Language is a systematic means of communicating by the use of sounds or conventional symbols
behaviour (Holmes ). LoCastro () explains the connection between worldview, language, thought, culture and communication: the also differences between the languages with regard to pronunciation, punctuation and spelling. The relationship between language and emotions can be viewed from two ( resembling other psychological processes such as thoughts or intentions). . can spell out the appraisal processes that link the occurrence of a situation to an Similarly, the directive force of culture in the form of rules and norms for conduct only. The relationship between language and cognition is a longstand- ing puzzle in Sczesny, & Braun, )? Do cultural differences in the types of spatial metaphors that language shape thought' question has proven to be a very difficult task. of attention. Diederik A. Stapel, Tilburg Institute for Behavioral Economics Re-.
If language, however, is conceived of in one or another way as contributing to how emotions are understood, or even, to what emotions "are", the relationship is not direct, but mediated.
It is this second orientation that I will take as a starting point for this paper. First, I will, in an admittedly rather eclectic fashion, discuss three approaches that revolve around language issues as a starting point to explore emotions section 1. I selected these three different approaches for two reasons: First, they start from quite different assumptions of what language is, how it functions, and in addition, with regard to its transparency. Examining the assumptions that lie behind the individual approaches will help reveal some of the background that led to my own "linguistic-constructionist" approach 3.
Second, although I am somewhat critical of all three theoretical frameworks discussed, they have been and still are the most appealing to me, in as far as they were most influential in my own thinking after my interest in the relationship between emotions and language had been spurred by two of my mentors, George Lakoff and Dick Lazarus, during my graduate training in Berkeley.
After having taken critical account of the three approaches, particularly with their underlying assumptions regarding the role of language and the approach to development invoked, I will turn in section 2 to a summary of some of my own findings. These originated from a project that was funded by The Spencer Foundation, having led me to see the need to continue this line of research with a stronger emphasis on cross- cultural comparisons.
In the last section of this paper section 3 I will turn to some more methodological and theoretical considerations with regard to the relationship of language and emotions, opening up the central issue of the role of language in the appropriation of the emotions and in their development. Language as a tool to explore emotions 1. Anna Wierzbicka's "universal semantics" In numerous articles, chapters and books Wierzbicka has explicated her theoretical stance on how to analyze emotions.
Emotions to her are a semantic domain a: These universals are of a conceptual nature and comprise elements such as feel, want, say, think, know, good, bad, and so on It is Wierzbicka's declared aim "to explore human emotions or any other conceptual domain from a universal, language-independent perspective" a: In her comparative study of language-dependent conceptualizations, Wierzbicka is able to document that "every language imposes its own classification upon human emotional experiences, and English words such as anger or sadness are cultural artifacts of the English language, not culture-free analytical tools" While the suggested set of semantic primitives that is assumed to exist in every human language started out with only fourteen, it is currently estimated Wierzbicka b, Goddard in press to have increased to about elements.
I did something because of this, something bad happened because of this, this person feels something bad X felt like this it is above everything it is above all places While the above explications resemble previous explications of situated and culturally shared meanings developed by GeertzLabov and FanshelMuch or Shwederit needs to be stressed that the explications within the NSM-framework are argued to operate from a non-contextual, culture free starting point.
The linguistic ideology evoked not only is that this objective starting point exists [in the form of the NSM], but also that the human mind is innately equipped with it.
In contrast to the universal orientation of Wierzbicka, an emotionology is a very local theory and taxonomywhich is said to consist of four general features. These features need close attention if an emotion is to be identified and labeled correctly: This is not meant to imply that emotionologies are the same as emotion display systems; but describing a person as angry, or in terms of the Ifaluk as doing metagu 'behaving inappropriately'passes a judgment on the person talked about, and implicates this person with regard to the performance of a particular illocutionary act.
Thus, emotion words do the job of orienting toward a particular "positioning" usually of those who are characterized by these terms within social encounters. If references to emotions - in the realm of texts - position people with regard to one another morally, aesthetically, and prudentiallythey function as indexes to how emotions in discourse situations are displayed, that is, what emotions mean as discursive acts.
Thus, employing emotionologies for the study of emotions as discursive acts orients us toward the study of language use in discourse situations. Stearnsin coining the term "emotional styles" - I assume somewhat under the influence of Geertz's notion of "cultural styles" - draws attention to the study of culture, though not by venturing into general hypotheses about universal functions and characteristics of emotions. Rather, culture means "gaining a comparative sense - how the emotion in question is different from one case to the next - even if the end result is primarily to understand one particular cultural expression In an apparent parallel with Wierzbicka, Lutz claims that "emotion can be viewed as a cultural and interpersonal process of naming, justifying, and persuading by people in relationship to each other" Lutz However, in contra- distinction to the former, the anthropology of emotions does not seem to claim psychological reality for the kind of conceptual analysis that is employed in the process of explicating the experiential, expressive, and regulative aspects of emotion displays.
