Languages and Cultures

Why is language arbitrary?


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2016-01-23 02:59:16
2016-01-23 02:59:16

Languages are said to be arbitrary because there is no necessary or natural relationship between the words of a given language and the concepts that they represent. For example, there is nothing in the word "tree" that connects it to the concept of a tree; which is why Spanish can use a totally different sign for the same concept: "árbol"; and so on with other languages.

Also, languages are arbitrary because the rules for the combination of signs in order to produce complete thoughts are different from one language to the other, and no set of rules can claim to be the "right" one. For example, in English you say "I like beer", whereas in Spanish you would say "Me gusta la cerveza". The translation/transliteration of the latter would be something like: "Beer is agreeable to me", or [is agreeable to me the beer], which sounds strange in English. And neither of these formulations has a better claim to accuracy, correctness or truth than the other.


Related Questions

Language is arbitrary because that is the nature of language. There is no other way to design language.

Language is arbitrary because in every language the sounds do not relate to the words' meanings. Even the sounds of the word arbitrary have no connection to its meaning.

it is constantly evolving

The key features of language are that it is communicative, arbitrary, structured, generative and dynamic.

Language is not arbitrary. It is learned culture, and is constrained by cultural norms even as it evolves along with them.

Language is the vocal arbitrary and conventional symbols accepted to be used in human communication.

Language is a system Can language be compared with any other system.

A Language is a system of arbitrary vocal symbols by means of which a social group co-operates.

language is a social tool is a way of communication language is arbitrary it is a combination of rules it is symbolic language is productive and creative language is dynamic is a learned behaviour it is not instinctive it is systmatic.

There are many incorrect definitions of language, and this is one. Some language is not vocal. And "arbitrary" symbols would be unintelligible to anyone except the person making them up. Better to define language as a complex system of symbols used to convey meaning, feeling and intent. Still not a complete definition, but at least it is not wrong.

Because it would be incomprehensible. Take all the sounds that people are capable of making, make sound bites out of them and randomly associate them. What do you have? Meaningless noise. It is because we learn which sounds not to make, which combinations of sounds do not make words, and which combinations of words do not make coherent sentences, and to discard the meaningless sounds, words, and sentences that we are able to use language at all. For example, your question does not use proper grammar, but an English speaker automatically corrects it to say "Why can a language not be fully arbitrary?" It's wrong but not arbitrary, because it is close to the correct sentence. Had you written "Language not be a fully arbitrary can why?" it is so wrong that nobody would understand it.

There are many distinguishing characteristics of language. Here are 5:It is uniquely humanIt is systematicIt is symbolicIt is arbitrary ( referring to the connection between features of the language and meaning)It is evolutionary

Human languages are arbitrary by nature: There is no reason why a furry domestic animal that purrs should be called cat, and not blop or fleechtafly.The fact that different languages use different words to describe the same thing is, in itself, a proof of arbitrariness.Grammatical structures are just as arbitrary; for instance, the English language uses mainly a subject-verb-object structure while the German language puts verbs at the end of the sentence, etc.

In programming language, simplicity is one of the primary principles. Other principles include automation, and avoiding arbitrary sequences when possible.

Language is the communication of thoughts and feelings through a system of arbitrary signals, such as voice sounds, gestures, or written symbols.

These are our output. But it is Arbitrary.

No it is not completely arbitrary. It deals with both arbitrary and non-arbitrary relationships.

It is subject to individual will of judgement without restriction. Use decided by one's own discretion

a system of arbitrary vocal symbol by means a social group operates

The sentence for speeding was arbitrary.

communication by voice in the distinctively human manner,using arbitrary sounds in conventional ways with conventionalmeanings; speech.

Our decision to go to the park was arbitrary.The rule was arbitrary but he was punished anyway.

American Sign Language is considered a language because it is a structured method of communication between people. Language does not have to be verbal. This is one definition of language: Communication of thoughts and feelings through a system of arbitrary signals, such as voice sounds, gestures, or written symbols.

Three basic characteristics of language are that it needs to be learned, it has rules and it is arbitrary. Human brains appear to be wired for learning languages, unlike other animals.

The rules were completely arbitrary.

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