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Language is all in the service of life, not someone’s life, but of all; and in any form that appears, its functions is biological and social

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Language is all in the service of life, not someone’s life, but of all; and in any form that appears, its functions is biological and social

Valbona Sinanaj

Lecture at University “A. Xhuvani”, Elbasan, Albania. PhD candidate at the University of Tirana, Albania

Abstract

Pragmatism is a linguistic discipline and movement in philosophy, called the philosophy of language, which gives the philosophical descriptions of some language features, such as the meaning, reference, truth and necessity. Such problems like people’s interest in finding logic, truth and falsehood in their own traditions are old. Language serves as a way of communication, namely as a way of providing information to describe, but not everything that we say are allegations, language also consists of questions, requests, orders, calls. Language is a social phenomenon and a social institution, while being essential means of communication and shaping the opinions of the individual. The language we speak is not only a necessary tool of knowledge, but also the means of expression of the world. Pragmatism is concerned with man as a user of language. Language symbolically represents the world, but it is also a tool to organize the world of users, the social structure of reality. It registers our thoughts, reflects and imprints them, guiding us through our actions. When people interact by speaking, it is society that speaks through them, so we called the lecturer actor, who recites the scenario given by the society.

Keywords: Pragmatism, Language, Philosophy, Social, Communication

Introduction

All human languages have some features in common, the most important of which is the production. Every language in the world can be used to create an infinite number of new phrases. Any ideas or opinions expressed in one language can be expressed in any other language. If a language has no word to express a concept, more words can be used and a phrase in one language could replace the word from another one.

What is the meaning of a word or of a statement? Since the beginning of the discursive game we find a function – pragmatist idea where Wittgenstein says “The meaning of a word is its uses in the language”. In this aspect he admits that a word has meaning only in its usage context, in that context in which words and actions exit. Learning to speak a language or communicate means to understand the behavior rule which on the one hand is required for a concrete purpose and on the other guarantees the possibility of an agreement. A word or a sign have a meaning in the discursive game only when they are related to a rule. With all this he turns down the perspective of conceptual realization, because concepts are not given as objects or shapes, but as interactive rules related to the practice. In other words, words are concepts in communication with history which can’t be defined just like cloned atoms because even in the discursive game in which they get their meaning and existence they stay not entirely defined. That’s how words and statements include an open practice or practical procedure which can be understood by us in their practical and concrete use.

Clarifying or defining the concept doesn’t put us in another more general concept but in an actual concept or action. If the concept or the words are explained through actual examples, it means not only that they don’t constitute any ideal aspect, but that they are given as conceptually open and dynamic. Thus, Wittgenstein turns down the perspective of conceptual realization, as words or concept aren’t understood as objects, as already given forms but as connected to practice. The repetition of a rule isn’t supported by its identical repetition, as each situation has its own physiognomy. So every implementation of the rule constitutes another new definition of the rule itself. The only way to understand the concept is through illustration of an example, which means that it is understood in its way of implementation and its acting. Here is a practical example of what Wittgenstein thinks about the situation when the seller fulfills the buyers’ demand when he asks for five red apples.

Now I think about this language view: „for me five red apples”. He gives to the greengrocer the paper; he opens the box on which it is written „apples” then he looks for the label with the word „red” and finds, in accordance with it, a color sample, then murmurs a series of cardinal numbers, which probably he knows by heart and after each number he takes out of the box an apple that has the color of the sample. In this way more or less is done even with words.

Wittgenstein focuses on the fact how sellers act with words and not on the way they understand the language. The description of the meaning of the word from the theoretical point of view is meaningless and impracticable. We can understand the action of the greengrocer without accepting that he knows the meaning of the words five, red apples. Here we aren’t talking about the meaning; but only about the way the word is used. To show what the words are referring to, we should show the way of their usage, as learning to speak doesn’t constitute an explanation, but training, a practice. As a result, his way of looking at the language has the superiority of taking into an account even the non verbal forms of communication.

Actually, to say simple things we have to impose our thought, in order to make it deeper, ironic and free. Sometimes we need it to be vibrating (full of passion) and some other time changeable, furthermore hypocritical. We only have to remember our everyday expressions through which we order or beg to understand this feature of language, when we want somebody to come to us, and we don’t call him the same way each time. The saying or the phrase is modified according to our relationship with the other person and the list of the possible phrases is endless.

