Social relations and language

Language has the ability to either bring people together or tear them apart.  A community, town or country that speaks the same language is more likely to have a stable society than one that is made up of various different languages. Where a common language unites, there is unity also.

In countries where multiple languages are spoken, they have found the need to employ a single language to act as a unifying factor for the people. In most countries colonised by the English, French, Spanish or Portuguese – there were indigenous cultures that had many different languages and indeed cultures and increasing the need of professional translation. This meant that the Colonisers then imposed the use of a single language to facilitate communication.  This was known as the “lingua franca” and this meant that those countries colonised by these former colonial masters took on their languages. So in the commonwealth countries – they took on English, in the French speaking or francophone countries took on French and so on.

In the biblical story of the Tower of Babel, God brought confusion to a race of people by making them all speak different languages, thereby impeding their intention to build a tower that would reach up to heaven.  This illustrates that language can make or break social relations. In a situation where there are groups of people who speak different languages there are bound to be misunderstandings, conflict and strife.  A unified language is therefore very important for social cohesion and stability.

This means that it is very important to ensure that in situations where there are different languages spoken and therefore different cultures at play, that a common ground be found to unify those affected. It is also very important in societies where different languages are spoken , that every effort is made to try and understand where the other people are coming from in terms of how they communicate, what they communicate, why they communicate and who they communicate to.  

Language is very important in structuring a society and its importance and significance should never be downplayed or underestimated when trying to provide a unifying platform for community and social relations.

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Posted on May 1, 2012, in Translation News and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I agree language and social relations are intertwined. Because it can be especially difficult if your significant other is from another country. Although English is a shared language among the couple, cultural norms and social relations still play an important part of understanding one another.

  2. This is so true! I mean, l’ve always been fascinated with language – especially the written word – because it’s so powerful! Thanks for liking my post on my (very, very) new blog. 🙂

  3. Thank You for liking our article and commenting 🙂

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