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How Is Language Constitutive of Persons and of Social Life


In the twentieth century, language is an important area of concern. It is evident in many arenas of people’s lives. This century has caused immense growth in linguistics. The science of linguistics has grown because, like other sciences, linguistics is pursued in several ways. The language concern has established meaningfulness because it acts as a link to different mediums (Taylor, 1985). Language is a blend of words to make sentences to form a communication channel between human beings (Eifring & Theil,2005). When it comes to language and the social context, the language that people impact their social realities.

The meaning of language is linked up with the concern for language in this era. Speech is made meaningful by explaining the language using the philosophical theories of language. At the beginning of the century, Schonberg and Cubism taught the meaning of language by explaining that it is a medium that people can use. In this theory, language is essential in sciences such as music, arts, and painting. Another aspect of Freudian psychoanalysis involves describing language as an interpretation that mainly focuses on social science (Taylor, 1985). The Freudian theory also describes that art elements, symptoms, tastes, and tongue slips can be used to interpret the social aspect of language.

Languge and social interactionn

Many researchers use Conversation Analysis (CA) to research about social interaction. Conversation analysis uses verbal and nonverbal conduct to study social interaction. Nonverbal communication features include body movement, gestures, proximity, and gaze. CA is helpful in studies where people highly interact, for example, in hospitals, law enforcement, restaurants, schools, and other casual encounters. The analysis involves how people talk to each other by taking turns, uttering, and exchanging words. Utterances and turn-taking involve preferred responses to how people talk to each other and end up understanding each other by making sure that they all make sense. The analysis also examines the emotions and expressions that people respond to in different speeches.

Respect is a significant aspect of daily and face-to-face interactions in the society. Respect is displayed by symbolic acts such as the timing of utterances, choosing words and subjects, prosody, and proxemic distance. Politeness includes important symbols of respect to avoid severe conflicts in communication. Disrespectfulness is often interpreted as hostility and the absence of a positive attitude. In many cases, lack of respect leads to negative or impoliteness, thus affecting the adverse actions that are unhindered by others. On the other hand, respectfulness leads to desirable actions, leading to politeness and interaction with others. Restraint politeness and involvement politeness also involves respect for others.

According to Bailey (2001,1996), restraint politeness is marked by actions that impose unwillingness on others. These actions include hedging, apologizing, not being an attention seeker, and making indirect requests. It also involves minimizing demands on other people, asking a few questions, and introducing new topics. In the book, the author shows that restraint and politeness are typical in Korean immigrant store owners compared to Black American clients. On the contrary, involvement politeness is actions that express others’ approval. They include jokes, compliments, agreement, and using in-group identity makers. This is common among African Americans as compared to Koreans.

Bailey’s research occurred in 1994 and 1995 and comprised of the use of conversion analysis. The analysis was used to observe participants from Korean immigrant shop owners and Black American customers videotaping. Six stores were visited to make the research successful. Transcription was done through the help of a Korean translator as well as the use of a conversion analysis. The study took place in two methods; a focus on service encounters and a definition of goal orientation by institutional talk of service encounters. Service encounters describe the face-to-face interaction between a server and a customer at the service point. The interaction of the two people mainly focuses on ensuring that the customer gains maximum satisfaction with their desired service. Institutional talks are defined as the difference between the level of perceptions of Black Americans and Koreans about the functions of the encounters (Bailey 2001,1996).

The encounters are mainly characterized by greetings, which symbolize interpersonal access between the service person and the client. It is then followed by negotiations and finally the closure of the business exchanges. According to this research, service encounters were based on two results: socially minimal and socially expanded encounters. Socially minimal encounters do not talk, whereas socially expanded encounters are characterized by greeting, followed by negotiation, closure, and high interpersonal relationships.

According to Eifring and Theil (2005), language connects all human beings because it involves interactions and communications with one another. Language enables people to threaten, make opinions, apologize, give thanks, make promises, and make declarations. Human beings invented language, and many body parts have acquired a linguistic function. In the human interaction, language is seen as a means to express thoughts and feelings. In this light, the author has highlighted Saussure’s model, which implies that speech develops due to the grammatical arrangement of words. Thus, when speech develops, people can communicate with each other and establish a social life.

