The mailbox


My email box is like a treasure chest, in it I have property worth billions. At least for me it is priceless, all my books, assignments, projects, animations, presentations and articles saved as an attachment in my mails. Just a reminder for me every day, the amount of work I did.

Whenever I don’t want to write something new, I always turn to my mailbox, for my help. And never return empty-handed. Thank you, my dear email box.

An article I wrote for participation in Virtuous Article Writing Competition by NED Leadership Club, in fourth semester.

BORDERS OF LANGUAGE            

Dated: Mon, Aug 5, 2013 at 8:50 PM

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Imagine that you’re in a room full of people having conversion in a language that you can’t make out, well you would first feel annoyed and then left out. I had been in this situation many times. Sometimes my fellow internees used to talk to each other in Sindhi as if they didn’t want to share their thoughts with others; giving the impression that they were talking something secret that others shouldn’t know. Despite being familiar with this language I was never able to understand what they were talking about.

Now imagine that you’re with your friends and all of you speak the same language still you can’t make out what your friend said because of the accent and difference in pronunciation. It might have been possible that your friend belongs to any other region of the country and have inherited that accent.

 If it isn’t possible to understand language due to different accents, how would it ever be possible to communicate with those who speak an entirely different language?

“The borders of my language are the borders of my world”.

~Wittgenstein

What Wittgenstein meant is that a person’s speech is only limited to the terms he knows or he’s familiar with. In simpler words, if I am not a medical student, I won’t be familiar with medical terminologies and would not use them in my conversation. Speaking broadly if a person is a native of some country, he would most likely speak that language which is being spoken by other natives. Our speech is actually influenced by the environment that surrounds us.

The barriers that language creates are misunderstanding and lack of communication. If you were to travel to other countries, it becomes a necessity to learn its language to interact with other people. Furthermore, language gives you an insight to a country’s culture and its people. For stronger business bonds, business leaders today learns different languages to strengthen their relationship with their business partners and customers.

“A language is a dialect with an army and navy”.

~Max Weinreich

For most of the people a language is basically a set of words with rules according to which that language should be spoken. It may seem like a proper definition, but actually it isn’t. For, instance take Urdu language. Most of the words we speak doesn’t belong to this language and have been borrowed from Persian, Arabic and Turkish. All the other languages have been evolved or derived from other languages. This fact that most languages have adopted or share the words of other languages helps break language barriers. It also helps reduce the effort that a linguist may face while learning a new a language.

Before starting learning a new language, one must know its linguistics. Linguistics is the study of the way a language works. Linguistics is broadly divided into three categories or sub-fields that include language form, language meaning and language in context. It comprises the study of phonetic symbols that helps with pronunciation, morphology that refers to meanings and composition of words, syntax that refers to the ways in which different words can be put together to form sentences and phrases, semantics and pragmatics i.e.; what a word means when it is written individually and how its meaning is inferred from the context and  finally connotation the emotional implications and associations that a word may carry. Ausbausprache, Abstandsprache and Dachsprache was a framework coined in about 1967 to classify and categorize languages on the basis of dialects, linguistics, styles and accents.speaking-in-different-languages

Although most of the countries today have declared English as a standard or official language, one cannot ignore need of learning and understanding other languages. In this regard “Language without Borders” conference has been held in various countries to emphasize necessity of multilingualism and its importance in social, political, cultural and spiritual life. In a country like Pakistan with six major and over fifty-nine minor languages spoken, there should be more emphasis on language learning. Besides Urdu and English other regional and international languages must also be taught at the elementary level in my opinion.

Significance of communication can’t be ignored. Language overcomes communication gaps and it’s a way of sharing thoughts, feelings and ideas. Language helps understand cultures and values of other communities. So why make language a border instead make it a pathway to progress and prosperity.

 

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