Language & Identity

Topics: Philosophy of language, Definition, Second language Pages: 4 (1499 words) Published: October 28, 2012
Major Paper 1: Personal Essay on Language and Identity
Language partially defines identity, it only defines identity to a certain degree, one’s actions and life choices could also define identity to some extent. I think this is an arguable claim because, truly, language and the way we speak does define us partially at least. Language can never define us completely. I think what really makes my claim arguable is the fact that I chose the middle ground, language may define us but not to a full extent, life decisions may also help shape one’s identity and therefore define it. When a person speaks loudly and uses aggressive language that doesn’t necessarily mean that he is an awful person, he could still be a nice person and might be there for you when you need him. His language does tell us however, that he is a disturbing person at the very least since he is too loud and his choice of words is usually offensive. This was an example of how language defined an identity to a certain degree, partially and not completely. If another person had mid-terms coming up and I asked him to give me a ride to a really far place, his decision ( not necessarily the language he speaks ) would reveal a fair amount of his identity to me. If he agreed to give me a ride, it would tell me that he cares about other people’s needs and that he is not a selfish person for example. If he disagrees, then that tells me that his mid-terms are top priority for him and he would not waste his time in any way possible until he is done with his mid-terms , in other words he is a serious person. To summarize, I believe that the identity of a person should not only be related to the language that person speaks but also on other factors like life choices.

Language is closely related to one’s identity, Baldwin even mentions that language can sometimes reveal the speakers origins and could force out a lot about a particular person, it could give out how you were raised, your self-esteem and...
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