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‘Language as a Medium of Communication, Culture, and Tool’

It's a man-made gift to the human race which is helping till now to demonstrate and represent our self, our ideas, our ideology, our humanity, our service and commitment

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– by L. Krishna Reddy 

February 12, 2017: Language is the human capacity of acquiring and using of complex systems of communication.

Language is a medium for interaction, exchanging ideas, understand feelings of others, and for the development of the human race existing on this planet.

The only medium or the basic element that comes in use for understanding it is the language that we speak makes us understand and allows us to live in peace and harmony by understanding the feelings and problems of others by exchange of talks on the desk of peace.

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The language that a person speaks describes the character and his/her personality. It’s a medium through which a person delivers his or her ideas to the world. Learning a language is all about knowing how to communicate with a different section of people on the other side of the world.

Language plays an important role in the world of trade, international agendas and many other top official things.

Language also influences a person’s life not by its literature but by its people who speak the language. It’s we humans who give the language it’s real value.

Let me share an incident when I was in Assam. I fell in love with its beauty of nature until I reached the place where I was going to stay. I saw weird insects, plants and reptiles and I started hating it. Then it was their language which I was new to. At first I didn’t understand it but then one of my friends made me learn the language a bit and soon I started to like it and then I started going down the streets chatting with locals. I had a great time as the people were appreciating my fluency and all through I mapped most of the places on my own with the help of the language I learnt.

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From that time, I have an interest in exploring. It’s really interesting when a person explores places knowing just how to communicate in their language. For me learning languages has helped a lot, it has helped me in knowing and exploring new places unknown to me and ways of dealing in different places among markets and shops.

Language has sub divisions of their own

  • Culture
  • Literature
  • People

These three things give the importance of a language.

Culture describes the community of people who have a set of stereotypes of living in a society of their own and a different language which is used for their communication.

Literature describes the beauty of the language in the fields of fiction, poetry and plays.

People make the language get its importance in a society of different class or of some new people. A person is like a Representative of his language in a society of unknown people.

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Many scientific research has been done in the field of language, tracing it to the past and trying to know the ideas and their implementations.

Scientific research in the field of language has led to the era of communication through technology and artificial intelligence. In the present generation there are many specific languages used for the operation of machines, for example, C language is used to design software for computers, binary language and codes are used in electronics etc.

Research has taken language from the exchange of words between humans to the words exchanged between humans and machines.

In the past, the trace of language was believed to be originated from a shower of cosmic ray happened during the time of very first existence of humans on earth. There has been a lot of myths and theories regarding the word language. Well it has been found that language existed before the humans and there are no other traces that can be found to find its actual origin.

Language describes the physical condition of human beings. As it has been explained through biological research, there are specific parts in the brain of humans specially for the language they speak or learn.

There is also a structure for language. According to modal language structures, language is based on two elements, sounds that human produce and gestures which means signs used in language. Meaning of a statement in a specific language exists through sound and gestures that a human uses while speaking. Sounds bring emotions and gestures which relates to grammar of the language builds the sense of brain into words.

Language is not only a set of words with a meaning it’s more than that. It’s a weapon or a tool that drives the screw inside the wall, a tool which fits the wheels and make the thing move.

It’s a man-made gift to the human race which is helping till now to demonstrate and represent our self, our ideas, our ideology, our humanity, our service and commitment.

Centre for Social Action (CSA) is the development wing of Christ University. Set up in 1999, it believes in strengthening student community with a view to enabling positive changes in the society. Athina Ann Thomas is a volunteer at the organisation.

 

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Science writing: A neglected form of literature that needs focus

Science has more to teach us about ourselves, our past and future, than any preacher, politician or philosopher ever could

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The scientists across various disciplines are dealing with the mysteries of life, the universe and everything else. Wikimedia Commons
The scientists across various disciplines are dealing with the mysteries of life, the universe and everything else. Wikimedia Commons

Along with philosophers, tax lawyers and computer programmers, scientists are perceived as speaking in a language which is supposedly the same as that of common people, but scarcely intelligible to them. And then they use strange symbols, complicated equations, and considerable jargon to talk of “things” unlikely to affect an average person’s life or to be even seen without specialised equipment.

