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Does Language Play Roles Of Equal Importance In Different Areas Of Knowledge?

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One might ask what is language which I use everyday? Language is defined as a method of communication by humans using symbols to share ideas, emotions, information and opinions. This can either be verbal or non-verbal. Would you not agree that most of things we learn in school are conveyed to us through language such as through teaching and reading textbooks? In order for communication to take place, it requires a sender, a message and a receiver. Language is a mode of communication that enables the message to be conveyed from the sender to the receiver. It is one of the ways humans acquire knowledge. On the surface, it seems that language is equally important in the development of these areas of knowledge, to gather and accumulate knowledge in respective areas. However, on closer analysis, it becomes clearer that due to different functions of language, it is used differently. This essay would look at how language is being used in Natural Sciences, History and Arts, to illustrate that, language is equally important in these three areas of knowledge to a certain extent but through further analysis, there is a difference in the way language is used in these areas of knowledge.

To begin with, these areas of knowledge are heavily depended on languages for knowledge to be passed down throughout histories of discoveries. In order for knowledge to be passed on from generation to generations or scientists to scientists, language is used to convey information to one another. Without a written document then that knowledge is lost after a discoverer or a researcher of the respective fields of studies dies. For instance, in History, certain knowledge of events would be lost if there were no languages to write a diary or a document. In other words, there would be no sources left behind such as the Korean War to understand or analyse the event. Therefore, language is useful in translating the thoughts of people to something which other people could physically read such as a journal or a research paper, to interpret and understand. Furthermore, various ideas would not be sorted in a systematic method as well. For example, in Chemistry, without language, Mendeleyev would not be able to devise a periodic table which is used by chemists all around the world. In addition to this, great discoveries in Science such as gravity have been passed down since then till present even after the deaths of the discoverers, thanks to the languages. In Arts, those artists are able to translate their inspiration and expression into great pieces of artworks and poems. This has also travelled through the ages. In Art, Music has its own language such as notes and beats. These collections written on paper make it available for any musicians to play if he or she understands what it means. By this I mean great works have been passed to generations such as copies of Beethoven’s manuscripts, being played by many different pianists. Therefore, the knowledge that we learn in school will not be possible to comprehend without languages. Clearly, knowledge builds up through language.

On the other hand, there are certain aspects in different areas of knowledge that language is used differently. For instance, in Natural Sciences, language is used as a transactional communication. What this means is that the message being communicated would be understood if both the sender and the receiver have the same understanding of the scientific words being used, which is clearly defined, so that scientists would understand each other. For example, in Chemistry, symbols are used in the periodic table to represent each element which is known to most scientists regardless of their nationalities. Even though they might describe the chemical in their own language, most chemists would know that the symbol “Fe” is iron. Even in Biology, many scientists around the world use binomial nomenclature system to name animals and plants in scientific names. For example, homo sapiens refer to humans. In Physics, various formulas are used to describe the relationship in nature, such as Newton’s second law of motion stating that the force is directly proportional to acceleration given that mass stays constant, F = ma. This creates a relationship between two variables in nature. In other words, the equation alone states the relationship in a concise manner used for further calculations. Therefore, knowledge is contained within these symbols or words.

Besides that, with language, scientists are able to formulate a hypothesis, method, conclusions and evaluations for experiments to test variables. Results can also be recorded qualitatively and quantitatively described in languages. Without language, thoughts and ideas cannot be shared by all scientists, limiting the scientific knowledge. Language is also used to categorise the knowledge as shown in Chemistry through periodic table, Biology through the classification system and Physics through equations. Clearly, this shows that language in Natural Science is used to give information, express relationships between variables in nature, to give instructions to do experiments, to set up a hypothesis for the experiment and to solve problems through calculations through



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