Language and Knowledge

Posted: June 19, 2011 in Education

In what other form do we come to know knowledge, except for language? Arts, numbers, objects, patterns: are they not systematic forms of expression that we identify to be signs for what they signify? Our understanding of reality are represented in signs which we also understand as language, for language is a signifier.

Everything in nature that we already know are supposed to have an equivalent in langauge, a term that refers to what it signifies. Sociologists and philosophers believe that social reality is constructed, and it is constructed through social interaction. In that event of human contact with other individuals, thoughts, ideas, meanings, experiences, perceptions are shared through language.

To participate in the construction and reconstruction of social realities, one needs to be equipped with the language and the communication skills to make use of the latter effectively. It is a necessity to know the terms to facilitate understanding of what the term refers to. What is known includes all that is we have about in our language. What we do not know of becomes understandable in a while through languaging.

If we are not so skilled to understand language, it axiomatic that we will have shortcomings in understanding the realities of both the conscious and even the unconscious mind. But, if we construe the reality that language speaks the mind and the very nature of a person, then we can be able to understand a person in his thoughts and feelings through his language.

What a person says in his language become a representation of himself. What is lacking in his language is probably not part of his realities yet. Absence of a thought is figured in what can not be verbalized or that which is not in one’s language system. It is a gap that needs to be filled.

Wittgenstein said that our world is limited by our language. Focault believes that language is power in which the many constructed realities in our world are built upon. Language is imminent, ubiquitous and essential to our very existence and the understanding of our selves.

But language is not the reality, only the representation of it. Yet, through it we understand realities. Of love, of peace, of war, of truth, of humanity, of self,of experiences of this world, and of all many other things we have abstracted and concretized, the object in which we understand them as knowledge is through language.

To be knowledgeable, one needs to muster the use of language and the understanding of its systems and structure. This cannot be foregone and taken for granted. One can never speak, read, write or think of any knowledge that is not part of his language system. All the more, he who does not understand the language does not understand the knowledge in it.

Our knowledge of the things we need to learn, our knowledge of life, and our knowledge of the realities around us, are there for our understanding. We can learn them in many ways, by reading, by listening, by watching, by sensing and experiencing them. We need the language facility to really make sense of those, but the more we enage with knowledge, our language likewise grows.


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