Language is the sign of intelligence. No other animal on earth has been proven to have the ability to use language like people. Language allows us to express our thoughts to other people, thus making our intent perfectly clear. Without language, we would be forced to use grunts and hand signals that would make communication difficult, if not impossible. Language is the invention that made life all the easier, so that we do not have to guess other people’s meanings.
Language can be used in many ways. Most often, it is used to exchange concepts with others. A simple conversation about the weather provides the opportunity for two people to share their idea about the current state; they may both be in agreement that the day is cold, and are able to acknowledge to each other that they, too, are cold as a result of the temperature. Or, if the day is nice, they may be sharing a mutual enjoyment of the weather.
Language can also express emotion. The tone or inflection of the voice is a clear sign of a person’s feelings. Also his or her choice of language may signal emotions above tone. A person may use profanity to express strong emotions.
Language can help a person to clarify a thought. Searching for the right word or phrase can best express a thought. To simply say that an object is “nice” does not best suit a situation when a more descriptive word like “sublime,” “exquisite” or “beautiful” is a better indication of the degree to which one has associations with the object.
Language, from these descriptions, would appear to be a help by expressing clarity. But it can also be a hindrance. Many times people misunderstand a person’s meaning; either the words are interpreted wrong or the tone to the language is different from the speaker’s intent. People in the news are always complaining about being misquoted; even in daily life people often have misunderstandings about language. “That is not what I meant,” we tell each other.
Or consider the person speaking a foreign language. The wrong words are used, the sentences are badly constructed, and the accent may destroy a listener’s comprehension. We sometimes think that people who speak English as a second language are not that smart, because they use the wrong words. However, the speaker has perfect clarity of language in their native tongue, and the ideas are in their head. This person must translate their thoughts into English before speaking, choosing the right word all the time.