So can scientific writing in any way be even comparable to literature? Yes, for scientists, across various disciplines, are also dealing with the mysteries of life, the universe and everything else, and can express themselves on their subject in ways the most lyrical poet, the most imaginative novelist or the most incisive historian could well envy.

Be it those trying to discern the cosmos’ origin, matter’s structure, the bewildering development and processes of life, including by evolution (despite what some Indian ministers may think), the abundant marvels of nature (including, but beyond humans too), and so on, scientists have written about their work and findings in absorbing ways.

Also Read: Scientists Use Pocket-size Device to Map Human Genetic Code

And in this, they have more to teach us about ourselves, our past and future, than any preacher, politician or philosopher ever could.

Let us take a selection from the last century, which was full of developments across all spheres of science.

And since our existence in terms of our position in the world and the universe is key, we can start with an English physicist, astronomer and mathematician placing things in perspective.

“… we attempt to discover the nature and purpose of the universe which surrounds our home in time and space. Our first impression is something akin to terror. We find the universe terrifying because of its vast meaningless distances, terrifying because of its inconceivably long vistas of time which dwarf human history to the twinkling of an eye, terrifying because of our extreme loneliness, and because of the material insignificance of our home in space — a millionth part of a grain of sand out of all the sea-sand in the world.

Coming to humans, we cannot ignore evolution -- and the contribution of Charles Darwin. Wikimedia Commons
Coming to humans, we cannot ignore evolution — and the contribution of Charles Darwin. Wikimedia Commons

But above all else, we find the universe terrifying because it appears to be indifferent to life like our own; emotion, ambition and achievement, art and religion seem equally foreign to its plan,” wrote Sir James Hopwood Jeans (1877-1946) in “The Mysterious Universe” (1930).

Also Read: Scientists Solve Mystery Of When Flowers Originated

Then, coming to humans, we cannot ignore evolution — and the contribution of Charles Darwin. Among the best to explain its significance is Helena Cronin (b. 1942), a philosopher of biology and co-director of the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science and the Darwin Centre at the London School of Economics.

“We are all walking archives of ancestral wisdom. Our bodies and minds are live monuments to our forebears’ rare successes. This Darwin has taught us. The human eye, our brain, our instincts, are legacies of natural selection’s victories, embodiments of the cumulative experience of the past,” she says in the beginning of her “The Ant and the Peacock: Altruism and Sexual Selection from Darwin to Today” (1991), on one of science’s “foremost achievements” — the Darwinian theory.

Then there are those unravellers of life’s basic building block — DNA structure discoverers James Watson and Francis Crick.

About the moment of discovery, Crick, in his autobiography “What Mad Pursuit” (1988), says his research partner remembers he went into the pub across the road where they launched daily and told everyone they had discovered the secret of life. “Of that, I have no recollection, but I do recall going home and telling (wife) Odile that we seemed to have made a big discovery. Years later she told me that she hadn’t believed a word of it. ‘You were always coming home and saying things like that,’, she said, ‘so naturally, I thought nothing of it’…”

Also Read: Planets Beyond Milky Way Galaxy Discovered For First Time

Watson, after his “The Double Helix” (1968), followed up with “Avoid Boring People” (2007), which has each chapter ending with lessons such as “Never Be The Brightest Person In A Room”, “Avoid Gatherings Of More Two Nobel Prize Winners”, but also “Work On Sundays”, and “Put Lots Of Spin On Balls”.

Switching to the physical world, we cannot ignore possibly the 20th century’s most well-recognised scientist — Albert Einstein. Let’s take his insightful essay, “Religion and Science”, in which he eloquently pleads the case for new, better form of religious experience which will give rise to a new relationship between these two.

After discussing the need-based and the social impulse-based variants which have in common “the anthropomorphic character of their conception of God” and which is only surmounted by “individuals of exceptional endowment”, he comes to a third — “cosmic religious feeling”, which, according to Einstein, “is the strongest and noblest motive for scientific research”.

For “only those who realise the immense efforts and, above all, the devotion without which pioneer work in theoretical science cannot be achieved are able to grasp the strength of emotion out of which alone such work, remote as it is from the immediate realities of life, can issue…”.

Also Read: Is the moon’s surface evolving?

Can there any better exposition of science’s purpose? (IANS)

(Vikas Datta is an Associate Editor at IANS. The views expressed are personal. He can be contacted at vikas.d@ians.in)