The Different Elements That Affects the Understanding of Language

Language barriers are difficult, even if you supposedly speaking the same language. This is because language intricacies are more complicated than a native English speaker conversing with someone who speaks primarily German, or other variations thereof. Set by an example of a dance teacher and their student, it is not only the region of language but the type of language used that can make or break communication. In this article, we learn about Geographic language vs. Egocentric language and how both styles benefit in different ways.

However, without full understanding of the tacit dimension of a person’s speech misunderstandings can and will occur. The way a person speaks can say a lot about them. Their accent may give away that they are from either a different state or country, use of vocabulary may suggest educational background, and simple phrases or words they use an also provide hints to their background.

Though many experts have sought to know what fundamental differences define use when it comes to language, two of these experts created the Sapierhorf hypothesis.

The Sapir~Whorf hypothesis suggested that since the Hopi language, unlike English, lacked a future and past tense it meant that the Hopi Indians had no sense of lineal Lime. However, critics argued against this, saying that if it were true no one—no matter what language they spoke—would be able to learn anything. Because in the English language words like “neighbor” or “friend” do not reveal gender unlike French or German where these words would require you to say the specific gender of the person.

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Given the logic of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, this would mean that English speakers are incapable of understanding gender. According to Guy Deutscher, speakers of languages tat project gender onto objects come to think of them as such.

For example, when Spanish speakers were asked to assign voices to inanimate objects such as lamps or other furniture, they would give gender specific voices to objects that coincided with their language’s gender project. Lamp in Spanish has a feminine projection, for example, and so lamps were given female voices. Another form of language style is Geographic speech, which is a method of giving direction in casual conversation. Unlike Egocentric language which uses directional terms like “right, left, backwards, forwards” Geographic language uses terms like “east, west, north, south” to give direction. Difficult though this may seem for non-geographic speakers, this type of language does come with the added benefit of making the speaker constantly aware of their surroundings. In order to give good, accurate direction with this language you need to know where you are at any given point. This is achieved through very subtle hints having to do with the environment, such as sun position and familiarity with the area, etc. Geographic language can become confusing even to native speakers, however.

There was one situation with a Balinese child who loved to dance and showed a lot of talent for it. One day his teacher sent him to another teacher in a western village so that the boy may increase his skills. However, after a few weeks when the teacher came to check they found that the new teacher decided that he was extremely lacking. After some minor investigation, the teacher found that the child could not follow the directions of the teacher because he was not familiar with the area. This unfamiliarity made confused this child‘s sense of direction and made it hard for him to understand instructions which may otherwise have been simple to learn. Misunderstandings in speech are inevitable, even when you and your conversational partner use the same regional language or linguistic method of talk. It shows just how intricate speech can actually be and the importance of paying attention to the details in conversation.

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The Different Elements That Affects the Understanding of Language. (2022, Oct 22). Retrieved from

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