Best Answer

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.

User Avatar

Wiki User

โˆ™ 2016-01-23 02:59:16
This answer is:
User Avatar
User Avatar


Lvl 1
โˆ™ 2020-10-01 12:36:12
I'm impressed
Study guides

Literary Terminology

20 cards

Which sentence suggests the least amount of psychic distance

Which sentence suggests the greatest amount of psychic distance

Which effect could best be created using an unreliable narrator

Which lists the typical steps of the creative writing process

See all cards

Languages and Cultures

21 cards

What is descriptive linguistics

The Russian language belongs to which branch of the Indo-European family of languages

What is the most widely spoken language family in the world today

During which century did the development of philosophical analysis occur

See all cards

Languages and Cultures

23 cards

Where did the Renaissance movement begin

What did Humanists Believe

What is descriptive linguistics

Which subject could be included in both the humanities and social sciences

See all cards

Add your answer:

Earn +20 pts
Q: Why is language arbitrary?
Write your answer...
Related questions

Why is language for the most part arbitrary?

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

In what sense is language arbitrary?

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.

How is language arbitrary?

it is constantly evolving

Describe any other communication system that like language consists of arbitrary symbols?

Some language system that consists of arbitrary symbols can be also a picture that shows unambiguously their meaning. Ex. A stop sign indicating a hand stopping you.

How is language abituary?

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

Evaluate the key features of language?

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

Why is language defined as an arbitrary system of vocal symbols?

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.

What is bloch's ande targer's definition of language?

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

Why can not be a language fully arbitrary?

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.

What sense is language arbitrary?

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

What is language and how do artists manipulate it creatively?

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

What are the design principles of programming language?

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

Can you explain what language means in one sentence?

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

What is language according to 'bloch and trager'?

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

Can language be arbitrary?

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.

How does language been arbitrary contribute ti the flexibility and versatility of language?

The connection between form and meaning is arbitrary in a sense that, given the form ,it is impossible to predict the meaning and given the meaning ,it is impossible to predict the form. Arbitrariness contributes to the versatility and flexibility of a language.Firstly, it is due to arbitrary relationship between form and meanings,that every language differ grammatically one from another. if there would be no arbitrary link between form and meaning, and every meaning is according to form of that thing,then it badly effect the grammar.No grammatical structures of any particular language were there and we can't be able to distinguish between two languages. so arbitrariness makes every particular language flexible and versatile. Now-a -days there are lot of words used to convey a single meaning.for example,rules regulation,convention,principle are the words conveying the same meaning.This versatility is due to arbitrariness in language. in a case of non-arbitrary link between form and meaning, only onomatopoeic words like cuckoo ,crash, chirp will be there in whole language.This language is formed in agreement with sounds and restricts the language to convey only a single meaning by single world. So for the production of new and more words ,arbitrariness play a great role which is the proof of its contribution in flexbility and versatility of language.

What is the defition of language?

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

The notion that language is arbitrary and that no truly objective truth or meaning can be created outside of a culture's confines originated with the theories of who?

Ferdinand de Saussure

What is halls' definition of language?

Hall tells us that language is the institution wherbey humans communicate and interact with each other by means of habitually used oral-auditory arbitrary symbols

What are the three basic characteristics of language?

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.

Why is ASL considered a language?

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.

Is 'no parking' sign arbitrary or non arbitrary?

non arbitrary

Is morphology one sector of grammar that is completely arbitrary?

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

The notion that language is arbitrary and that no truly objective truth or meaning can be created outside of a culture's confines originated with what theories?

Ferdinand de Saussure.

Why is this sentence wrong She has good command in English?

There is an incorrect idiom in the sentence. Idioms are the common, generally very arbitrary ways that we speak our language. For example, in this sentence you have command of a language not in a language. The sentence should read: She has good command of English.

People also asked

Why is language defined as an arbitrary system of vocal symbols?

View results