Language and conceptualization

Some linguists argue that many meanings are based on mental concepts. Most of them are socially constructed, meaning a child or adult forms them in learning to formulate words grammatically. Eifring and Theil (2005) give an example of a ball that is defined by the English dictionary as a ‘globular body.’ The author argues that everyone has a mental concept of what it means; therefore, basic semantics quickly develop from birth. English semantics are born from people’s mental concepts, and communication is quickly established. Genetics and social experiences also supplement the concepts shaped by people’s languages.

In terms of conceptualization, different languages have the same realities interpreted in various ways. For example, some colors, such as blue and green, are different in the English language, while others, such as in the Mexican language, treat the two colors as variants of one similar color. Another example is when other languages, such as French and German, differentiate the male and female cousins as opposed to the English language, which does not differentiate both (Eifring & Theil, 2005). From this perspective, conceptualization is highly brought about by language through grammar and expressions.

Language variation

Language changes at different times, through different locations and social groups. Language changes because human beings often change their medium of communication. They change for different reasons, such as changes in word meanings, pronunciation, adoption of new words, discardation of old words, and changes in sentence formation. People change their language for different reasons, such as children adopting their parents’ language with slight modifications (Eifring & Theil, 2005). People change their languages due to adjustments to the new social life. Language is essential in personal identification as well as group identity. People change languages consciously or unknowingly, and also other people take part in changing their own language.

Language contact can create new languages by combining elements from the different languages in contact and adding elements not initially in either language. Pidgins and creoles are the two primary varieties of such new languages. Pidgins are incomplete languages. People use them for minimal interaction between speakers of more than one language who have had repeated or extended contacts, such as enslavement, trade, or movement of people (Eifring & Theil, 2005). Pidgins typically combine elements of their users’ native languages and skills. In addition, pidgins are those native languages in terms of simpler terms, fewer inflection, and a more excellent limited range of grammatical and phonetic alternatives. Many pidgins, like language shifts, are predicated on an asymmetrical relationship between their origin language groups.

Secondly, creoles, like pidgins, are the outcome of frequent contact between various languages and incorporate elements from both. Creoles, unlike pidgins, are the languages children learn as their primary language. Creoles have more excellent command and more complex linguistic resources than pidgins. However, the difference between pidgin and creole is progressive rather than utter and complete. A few more expansive pidgins are systemically impossible to distinguish from creoles and may serve as the primary dialect of any of their speakers before becoming their native language. This happened in New Guinea with Tok Pisin and in the Central African Republic with Sango (Eifring & Theil, 2005).

Language affects the social factors of different people. The study of language and its variations depends on three factors: geographical variation, context variation, and social variation. Geographical variation is a geographical subdivision of a language. For instance, researchers frequently refer to the Chinese, Arabic, Hindi, and Fula languages without considering how uncertain these terms are. They are relevant, but their interpretations are quite often very dissimilar compared to what is commonly assumed. When one looks at Fula is widely assumed to be a native tongue, that is, a common language with a handful of dialects. Therefore in this notion, a dialect is recognized as a geographical variety of syntax utilized in a particular location and differing from other geographic location variants of the exact language in some linguistic items (Eifring, 2005).


In conclusion, this essay has discussed how social interaction impacts how people use language and how people have been integrated into society to follow implied social norms, including those that steer the flow of discussions, such as how to begin and end conversations and how to switch topics. As people move between civic, professional, and academic contexts, the use of language changes.


Taylor, C. (1985). Language and Human Nature. In Human Agency and Language (Vol. 1, pp. 215–247). essay, Cambridge University Press.

Bailey, Benjamin 2001 (1996). “Communication of respect in interethnic service encounters,” in Linguistic Anthropology: a reader. Edited by A. Duranti, pp. 119-146. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd.

Eifring, H., & Theil, R. (2005). Linguistics for students of Asian and African languages.


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