Language is the Key

The various languages around the world have evolved and developed in several stages. Languages reflect the evolution of a society throughout history. Even though language is considered as an integral part of society, we clearly notice that the definition of language raises many opposing opinions. For instance, one of my preferred definitions of a language is that which is adopted from Professor Raja T Nasr in which he states “Language is a part of culture, it is a part of human behavior. Language is an acquired habit of systematic vocal activity representing meaning coming from human experience” (Raja T. Nasr, The Teaching of English to Arab Students). This definition is not only considered simple, but also covered a wide spectrum of key topics that are related to language. For example, in addressing language as part of a culture, the definition reflects the importance of language and culture which is known as cross-cultural linguistics. Therefore, it is noticed that language is not isolated, but rather is integrated with culture.

Language as a human behavior, consists of several cultural and social meanings. Even though oral and written forms are known to be the basic fundamentals when it comes to communication. Nevertheless, non-verbal behavior is considered as important as oral speech due to the transfer between several messages. These could be either noticed through gestures, facial expressions, or haptic which refers to physical human contact. Therefore, it is important to become aware of these notions in order to fully understand their concepts especially in a multi-cultural environment.

For example, in some countries, it is considered disrespectful to give an assignment to the teacher using your left hand. Furthermore, respect can be noticed through raising your hand and body language in general before speaking. All these non-verbal situations are noticed in other cultures. Therefore, when they are not applied carefully, a severe case of misunderstanding might occur.


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