However, this leaves the question open, as Oatley formulated in his review of Lutz's works, "of what emotions might be constructed from" Oatley Nancy Stein's theory of "goal-action-outcome knowledge" In a number of publications spanning over at least the last two decades, Nancy Stein and her associates have been investigating the cognitive capacity to simulate the plans and goals relevant to the understanding of human actions as part of the study of personal and social behavior e.
In this approach, knowledge of goals and plans is assumed to be the basic prerequisite to make sense of others, and it figures in the same capacity in explaining and reasoning about one's own actions, i.
Stein's original research in children's understanding of human intentionality in their story constructs has recently moved focus more strongly on the appraisal processes relevant to assessing the specific goals, values, and moral principles involved in the understanding of characters' actions.
And since knowledge about valued goals and their outcomes is taken to be heavily influential on how characters 'feel' and how they con-sequentially react, a model has emerged that is argued to capture the "meaning of emotions", i. Making use of a particular narrative interview technique, labelled the "on-line interview", individuals are continually monitored in their reporting of an emotional experience with regard to the status of their goals and valued preferences.
Since it is assumed that goals and action plans undergo changes within actual emotional experiences, this technique is supposed to tap these changes and thus facilitate to get 'beyond' the report of the experience 4.
LANGUAGE, CONCEPTS, AND EMOTIONS
The questions asked to gain these insights into the components of appraisal processes are: Emotions are schematically organized, i. However, they first of all are cognitions, constituting the motivational force for individuals to re act in a certain manner. It should be noted that the "goal-action-outcome" theory claims to be able to account for cultural and individual variations by decomposing the general intentional states into distinct components which can be filled in and arranged in culturally variable ways.
Language, culture and cognition: How are emotions learned? When, as in Stein's approach, emotions are approached as a representational system of some specific goal-plan-outcome knowledge, then the acquisition of categorial distinctions between the basic as well as culture-specific emotions consists in its most basic form of knowledge of intentional action and of goal plans.
According to Stein and her associates, these two knowledge types are acquired relatively early, at around three years of age. At this point, children can successfully differentiate the components that lead to English anger, sadness, fear, and happiness cf. Using narratives of real life emotional situations and subjecting them to on-line questions for on-line reasoning, Stein and her colleagues rely on language in its ideational, representational function, as a relatively transparent window to what the narrator means when talking about emotions.
The content of the topic is taken as what is of basic concern, and whether the narrator wants to be understood as blaming another person or saving face, i. Similarly, the directive force of culture in the form of rules and norms for conduct only becomes relevant as a 'secondary' force, i. Accordingly, we bring the set of culture-independent universals to the process of cognitive development, and out of these, the child has to narrow down the options that are chosen by the specific culture and "encoded" by the specific language in specific linguistic lexical forms.
Option number two would argue the other way around: The set of universals is 'learned' by way of abstracting them from the language specific forms and their local meanings which are learnt first. According to this version a culture-independent language could be the product of a reflective learning process that operates on top of a first language, that is after having developed a more detached position from one's own culture and language use.
Although I would be leaning toward this version, Wierzbicka seems to strongly favor the assumption that the universals are innate Wierzbicka bparticularly, since version two would downgrade her set of universals to linguistic constructs which are borne out of their own set of cultural practices and linguistic ideologies.
In other words, the desire of transcending one's own culture and language practices would have to be viewed as rooted in particular cultural practices, and as such can never become "objective" or in its absolute sense "culture-independent". Not withstanding Wierzbicka's on-target critique of the ethnocentric universalism of traditional emotion theories cf. In spite of the seeming challenge of figuring out the "real" set of semantic universals one that might hold for all emotion terms in all languagesone is left wondering whether Wierzbicka's rather undertheorized view of the cognition-language relationship has anything to contribute to how people in actual discourse settings talk - particularly in situations when they feel the need to implicate their own or somebody else's feelings or emotions - overtly by use of emotion terms, or covertly by use of other linguistic and nonlinguistic means.
Thus, I am not advocating in general to dismiss investigations of the lexicon of a language as unimportant, as Wierzbicka wants to understand my position Wierzbicka in press.
Rather, I consider lexical items in use for discursive purposes, as will be shown further below, as quite relevant for a discursive analysis.
This opens up space for investigations of the processes through which cultural knowledge obtains motivational force for individuals. However, the knowledge of scripts is not viewed to be organized in terms of taxonomic structures, as in the early days of cognitive anthropology, and neither is culture a monolithic unit.
