally imagine. In consequence, it has been argued that without language we cannot think at all a higher sense, and consequently that all our knowledge must be carried by and in our language.

Furthermore, we found it difficult to express feelings , which are spontaneous where there is no time to think. For example when a bee pinches you, you instinctively say: ‘I am in pain’. Clearly this does not apply and such points have seemed to many to undermine our traditional relationship between words and thoughts. A strong example of the inverse function of the relationship between words and thoughts is in George Orwell’s writing ‘1984’.

Through his book he revealed his fearful prediction of totalitarian governments that would fashion this power to influence language in their own interests as a tool of their despotism. He envisioned a new language called ‘Newspeak’, that constantly reduces the number of words from the English vocabulary, by erasing the synonyms of words, and in that way the citizens will consequently reduce their thoughts. Last of all, we conclude that language constitutes the optimal vehicle for enhancing knowledge while thought without knowledge is significant to life only with instincts. Language developed given that people wanted cognitive capability, which goes hand in hand with linguistic capability since language and knowledge developed inversely with mankind.