  • Come here! Can you come? Will you come or not? If you come here! – These phrases, different from each other, express or make us understand the tension of the other person who is speaking – an action taken toward our co-speaker.

The presence or just the imagine of other’s presence can force our speech. So, speaking with somebody, mentioning here special relationships (family, obliged, official relationships) which exist between the others and me, thinking about the action that he may have toward me, age, gender, level and his/her social environment – all these assumptions can make me choose to change my phrases and to leave apart anything that can stop, hurt or make the other person feel sad.

So the every day contact with others gives to the word a double character (meaning). The one who speaks focuses his strength on the actions he wants to take, in this case the soul (human conscience) of our co-speaker serves as a supportive point. Sometimes the view of a subject defines the nature of our saying, and we don’t count what we will give but what we are going to take. In this case the person becomes more careful.

We are speaking about practical motifs, about a goal we have to achieve, not about simple intellectual considerations, logical forms of the words cannot be seen in the first plane. It‘s speech and activity which get emphasized and intend understanding. Of course, to achieve this it demands intellectual ability.

The human being doesn’t live only for himself; he meets other people time after time with whom he starts a relationship. Since Aristotle’s time we were used to saying that a human being is “a sociable animal” and that the language is the product of this social instinct. But we shouldn’t forget that if the human was born for living in a society, he doesn’t have definite role in the society just like some types of animals, such as bees for example. He can’t be a bee because individual instincts don’t make him dependent on the social instinct or at least they don’t fit with him, the balance isn’t constant and we can admit that it is never absolute. Since two human beings come into contact they start a war in the psychological meaning of the word, because they can’t fit absolutely, a perfect harmony of thoughts between them is hard to be achieved. So, this war is not uncoiled with solidarity and sympathy, it only implies an incomplete conciliation of beliefs, desires, will and queries, this is a characteristics even for those who aiming to make friends fall in love. This results from a conflict between me as a subject and the social instinct. Speech reflects or reproduces this feature of life as entire other phenomenon, it shows up at which point this conflict can be resolved peacefully. A warm conversation is the correct image of this picture. This conversation doesn’t give anything special to a superficial observer.

Language is like a weapon that every interlocutor uses as a tool to impose his or her personal thought to the other interlocutor. This interlocutor’s language depends on and is established by practical and instinctive rhetoric.

References

Bartoli 1965: Bartoli, M.  Introduzione alla neolinguistica. Milano, 1965.

Belardi 2001: Belardi. W. Linguistica generale, filologia e critica dell’espresione. Roma: Bonaci, 2001.

Benveniste 2005: Benveniste. E. La natura del segno lingistico. Roma: University “La Sapienza”, 2005.

Durante 1975: Durante. M. La linguistica sincronica. Torino: Boringhieri, 1975.

Quine 1966: Quine, W.V.O. Il problema del significato. Roma: Ubaldini-Astrolabio, 1966.

 Quine 1970: Quine, W.V.O.  Parola e oggetto. Milano: Saggiattore, 1970.

Wittgenstein 2009: Wittgenstein, L. Ricerche filosofiche. Torino: Einaudi, 2009.

Wittgenstein 2004: Wittgenstein, L. Traktati logjiko-filozofik. Tirane: Bargjinit, 2004.

Mrs. Valbona Sinanaj (Education expert), graduated in Philological and Linguistic Studies in “La Sapienza” University of Rome. She hold two Masters of Sciences in Linguistics, Faculty of Philosophy and Letters in “La Sapienza” University of Rome and in Linguistics, Faculty of History and Philology, University of Tirana, and is currently PhD student in the field of Linguistics in Tirana University. She works as a lecturer of Linguistics in the University “A. Xhuvani”, Faculty of Human Sciences from October 2011 and part time specialist at the Albanian Institute for Public Affairs from September 2014 up to now. She has participated in different conferences, home and abroad, dealing on her field of study. Her areas of interest are sociology, communication sciences and human rights.

Редактор: Борислава Иванова