Monday, September 22, 2008

Language is Universal (Vs. Universal Language)

Dodik asks a question about this.
First, all languages in the world share the 12 characteristics.

Second, the universality of language refers to the fact that most language in the world share common rules, patterns, or rules. However, language is also so unique that each language has some features that cannot be found in any other language.

Third, universal language refers to a language that is used by a great number of people in the world. It is believed that Sanskrit used to be a universal language. Arabic can be called as a universal language because all moslems in the world use Arabic in their Koran, or even prayers. Please read wikipedia for more ideas about universal language.

Language is Arbitrary & Conventional

Okay guys...
I will try to answer some questions. Now it's about the features of language: arbitrary.

The term arbitrary here refers to the fact that the symbol that people use is made or chosen without any principle, logic or reason. For example, people in Java do not have a principle or logic to call an animal with long tail, two hands, and two legs and like scratching and playing on trees as kethek. There is no logic either for people in Jakarta to call that animal monyet. This is what arbitrary means.

So, to answer Daniel's question: English people do not have any reason why they call the animal that produces "meauwww" as cat. Again, this is because language is arbitrary: no logical reason is used when choosing a symbol, and no direct relationship between the symbol and the symbolized.

Now that a group of people have chosen a symbol for something, all the members of the group should approve and use the same symbol to refer to the same thing. In the example above, the members of Javanese language society approve the use of symbol kethek to refer to that animal, while the members of Betawinese approve the use of monyet. Again, the symbol should be the result of the convention of all members of the (language) society. That's why language is called conventional.

To answer Wisnukurnia: How is language created?
When a group of people make a new symbol and the all the members approve, then they will make a new language, or at least they add a new word for their language. Remember, language is a system consisting of many elements that support each other.
Well, once the language is used by the people, it will exist. No society exists without language, and no language exists without the society.

Hope, it's clear enough now. For further info, please read Abdul Chaer. He has clear explanation about this.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Topic 1: Language

Sorry for the late post.

I'm happy that some of you have started posting.

Well. After our first discussion, we are now aware that the object of linguistics is human language, not animal language, not gesture, not programming language, etc. Please learn more about some definition of language.

Keep posting.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Hi all,

This is the blog I told you in class. As I mentioned, you are supposed to post your reflective journal in this blog. That covers how much you understand the materials discussed in the classroom. In other words, you are expected to write your own version of the classroom discussion topics. Alternatively, you can also post a question here so that you will get the prompt answer from your friends. If you don't understand the material at all, then simply just share your problem here.

Looking forward to reading your comments.