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How does language enable self expression and inquiry.

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Language is the most important aspects in the life of all human beings. The main purpose of language is communication. We use language to communicate with others, to fulfil our wants and needs as well as to establish rules and maintain our culture (Pierce & Eplin, 1999). We use language to inform people around us what we feel, what we desire and to question and understand the world around us.

We communicate effectively with our words, gestures and tones of voice in a multitude of situations example: I would not talk to my boss at work with the same tone I would use when addressing my 1 year old son. Proper communications help us to create friendship, good teamwork and it separates humans from animals. (Sayontan, Sinha, 2012).
However good communicators we might be, some misunderstanding happens and this can bring conflict between humans. Many countries have been fighting just because of words. The other problem with language is that no one can speak or understand all the languages in the world. When you relocate from one place to another, it is of great advantage if you know the language spoken by the locals, this helps you to feel at home and gives you a sense of belonging. Learning a foreign language has been of immense help to me. In my case I was born in Kenya and my first language is Swahili. I was introduced to English language in high school. At first it was very challenging, new and so strange compared to the Swahili I was used to. I couldn’t read, write or construct an English sentence in class and this was very frustrating. Whenever I constructed a sentence my teacher said that it was direct translation from my mother tongue. The worst part was that when I made mistakes most of the students in my class made fun of me.
This was a very painful moment in my life. Despite my weakness my teacher never gave up on me! She encouraged me to continue doing more practice by reading more English books, listening to English radio stations and trying to repeat English words e.g. in music. The part I started developing interest in was music. Within a short period of time, I could sing English songs although I didn’t know the meaning. Slowly I started knowing the words and the spelling and this motivated me to go for higher heights as far as the English language was concerned. During the end of term exams, I was the top student in my class and I got a reward for that. This made me learn that learning a foreign language requires time and dedication. Language makes sense only when used rightly. . When learning a language we need to be aware of the people culture as well. By this I mean there are words that have a double meaning. Such words may be accepted in a particular culture but unacceptable to the other culture for example: In my tribe, the Meru tribe in Kenya, we have a word called “GWATA” this word to us means to cuddle, or settle a distressed baby but in another tribe called Kikuyu in Kenya the same word “GWATA” means to rape someone. You can imagine if I went to the kikuyu tribe then tell a lady I want to “GWATA” the baby the lady would think that I want to rape the baby. We should mind our words when using a foreign language.

It’s through language that every single thing is labelled, named or described. When we address people by their names it brings an understanding and a clear idea of what another person is talking about. The problem is that languages are so many in the world .This problem can be solved by creating a common language. Globalise is an example of a new language that is already on the rise. (Nury Vittachi, 2010, p 215). Language can be used to express pain in Kugelmann’s words (1999:1663), “pain in its expression, alleviation and suffering, is a performance that is as personal as cultural, as mental as bodily: just as the making of love”. Language enables people to express their own feelings like happiness, sadness, sorrow, lonliness, anger and frustration.

In work places language is used as a communication tool. People pass information to each other through emails, letters, written documents, reports and through verbal communication. This reduces the workload in the workplace because everyone knows what is expected from them on each particular day. For example in hospitals settings, there are different reports, notes and care plans that contains the patients informations that are passed from Doctors or even Nurses which enables them to meet the requirements of each individual during a shift.

Through language and culture we can interpret or know what a person is interested in. Some people dress according to the culture they belong to and others dress according to their religious beliefs. All this starts with language. Clothes and accessories speak a lot about a person, who they are, what they like, and where they come from. However some people can use clothes to hide their own identity example : In my community some people cover their bodies with gowns associated to church pastors so that they can be commit robbery undetected.

Anyone intending to be successful in business requires good communication skills. It is through language that we explain, advertise and persuade customers to buy our goods. Language can help us to reach global audiences and markets. Many business people find it very challenging when they move to different region or country. They cannot carry a business on their own except through a translator. There is psychological aspect of direct communication during your business transaction. Your clients will more likely trust what you are saying and will be more intimate relationship than if you were to conduct communications through a translator. (Chen & Ronald 2006).

Through language, people are educated and knowledge is shared. The use of English as a common language is helping us to gain knowledge which will allow us to prosper, hopefully by being successful into our future field of studies and into our future careers. During our first week in the university preparation course, we were introduced to black board. This is where we ask questions and find answers to any course related issue that may bother us. We communicate daily by posting questions on black board, writing emails to our lectures, listening to lectures online, accessing learning materials for the course and to get announcements that relate to our courses. As an external student, sometimes I feel confused and left out but when I post my questions or comments on black board, I get help from the other students or I find people who have similar problems to mine and this really encourages me.
The black board is a very useful communication tool especially for the external students. Here is an example of how useful the black board is: This assignment on reflective writing had 2 different due dates. The first indicated due in week 4 while the second indicated due in week 5. We were all very confused trying to work out which information was correct. We posted our concerns on black board and our lecture gave us the right information. Through blackboard communication we were able to get the accurate information.

In humanities language has given me the courage to think of things like Who am I? Why am I here? How do I fit in? What is real? What does it mean to be human? What is our place in the world and in the universe and how can we make things better? Without language how would I learn to question all this? In humanism, language is very important because it reflects your identity as a human. Humanism advanced manner will develop my way of thinking and give me an opportunity to see things in a more critical way.

Language has been of immerse help to me. I f I didn’t learn English, it would be really hard to adjust in Australia. I wouldn’t know how to catch a bus, to read addresses, to ask for help or even the simple things such as greetings. Getting a job would be very difficult as well. My life would be pathetic if I didn’t have a language to express myself. Looking back today iam very happy for the time and the dedication I took years back to learn English. In my opinion language should be used to create a cormfortable and a friendly world for all humans.

REFERENCE

Nunan, D., Choi, J., & Ebooks Corporation. (2010). Language and culture: Reflective narratives and the emergence of identity. New York: Routledge.
Straw, L. (2012). Week 1 introduction to the unit {PowerPoint slides}.
Retrieved from http://blackboard.ecu.edu.au
Bate, J., & Ebrary. (2011). The public value of the humanities. London: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC. doi: 10.5040/9781849662451
Lascaratou, C., & Ebrary. (2007). The language of pain: Expression or description? Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. http://www.importanceoflanguages.com (By: Sayontan Sinha 20/12/2009)

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