With regard to the question of how emotions are acquired, we are pushed to look for a form of cultural learning that can incorporate aspects of Stein's and Wierzbicka's cognitive approaches under the auspices of a discursive orientation. A "linguistic-constructionist" approach to "emotions" 2. References to emotions as indexes Before presenting some of my own research on emotion talk, let me reiterate the constraining assumptions for my own approach: My original interest was and is emotion talk, or more precisely, talk about emotions - or better: Traditionally, we do not employ talk about topics such as rock formations or thunderstorms to investigate or explore such natural phenomena in themselves.
Only if we try to explore what experiences with natural objects mean to common though at times also: Thus, one of my guiding assumptions for my own investigations is that references to emotions are indexes not necessarily leading directly to the phenomenon. Rather, what is indexed is how a person wants to be understood. Thus, a term does not directly display its meaning, and an account of a happy or sad event does not directly display what happiness or sadness 'means'.
The person - so to speak - "interferes" by 'wanting to be understood'. And as such, the same emotion term or the same account of 'the same' event might mean something quite different in different contexts; and similarly, in particular contexts, other language forms might have the same "meaning" as the emotion term or the whole account under consideration. Consequently, exploring the range of possible meanings of emotion terms - in the sense of what they are used for in emotion talk - is at the core of the following investigations.
Rather, the examples and illustrations from some of my ongoing investigations into emotion talk in adults and children and across different languages and cultures are supposed to stand in for, and as such exemplify the orientation toward a more coherent approach to this very relationship, one that is meant to productively connect with the three approaches reviewed in the first section of this paper. References to emotions in third-person accounts My interest in the use of references to emotions and to other "inner states" originated within a broader study of children's and adults' abilities to tell a paged picture book Frog, Where Are You?
One of the first insights regarding the use of references to emotions that came out of this project reported in Bambergand was that such references did not necessarily "originate" from the pictures: Narrators of the picture story - often - chose to override a pictorially presented facial expression of one of the characters with a reference to the "opposite" emotion. For instance, a boy, whose face was obviously expressing anger, and who was linguistically referred to as angry when the picture was presented as a single, isolated picture, was referred to as happy by the same subject three minutes later when referring to this picture in the narrating activity of establishing the Frog, Where Are You?
First, in the sense that they seemed to refer to "internal states", they momentarily brought the flow of events to a halt. In doing so, these references marked the narrator's stepping out of the event line of the plot, and presented an evaluative stance or perspective with regard to the event under consideration.
A Mead Project source page
Second, these references typically occurred at episode boundaries, i. In this way references to emotions served the function to "transfix" two conjoined episodes, thereby contributing to the episodic flow of the narrative whole.
From these observations I concluded that references to emotions in this kind of narrative activity are not referential in the same sense as establishing a character or temporal and spatial reference points in narrative discourse.
Rather, they frame narrative units episodesand in this function "they are pervasive qualifications of the events they span and inform" Young They signal to the listener how the different narrative units are connected, and in doing so, they reveal an "overarching perspective" from which the narrative whole is being constructed.
When comparing the use of references marking the protagonist's "inner state" i. Thus, what at first sight looked to be a description of an internal state of the protagonist turned out on closer scrutiny to be the expression of a particular perspective for the discursive purpose of narrating.
Characterizing actions or events as occurring suddenly is an instruction to view these actions or events from the point of the character to whom they come "suddenly" or "unexpectedly", and thus can result in a "surprise", or a "scare".
Instructing the listener to take this particular point of view reveals the overarching narrative perspective from which the narrator has delineated single events and orchestrates them into a narrative whole. More specifically, at around the age of 4 years, children use emotion references to locally connect a single precipitating story event to an "internal" outcome "in" one of the story characters.
At around 8 years, children begin to tie together emotions, motivations and story events from a more global perspective, orienting their listeners more clearly to the narrative whole. At all times, however, references to emotions here as ascriptions to others function to construct a particular perspective that links or transfixes actions that would otherwise be seen as unmotivated and therefore as unconnected.
At this point, the critique could be launched that this function is typical but specific to discourse about third- persons, of which the picture book narration is yet another specific case.
Thus, in order to decide more conclusively whether the established audience function of emotion terms is unique for accounts from a third-person vantage point, we turned to emotion talk that was conducted from a first- person point of view.
Kimball Young: Social Attitudes: "Language, Thought and Social Reality"
References to emotions in first-person accounts In the following I will draw on an investigation in which we asked American-English-speaking children to tell emotion experiences from two different perspectives. Thus, with both elicitation questions children were required to "report" concrete, personally experienced incidents of so-called "emotion experiences".
In response to the first question, they were supposed to present the experience from the perspective of the "I" as undergoer where "the other" is to be constructed as the causal agentwhile the second question asked them to place the "I" in the role of the causal agent who instigated the emotion experience leaving "the other" to be constructed as the undergoer.
