Not everything you know about language is true. When you study languages objectively, you start to realize that you’ve been wrong about almost everything you believed about them. Here is a list of some of the most common misconceptions about language that people have to reconsider:
- Language is NOT getting worse. In fact, languages are getting better, more stylish, and more expressive.
- Language is NOT getting poorer. The richness of every language is expanding every day with the creation of new words and phrases. Intelligent ways are always put in place to make communication clearer and unambiguous.
- Linguistic change does NOT worsen or kill language. Au contraire, linguistic change is natural, it’s a sign that a language is alive and evolves. You can’t stop it. Nobody else can. It’s the second law of thermodynamics in linguistics.
- Slang does NOT make people stupid. Slang is a spontaneous form of language that is full of incredible linguistic genius.
- Language is NOT primarily writing. Written language is a recent invention. Spoken language has existed as long as humans have and it is THE natural form of communication.
- The standard language is NOT the best form of language and dialects are NOT inferior. Actually, there are no linguistic criteria by which we can differentiate between a language and a dialect, and linguists treat them as the same. The difference is purely sociopolitical.
- Linguistic relatedness does NOT mean genetic relatedness. The fact that we speak the same language does not mean we are related genetically, Come on! It simply means we grew up in the same environment.
- You canNOT speak a language without an accent. It’s practically impossible to speak a language without an accent. So, when you say you don’t have an accent and everybody else does, you’re wrong
- If a word is not in the dictionary, it does NOT mean it doesn’t exist. New words are coined every day and it’s very difficult for dictionary editors to keep up with them. In fact, words that do not exist anymore can still be found in dictionaries.
- Your language or X language is NOT the most complicated and most difficult language to learn. All languages can be learned at pretty much the same rate. Children of all linguistic backgrounds pick up their mother tongues at the same age. Learning a second language is determined, to a great extent, by your native language
- Sign language is NOT one language. Just like there are different spoken languages in the world, there are also different sign languages. In fact, there are over 300 sign languages belonging to different families of sign languages.
- There are NO untranslatable words. All words and concepts can be translated. What you mean are words which don’t have a one-word equivalent in another language.