It is because of these reasons that some linguists say that speech is primary

It is because of these reasons that some linguists

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of written materials. It is because of these reasons that some linguists say that speech is primary, writing is secondary. Writing did have one advantage over speech—it could be preserved in books or records. But, with the invention of magnetic tapes or audio-cassettes, it has lost that advantage too. The age-old proverb ‘pen is mightier than the sword’ does not hold much ground when one finds that the spoken words, at the beck and call of a really good orator, can do much more than a pen. Just think of Mark Antony’s speech in ‘Julius Caesar’ that inspired the whole mob into action and spurred them on to a mood of frenzy to burn and kill the enemies of Julius Caesar. A number of modern gadgets like the telephone, the tape recorder, the Dictaphone, etc. only go to prove the primacy of speech over writing. Language is a set of conventional communicative signals used by humans for communication in a community. Language in this sense is a possession of a social group, comprising an indispensable set of rules which permits its members to relate to each other, to interact with each other, to co- operate with each other; it is a social institution. Language exists in society; it is a means of nourishing and developing culture and establishing human relations. It is as a member of society that a human being acquires a language. We are not born with an instinct to learn a particular language––English, Russian, Chinese or French. We learn a language as member of the society using that language, or because we want to understand that society, or to be understood by that speech-community. If a language is not used in any society, it dies out. Language is Primarily Vocal Language is a Social Phenomenon
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M.A English Study Material Linguistics Prepared by: Atta Ur Rahman Jadoon 6 03335499069 Language is thus a social event. It can fully be described only if we know all about the people who are involved in it, their personalities, their beliefs, attitudes, knowledge of the world, relationship to each other, their social status, what activity they are engaged in, what they are talking about, what has gone before linguistically and non-linguistically, what happens after, what they are and a host of other facts about them and the situation they are placed in. No language was created in a day out of a mutually agreed upon formula by a group of humans. Language is the outcome of evolution and convention. Each generation transmits this convention on to the next. Like all human institutions languages also change and die, grow and expand. Every language then is a convention in a community. It is non-instinctive because it is acquired by human beings. Nobody gets a language in heritage; he acquires it, and everybody has been provided with an innate ability to acquire language. Animals inherit their system of communication by heredity, humans do not.
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