The first finding of this investigation reported in detail in Bamberg in press a, in press b consisted of two quite different profiles in the responses to the two different elicitation questions: Presentations of I as causal agent [and other as undergoer] for anger-scenarios were typically done by construing the I as inagentive, and the other as vague and de-individualized e. Further, the whole incident was presented in terms of a probable appearance by use of modality markers such as could, might, probably, or maybe or as a plain accident.
Examples 1 through 3 illustrate such construals: The other was kept in subject position, while the I occupied the direct object slot "me". Often implicit, though not plainly expressed in these constructions were implications that the act was not justified, such as in line 2 of example 5.
In general, children seemed to organize the latter type of accounts in sharp contradistinction to the first type of accounts: While the other as undergoer was constructed as inagentive, the I as undergoer was highly agentive; and while the other as causal agent was constructed as highly agentive, the I as causal agent was highly inagentive.
In spite of the fact that the scenario was kept the same "someone does something that causes someone else to become angry"it seems to make a real difference for American children as to who is doing what to whom.
Of course, it should be clear that the issue in these two different construction types is the difference in discourse purpose: Construing the other as highly agentive when the I is the undergoer serves the purpose of attributing blame.
The discursive force of this construction type is to align the audience with the person who gives the account, and potentially assist in a possible revenge scheme. In contrast, construing the I as inagentive when the other is the undergoer serves the purpose of saving face: Having been caught in the narrative act of inflicting physical harm on someone else is viewed as less aggravating when it was not fully intended, or at least, when the reasons for "who is to blame" cannot be clearly located.
To summarize, accounts that supposedly report one's own feelings and emotions as caused by others or that report someone else's emotions as caused by the same person who is doing the reporting are fashioned for different discursive purposes.
Grounded in these different purposes, the reports themselves gain their specific linguistic structure; none of them is "more real", "more true" or "less constructed" than the others. The way other and I are linguistically positioned with regard to one another at the plane of character construction cannot be viewed any longer as the linguistic re-presentation of events the way they "happened".
The differences in positions with regard to how the characters were aligned as well as with regard to the local moral order vis-a-vis the audience were washed out.
The discursive purposes that hold for first-person accounts are clearly different from those that require the narrator to take the perspective of a generalized other, with third-person accounts leaving open different perspectives to chose from.
Again, we elicited their accounts from three different actor-perspectives first-person, third-person, and generalized other perspectivethough here I will only touch upon their first-person accounts and summarize the more general conclusions and insights that we drew from this study. The following three accounts are typical answers to the elicitating question "Can you tell me about a time when you felt both sad and angry examples 6 and 8 [happy and sad example 7 ] at the same time?
Older children, and, more typically, young adults, who generally are more apt to construct dual emotion accounts, nevertheless seem to find it more difficult to coordinate two "simultaneous" perspectives on "anger" and "fear", which are actually two emotions of the same valence.
More relevant for the present purpose, examples 6 through 8 document clearly how narrators are employing linguistic means construction types to bring about the framing or "illusion"?
Apart from the different temporal reference points "was sad" versus "am angry"the narrator in example 6 employs the aspectual unboundedness of leaving to contrast with the aspectual boundedness of left, resulting in two different vantage points from which the same happening is being "perspectivized".
The same perspectivization is constructed in example 7: The state description of "being dead" is contrasted with the process of an activity that linguistically construes a syntactic subject with its semantic role of a potential agent.Language and Thought - Petrina Nomikou - TEDxAsociaciónEscuelasLincoln
In both examples, these differences in construction types impact on how the speakers seem to index their stance with regard to agency and responsibility: States and agentless happenings typically result in "sadness", with no animate agent to blame, while situations that evoke "anger" are more likely the results of willful, intentional actions brought about by animate others.
Example 8 illustrates a similar technique of event construal, here by use of two different perspectives on the situation of transitioning from high-school to college. While both predicates construct this situation by use of motion verbs, leaving focuses on the source, keeping the telos unspecified, and thereby orienting the audience with regard to the transition from home to college in a backward fashion.
In contrast, going keeps the source unspecified, and focuses on the telos of the motion. In this way, this construction orients forward, toward a future reference point. Simultaneously, the telic orientation of going in this example construes a more agentive perspective for the transition event, thereby setting up the contrast to the less agentive perspective for the act of leaving.
LANGUAGE, CONCEPTS, AND EMOTIONS
Though the contrast between these two construction types does not foreground as clearly as in the previous two examples who is responsible and blameworthy as in "anger"and what happened agentlessly and by "accident" for "sadness"the leaving perspective chosen for the event construal in example 8 nevertheless resembles the inagentive construction type that is typical for sadness accounts from third- and first-person perspectives.
