SOCIETY AND LANGUAGE
Society refers to a group of individuals bound by a set of relationships, whether functional or personal, public or private, they generally involve a balance of language.
Within groups, social and language can be interpreted in many situations, ranging from chatter to speech or from advertising pamphlets to literary novels. It is true that the faculty of language is linked to various cerebral centres that command the different organs, but all these centres control only parts of the language, because the synthesis only takes place at the social level of exchange, learning and actual practice of the language. Language is therefore a social function, made possible by biological functioning.
Omnipresent in society, it is elaborated, preserved and modified by social interactions, and constitutes an integral part of collective representations. In the same way, society is conditioned by language, since social communication determines the daily conduct of its members and constitutes the main point of social organization. Language is therefore a social phenomenon which is the indispensable instrument of society and on which it acts continuously. Even if it is the founding phenomenon of society, it sometimes becomes a divisive factor, hence the need for an ethic of communication.
RELATIONSHIP AND QUESTIONING
The links between society and language are very close, it is even difficult to imagine one without the other. While animals have only the voice, human beings have language – some philosophers will say that it is to distinguish between the just and the unjust. Having notions like language and society are what makes a family, a homeland.
The relationship between these two notions is complex and has always been so for decades. Between theories and hypotheses, many intellectuals have asked themselves questions about these existential subjects. For example, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis tries to explain how language influences the world view. One could also ask the question of what comes first between society or language? Is your worldview influenced by your knowledge of the language or is your language influenced by the culture you live in? Indeed, we have the eternal debate of the chicken or the egg.
For example, there are many differences between languages in categorizing identical things, like river and river in English they are not identified in the same way as in French for example. For example, when in English we focus on the size of the river to determine if it is a river in France, we focus on the flow of the water to identify which river it will flow into afterwards. But is this due to the different geographical characteristics of each country or is it due to the way words have shaped the way these two peoples perceive water bodies differently?
It would seem that societal factors play a more than an obvious role in our way of speaking, there is one area to study it which is sociolinguistics. Age and gender are considered important factors that can have an impact on language use, but context and circumstances often determine what is or is not appropriate in a conversation.
Sometimes you may notice cultural differences when you are trying to understand your client, for example, and he uses one word rather than another to express a task and you would have used a different word to translate the same thing.
LANGUAGE DEFINES THE WAY OF THINKING
Scientists have conducted various studies on how language influences society, what people think and how they behave. Culture affects the way a person speaks and language is part of the culture.
An American behavioural economist asked whether a person’s ability to save is affected by language. He found that the language gap also shows economic differences. It would appear that people who do not strictly define time in their language, as is the case with Chinese, tend to save more than those who speak languages that distinguish between past, present, and future actions.
The way we interpret the things we feel and hear is influenced by personal experiences, norms, cultural rules, traditions and languages. Thoughts come from words and they initiate behaviour.
International communication and global trade are also influenced by languages, to do business effectively in other countries the company must be able to convey messages to its employees and target customers in clear and understandable language. Indeed, all forms of communication must be translated into the local language so that the interpretation is clear. It is also important to adapt its employees to local and corporate culture. This training must be highly personalised according to the experience and culture of the people.
If you really understand a language and the differences it has, you will be better able to understand and discover clues about what constitutes correct and incorrect behaviour for the local culture.
LANGAGE ET COMPORTEMENTS
According to a scientific study, it seems that adults do not realize the impact of their words on children, the younger the child, the greater the effect. Indeed a very young child has no sense of time, denying him or her something could mean a protest through bad behaviour.
As the ability to express oneself in a language develops, the child’s behaviour improves.
A language is a communication tool, it is also very important for showing social behaviour. It is used to interact with the rest of the world and self-regulation of behaviour requires the presence of language. The child learns to use language to influence the behaviour of others and expresses feelings and emotions through language. These are the same rules that also apply to adults.
If you would like to discuss the influence of language on society with people from all over the world you can go to the language exchange page on our site.
Written by: Lisa Lambert, Staff Writer