Evaluate the Strengths and Weaknesses of Language as a WOK Language may often be defined as “a body of words and the systems for their use common to people who are of the same community or nation, the same geographical area, or the same culture/tradition” (dictionary. reference. com). Although language is a basis for communication, it has many forms and variations, not only specific to the same lingual group or nation, thus causing it to present both strengths and weaknesses depending on the situation in which language is used.
Many characteristics of language, such as: specificity, translation and communication, can be evaluated in order to better understand the strengths and weaknesses they present, which then gives us a better overall picture on language as a way of knowing. The first characteristic of language that can be examined is the specificity of language and how it contributes both strengths and weaknesses to the general concept of language itself. Language can be both vague and misinterpreted, as well as being very specific in the sense of the choice of words one may use.
The strength to this characteristic is that words are always used to describe certain things; whether it be emotion, thoughts or ideas, and there are specific words created that are specifically created for certain things so that one may be able to accurately represent or convey an idea that they have. For example, Jargon is defined as specialized or specific vocabulary that is used in a particular profession, whether it be a doctor or a pilot.
The advantages to having Jargon in professions, is that it creates new words that can only be associated to that specific job, which would make it easier for the professionals of those jobs to convey ideas to one another by using the specific vocabulary, or jargon, instead of trying to use colloquial language to convey the same ideas. However, this does present a very prominent weakness where words become to get too specific and start to develop several connotations in which they mean completely different things in different situations.
Because of the many connotations a word may have, language can often be easily misunderstood as words may be used in a situation where the implied connotation differs from one’s own personal assumption of the meaning, therefore altering their perception. Metaphors are also prime examples of how words can confuse the meaning of a sentence as they play around with connotations that often lead to the alteration of one’s perception based on the confusion given by the metaphor. Even though the specificity of language has both strengths and weaknesses, it can be observed that this characteristic of language may definitely alter ones perception.
Another characteristic of language is how it is the basis for all communication of intelligent life forms and how its strengths and weaknesses can define language’s limitations. Language is excellent in giving us a way of communicating with one another, making the idea of communication easy and extremely efficient, however, it also presents a weakness in the way we comprehend it when we communicate with one another, as several errors may present in a sentence or just a simple misunderstanding can occur between individuals.
A big strength to the idea of language being the central concept to communication is that language, whether it be expressed verbally or through gestures (often known as body language), is essentially how we communicate with one another. The benefits to communication through language, is that it is definitely an extremely efficient way of conveying and expressing ideas, as well as being able to teach one another new ideas that have been communicated through books and lectures, which all use language to communicate their ideas to other people.
However, communication does have certain weaknesses associated with it, the main one being that communication, can more often than not, be the fault of many problems and incidents that occur in and around the world. Miscommunications due to misspelled words or even simple grammatical errors may introduce an element of confusion that could lead to possible mishaps or mistakes as a direct result of miscommunicated language.
There have been many incidents in history where aircraft crashes or the massacre of falsely accused fugitives have occurred as a result of language and how it has been miscommunicated to the personnel. Although communication is what makes language extremely efficient, the many possible mishaps that can occur through the miscommunication of ideas can lead to altering several ways of knowing, especially perception, as one might perceive a situation differently depending on whether or not an idea is fully communicated through the use of language.
Lastly, another major feature of language is how translation can be both a positive and negative aspect in terms of understanding cultures and gaining knowledge. There are many different forms of language such as Spanish, French, and Arabic etc. and within each language; people have the ability to use translation to communicate ideas from one language into another. However, translation is not always accurate when trying to convey these ideas across languages, as sometimes each language may have its own set of vocabulary or expression only present in that one language.
A major strength shown by the characteristic of translation is that language itself allows us to learn more about cultures and history by using translation. The use of translation is extremely pertinent in acquiring the new knowledge about these cultures and history as it gives us the ability to translate a foreign language into a language that we are familiar with in order to comprehend what was conveyed by the foreign language.
Archaeology provides an excellent example of the use of translation, as many archaeologists often dig up objects inscribed in a foreign language that is then able to be translated into a more familiar language, thus providing the opportunity for society as a whole to acquire this new information. However, although translation gives us the ability to switch between languages, it can often be extremely faulty and inaccurate; as each language has different grammatical rules that when translated may not give an accurate meaning as to what was initially written in that foreign language.
This can often pose as a problem between governments of foreign countries, as some phrases and expressions cannot be translated from one language to another as specific words found in that language only, may not exist in another, which makes translating memos and letters very challenging as often a translation may alter the meaning of the sentence. The ability to translate languages is an amazing characteristic of language providing the ability to gain new knowledge, but there is also a certain element of uncertainty as translated sentences often do not reflect the true meaning of the original extract.
In conclusion, even though language is the basis for communication, its strengths and weaknesses cause language to have both positive and negative effects on society as a whole. Translation, communication and specificity are all characteristics of language that definitely allow humans to acquire and gain new knowledge as a result of the effects each characteristic has on the general idea of language as a whole. More importantly, language is definitely an important way of knowing for society to understand, as in order for use to gain this new knowledge that e have found and to teach it to our community, we have to know and understand the idea of language and how it has a significant impact on other ways of knowing such as perception. Language is one of the most advanced accomplishments that mankind as a whole have managed to achieve, and all though it has its drawbacks, language has definitely shaped humans as a species and heavily contributed to the advancement and evolution of human beings.