The discussion of the examples is oriented to extrapolate two related points, one holding for the assumption of "having two emotions simultaneously", the second for "having emotions" in general. The first is meant to address the production of the appearance - or, if one prefers: The accounts given for situations of two simultaneously existing emotions are linguistically constructed from two different perspectives, perspectives that are not existent or available a priori and outside of language.
In other words, the ability to linguistically take different perspectives for different discursive purposes! Or, put more strongly, this discourse ability to take different perspectives on events, and to hold these perspectives concurrently, is the basic constituent out of which conceptual impressions such as "having two emotions simultaneously" are made of.
Consequently, this linguistic ability cannot be seen as being derived from two "actual" feeling constellations that are simultaneously "experienced", such as the simultaneous feelings of anger and sadness. Rather, these so-called "feeling states" are the products of conceptual framing, which in turn are the products of the linguistic ability to take perspectives.
If we accept that "having two emotions simultaneously" cannot be derived from the composite of two concurrent feeling states, or from the overlap of two emotion concepts applied to one situation conceptbut that it is the product of the linguistic ability to view a situation for two discursive purposes, we may be forced to apply this insight also to how references to single emotions are maintained and achieved.
We will follow this argument in a more elaborated fashion in the concluding section section 3. However, let me recall briefly here that Trabasso and Steinwho came to the same conviction, namely that reports of so-called double-emotions two simultaneously occurring feeling states are retrospective accounts of what might have actually taken place sequentially rather than at the same timeargue along similar lines, namely that it is the verbal account that 'gives rise to the illusion' of the actual possibility of holding more than one emotion at the same time see endnote 4 above.
Confusing "sad" and "angry" - a case for genre in the appropriation of emotions 2.
Introduction to the study In this section I want to present in more detail than in the previous sections a study in which children's responses to the two questions of "being sad" and "being angry" are compared across the four age groups.
While primarily being concerned with accounts given in the first person the genre of personal, past experienceswe will consider some features of accounts of the same situations given in the generalized person perspective the genre of explanatory discourse. To briefly recall the elicitation conditions, the first person accounts were responses to the question: First, it really seems to be of importance to convey a sense of methodology, i.
Thus, the methodological pursuit in the studies summarized thus far and presented in more detail next is not simply focusing on a different "level of analysis" when compared with the frameworks of Wierzbicka and Stein presented in section 1 above. Rather, it starts from some rather different assumptions and leads to different insights, some of them compatible, while others may be not. Second, it is deemed to be of utmost importance to give the reader some better insights into the actual nature of how constructionism "constructs" the building blocks out of which social and individual constructs are made.
Thus, in the following we will specify in considerably more detail what processes are at work when emotions are given meaning. In particular, we will turn to linguistic, grammatical analyses to show how intricate the building blocks are interwoven and embedded in social practices. Third, the following study is explicitly developmental, and therefore in its very nature can reveal interesting insights into how the child here the American English-speaking puts together language, thought, and emotion in the act of communication.
This, in turn, can lead to improve our theoretical considerations with regard to the relationship between language, cognition, and emotion. Actually, this particular investigation originally was stimulated by an accidental, though intriguing observation that we stumbled across in the process of data elicitation: When asking the children ranging from preschoolers to 3rd-graders a battery of 12 consecutive questions, all revolving around 'having been angry, sad, scared, and happy', we repeatedly heard some of the children maintaining that one or another question had already been answered.
Looking closer at where this happened, we realized that these kinds of confusions occurred solely with questions regarding angry and sad, but never with any of the other ones. In addition, when we asked these children to give us an answer anyway, most often, the accounts given were word-for-word repetitions. Furthermore, it appeared as if these "confusions" only occurred in response to the first-person questions: Can you tell me what happened that day? These observations, although based on very preliminary evidence, nevertheless seemed to us intriguing enough to follow up with the investigation into the question of whether or not there is actually any support for the assumption that American English-speaking children might at an early age confuse the two emotions anger and sadness.
And if this turns out to be the case, it should be determined, whether this confusion is more typical for any of the different genres under consideration. However, Stein and her associates also point to the similarities between anger and sadness in that both emotions are typically evoked by the same goal outcome patterns, i.
With regard to other sources that report a potential fusion or confusion of anger and sadness, I could only locate some spattered hints in linguistic and anthropological reports about a number of African languages which, at least at the lexical level, do not seem to draw a distinctive line between what in English is divided into anger and sadness.
