Эссе на тему: The limits of my language mean the limits of my word


Крахмалёва Таисия Сергеевна,

учитель английского языка

МБОУ «Гимназия №45» г. Барнаула



«The limits of my language mean the limits of my word» (Wittgenstein).



Language is an essential part of human life. That is why we can communicate, think, create, express ourselves etc. There are more than 5,000 languages in the world. Human language is a unique and complex system in comparison with other forms of communication which are used by animals. The non-human means of communication are limited to a number of signs. On the contrary, human language is an open system. It changes constantly and allows to create new words and structures in different ways. It’s more productive than non-human means of communication. It is also unique in its capability to express imaginary or non-existing things and evens. Thus, we are given an honor of using the language and we should appreciate this opportunity and speak it really well. I strongly believe that if you bound yourself in language you bound yourself in the world. As I am interested in this problem, for my essay, I decided to choose a saying of a western philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein: «The limits of my language mean the limits of my word».

Every thing has a name that is coded by the language. Greek philosophers thought that to name a thing means to claim its existence. If something does not have a name it is not obtain at all. Ancient people gave names to things and events to tame them and include these phenomena in their world. Since then ancient people stopped to be afraid of what was unknown before. The approach proves that since early times language has played a significant role in people’s life. During my university years, I attended one of the linguistics courses where I learnt that the Eskimos had about a hundred of words, which denoted snow. The use depends on when it snows and even a colour of it. You may ask why they need such a number of names for only one phenomenon. The answer is as follows: the snow in the Eskimos’ conception of the world has so many language representations due to the climate of the region they inhabit. That is why they describe the reality as fully as they can. Benjamin Lee Whorf, an American linguist, says: «We have the same word for falling snow, snow on the ground, snow packed hard like ice, slushy snow, wind-driven flying snow — whatever the situation may be. To an Eskimo, this all-inclusive word would be almost unthinkable; he would say that falling snow, slushy snow, and so on, are sensuously and operationally different, different things to contend with; he uses different words for them and for other kinds of snow» («Science and linguistics», 1956).

Therefore, we shape our language according to what objects and events surround us. At the same time it shapes us. Our language depends on the country we live, the occupation we choose, people we meet and mix with, books we read, hobbies we get involved in. Thus, when one chooses a friend or a book one chooses his/her life.

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Since childhood I have been interested in foreign languages and cultures. I believe that knowing different languages makes the word wider and broadens a person’s opportunities. My grandmother was a teacher of German. She told me a lot about German history, culture and language. I feel that knowledge I had acquired opened something extremely interesting and unusual to me. It determined my choice of occupation. When a student, I studied English and French as I wanted to enrich my cultural level. I think it opened not only my mind, but the world limits.

Now, having started my teaching career, I am trying to show my students how important it is to build a personality. I guess my goal is not only to explain how to form English tenses or use words but to teach how to become an individual.

In conclusion, I want to say that the better our language skills are, the richer our life, emotions and relationships become. «The limits of my language mean the limits of my word» by so and so should be a personal motto of every foreign language teacher.

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