Drawing on reports by Davitz and Leff as their sources, Heelas and Matsumoto maintain a similar opinion, namely that "some African languages have one word that covers what the English language suggests are two emotions - anger and sadness Leff, Likewise, Lutz suggests that the Ifaluk word song can be described sometimes as anger and sometimes as sadness" Matsumuto In addition, Heelas argues that "English- speaking Ugandans do not distinguish between 'sadness' and 'anger', as we do crying being an important feature of our distinction but not for Ugandans " It remains unclear from the reports, what aspects actually are expressed in Swahili, and what supposedly might lead bilingual Swahili speakers to use only one English lexical expression for covering both meanings of English sad and anger.
Actually, the literature reported does not even say which English expression is used, angry or sad. Another interesting observation that points in the same direction stems from Fischer's investigation of how Dutch speakers make sense of the Dutch equivalent to 'anger'. In evaluations of the emotion 'anger', Dutch adult subjects displayed two different attitudes according to where the incident that led to the emotion took place: Such languages are generally built up from parts of the vocabulary and grammatical apparatus of the better-known existing languages of the world.
The relationship between the written letter and its pronunciation is more systematic than with many existing orthographies English spelling is notoriously unreliable as an indication of pronunciationand care is taken to avoid the grammatical irregularities to which all natural languages are subject and also to avoid sounds found difficult by many speakers e.
These artificial languages have not made much progress, though an international society of Esperanto speakers does exist. Nationalistic influences on language Deliberate interference with the natural course of linguistic changes and the distribution of languages is not confined to the facilitating of international intercourse and cooperation. Language as a cohesive force for nation-states and for linguistic groups within nation-states has for long been manipulated for political ends.
Multilingual states can exist and prosper; Switzerland is a good example. But linguistic rivalry and strife can be disruptive. Language riots have occurred in Belgium between French and Flemish speakers and in parts of India between rival vernacular communities.
A language can become or be made a focus of loyalty for a minority community that thinks itself suppressed, persecuted, or subjected to discrimination. The French language in Canada in the midth century is an example. A language may be a target for attack or suppression if the authorities associate it with what they consider a disaffected or rebellious group or a culturally inferior one.
There have been periods when American Indian children were forbidden to speak a language other than English at school and when pupils were not allowed to speak Welsh in British state schools in Wales. Both these prohibitions have been abandoned. After the Spanish Civil War of the s, Basque speakers were discouraged from using their language in public as a consequence of the strong support given by the Basques to the republican forces.
Interestingly, on the other side of the Franco-Spanish frontier, French Basques were positively encouraged to keep their language in use, if only as an object of touristic interest and consequent economic benefit to the area. Translation So far, some of the relatively large-scale effects of culture contacts on languages and on dialects within languages have been surveyed.
A continuous concomitant of contact between two mutually incomprehensible languages and one that does not lead either to suppression or extension of either is translation. As soon as two users of different languages need to converse, translation is necessary, either through a third party or directly.
Before the invention and diffusion of writing, translation was instantaneous and oral; persons professionally specializing in such work were called interpreters. In predominantly or wholly literate communities, translation is thought of as the conversion of a written text in one language into a written text in another, though the modern emergence of the simultaneous translator or professional interpreter at international conferences keeps the oral side of translation very much alive.
The main problems have been recognized since antiquity and were expressed by St. Semantically, these problems relate to the adjustment of the literal and the literary and to the conflicts that so often occur between an exact translation of each word, as far as this is possible, and the production of a whole sentence or even a whole text that conveys as much of the meaning of the original as can be managed.
These problems and conflicts arise because of factors already noticed in the use and functioning of language: Even between the languages of communities whose cultures are fairly closely allied, there is by no means a one-to-one relation of exact lexical equivalence between the items of their vocabularies.
In their lexical meanings, words acquire various overtones and associations that are not shared by the nearest corresponding words in other languages; this may vitiate a literal translation. In modern times translators of the Bible into the languages of peoples culturally remote from Europe are well aware of the difficulties of finding a lexical equivalent for lamb when the intended readers, even if they have seen sheep and lambs, have no tradition of blood sacrifice for expiation or long-hallowed associations of lambs with lovableness, innocence, and apparent helplessness.
The English word uncle has, for various reasons, a cozy and slightly comic set of associations. This is because poetry is, in the first instance, carefully contrived to express exactly what the poet wants to say.
Second, to achieve this end, poets call forth all the resources of the language in which they are composing, matching the choice of words, the order of words, and grammatical constructions, as well as phonological features peculiar to the language in metreperhaps supplemented by rhymeassonanceand alliteration. The available resources differ from language to language; English and German rely on stress-marked metres, but Latin and Greek used quantitative metres, contrasting long and short syllables, while French places approximately equal stress and length on each syllable.
Translators must try to match the stylistic exploitation of the particular resources in the original language with comparable resources from their own. Because lexical, grammatical, and metrical considerations are all interrelated and interwoven in poetry, a satisfactory literary translation is usually very far from a literal word-for-word rendering.
The more poets rely on language form, the more embedded their verses are in that particular language and the harder the texts are to translate adequately. This is especially true with lyrical poetry in several languages, with its wordplay, complex rhymes, and frequent assonances.
Remarkable advances in automatic computer translation were made during the s—the result of progress in computational techniques and a fresh burst of research energy focused on the problem—while the spread of the Internet in subsequent decades transformed approaches to, and the ease of, all forms of translation. Translation on the whole is, arguably, more art than science. The Italian epigram remains justified: Sometimes people want to restrict it.
Confidential messages require for their efficacy that they be known to and understood by only the single person or the few persons to whom they are addressed.
Such are diplomatic exchanges, operational messages in wartime, and some transmissions of commercial information. Protection of written messages from interception has been practiced for many centuries.
Twentieth-century developments in telegraphy and telephonyand the emergence and growth of the Internet, made protection against unauthorized reception more urgent, whether of texts transmitted as speech or those sent as series of letters of the alphabet. Codes and ciphers cryptography are of much longer standing in the concealment of written messages, though their techniques are being constantly developed. Such gains are, of course, countered by developments in the techniques of decipherment and decoding as distinct from getting hold of the key to the system in use.
An important by-product of such techniques has been the reading and interpretation of inscriptions written in otherwise unknown languages or unknown writing systems for which no translation exists.
Linear B inscribed tablet, c. It has been pointed out above that the process of first-language acquisition as a medium of communication is largely achieved from random exposure. There is legitimate controversy, however, over the nature and extent of the positive contribution that the human brain brings, both cognitively and linguistically, to the activity of grammar construction—the activity by which children develop an indefinitely creative competence from the finite data that make up their actual experience of the language.
The importance of social interaction between children and their interlocutors is another significant factor. Creativity is what must be stressed as the product of first-language acquisition. By far the greater number of all the sentences people create during their lifetime are new; that is, they have not occurred before in their personal experience.
But individuals find no difficulty at all in understanding at once almost everything they hear or otherwise receive or for the most part in producing sentences to suit the requirements of every situation. This very ease of creativity in human linguistic competence makes it hard to realize its extent. It is simply part of what is expected in growing up. Different people may be singled out for praise in certain uses of their language, as good public speakers, authors, poets, tellers of tales, and solvers of puzzles, but not just as communicators.
Bilingualism The learning of a second and of any subsequently acquired language is quite a separate matter. Of course, many people never do master significantly more than their own first language. It is only in encountering a second language that one realizes how complex language is and how much effort must be devoted to subsequent acquisition. It has been said that the principal obstacle to learning a language is knowing one already, and common experience suggests that the faculty of grammar construction exhibited in childhood is one that is gradually lost as childhood recedes.
AdstockRF Whereas most people master their native language with unconscious ease, individuals vary in their ability to learn additional languages, just as they vary in other intellectual activities.
Situational motivationhowever, appears to be by far the strongest influence on the speed and apparent ease of this learning. The greatest difficulty is experienced by those who learn because they are told to or are expected to, without supporting reasons that they can justify. Given a motive other than external compulsion or expectation, the task is achieved much more easily this, of course, is an observation in no way confined to language learning.
In Welsh schools, for instance, it has been found that English children make slower progress in Welsh when their only apparent reason for learning Welsh is that there are Welsh classes. Welsh children, on the other hand, make rapid progress in English, the language of most further education, the newspapers, most television and radio, most of the better-paid jobs, and any job outside Welsh-speaking areas.
Similar differences in motivation have accounted for the excellent standard of English, French, and German acquired by educated persons in the Scandinavian countries and in the Netherlands, small countries whose languages, being spoken by relatively few foreigners, are of little use in international communication. This attainment may be compared with the much poorer showing in second-language acquisition among comparably educated persons in England and the United States, who have for long been able to rely on foreigners accommodating to their ignorance by speaking and understanding English.
It is sometimes held that children brought up bilingually in places in which two languages are regularly in use are slower in schoolwork than comparable monolingual children, as a greater amount of mental effort has to be expended in the mastery of two languages. This has by no means been proved, and indeed there is evidence to the contrary.
The question of speed of general learning by bilinguals and monolinguals must be left open. It is quite a separate matter from the job of learning, by teaching at home or in school, to read and write in two languages; this undoubtedly is more of a labour than the acquisition of monolingual literacy.
Two types of bilingualism have been distinguished, according to whether the two languages were acquired from the simultaneous experience of the use of both in the same circumstances and settings or from exposure to each language used in different settings an example of the latter is the experience of English children living in India during the period of British ascendancy there, learning English from their parents and an Indian language from their nurses and family servants.
However acquired, bilingualism leads to mutual interference between the two languages; extensive bilingualism within a community is sometimes held partly responsible for linguistic change.
Interference may take place in pronunciation, in grammar, and in the meanings of words. Speaking, signing, and writing are learned skills, but there the resemblance ends. Children learn their first language at the start involuntarily and mostly unconsciously from random exposure, even if no attempts at teaching are made. Literacy is deliberately taught and consciously and deliberately learned.
There is ongoing debate on the best methods and techniques for teaching literacy in various social and linguistic settings. Literacy is learned by a person already possessed of the basic structure and vocabulary of his language. Such facts should be obvious, but the now-accepted standard of near-universal literacy in technologically advanced countries, along with the fact that in second-language learning one usually acquires speech and writing skills at the same time, tends to bring these parts of language learning under one head.
Literacy is manifestly a desirable attainment for all communities, though not necessarily in all languages. It must be borne in mind that there are many distinct languages spoken in the world today by fewer than 1, or or even 50 persons. The capital investment in literacy, including teaching resources, teacher time and training, printing, publications, and so forth, is vast, and it can be economically and socially justified only when applied to languages used and likely to continue to be used by substantial numbers over a wide area.
Literacy is in no way necessary for the maintenance of linguistic structure or vocabulary, though it does enable people to add words from the common written stock in dictionaries to their personal vocabulary very easily. It is worth emphasizing that until relatively recently in human history all languages were spoken or signed by illiterate speakers and that there is no essential difference as regards pronunciation, structure, and complexity of vocabulary between spoken or signed languages that have writing systems used by all or nearly all their speakers and the languages of illiterate communities.
Literacy has many effects on the uses to which language may be put; storage, retrieval, and dissemination of information are greatly facilitatedand some uses of language, such as philosophical system building and the keeping of detailed historical records, would scarcely be possible in a community wholly without writing. In these respects the lexical content of a language is affected, for example, by the creation of sets of technical terms for philosophical writing and debate.
Because the permanence of writing overcomes the limitations of memory span imposed on speech or signing, sentences of greater length can easily occur in writing, especially in types of written language that are not normally read aloud and that do not directly represent what would be spoken.
An examination of some kinds of oral literaturehowever, reveals the ability of the human brain to receive and interpret spoken sentences of considerable grammatical complexity. In relation to pronunciationwriting does not prevent the historical changes that occur in all languages. Part of the apparent irrationality of English spellingsuch as is found also in some other orthographies, lies just in the fact that letter sequences have remained constant while the sounds represented by them have changed.
For example, the gh of light once stood for a consonant sound, as it still does in the word as pronounced in some Scots dialects, and the k of knave and knight likewise stood for an initial k sound compare the related German words Knabe and Knecht. A few relatively uncommon words, including some proper names, are reformed phonetically, specifically to bring their pronunciation more in line with their spelling. Spelling pronunciations, as these are called, are a product of general literacy.
In London the pronunciation of St. Aristotle expressed the relation thus: But it is not as simple as this would suggest. Alphabetic writing, in which, broadly, consonant and vowel sounds are indicated by letters in sequence, is the most widespread system in use today, and it is the means by which literacy will be disseminatedbut it is not the only system, nor is it the earliest. Evolution of writing systems Writing appears to have been evolved from an extension of picture signs: Other words or word elements not readily represented pictorially could be assigned picture signs already standing for a word of the same or nearly the same pronunciation, perhaps with some additional mark to keep the two signs apart.
This opens the way for what is called a character script, such as that of Chinesein which each word is graphically represented by a separate individual symbol or character or by a sequence of two or more such characters. Writing systems of this sort have appeared independently in different parts of the world. Chinese character writing has for many centuries been stylized, but it still bears marks of the pictorial origin of some characters.
Chinese characters and the characters of similar writing systems are sometimes called ideograms, as if they directly represented thoughts or ideas. This is not so. Chinese characters stand for Chinese words or, particularly as in modern Chinese, bits of words logograms ; they are the symbolization of a particular language, not a potentially universal representation of thought.
Character writing is laborious to learn and imposes a burden on the memory. Alternatives to it, in addition to alphabetic writing, include scripts that employ separate symbols for the syllable sequences of consonants and vowels in a language, with graphic devices to indicate consonants not followed by a vowel. The Devanagari script, in which classical Sanskrit and modern Hindi are written, is of this type, and the Mycenaean writing system, a form of Greek writing in use in the 2nd millennium bce and quite independent of the later Greek alphabet, was syllabic in structure.
Japanese employs a mixed system, broadly representing the roots of words by Chinese characters kanji and the inflectional endings by syllable signs kana. These syllable signs are an illustration of the way in which a syllabic script can develop from a character script: