Addressing the Nature of Language and Interpretation

In nature and interpretation of language, we use words to denote given things. The words making up language have meaning that provides us with the opportunity to refer to things as that or this. To understand and interpret language in the right way the first thing that we should do is to distinguish the meaning of from its reference in order. This helps us to retrieve the sense of statements identity where symbols employed have got the same referent but meaning different things.  For instance, the statements “The Evening Star” have got the same referent with “The Morning Star.” Having distinguished the statements from the reference order, we can easily interpret the statements in their right forms.  One can only understand a language after understanding what makes the truth of the sentence in the language. To find the meaning or the right interpretation of a statement as said by Davidson, there is a need to develop truth conditions to the statement.  That is one can understand or translate language better by assuming what he/she fathomed prior in the concept of truth. Regardless of what was meant by the speaker or the intentions of the speaker, we can always use the declarative sentence to trace the meaning of the sentence. This is done by determination of the conditions under which the sentence is true or false.

The other way to understand the language better is by paying very close attention to the conversation and act of speech. In this form of language interpretation, the rule is that one should elucidate what the speaker of the means, and in turn understand what the speaker meant by elucidating the intentions of the speaker.  In simple terms to understand and correctly interpret a sentence one ought to utter the sentence that the speaker said. Therefore in the second context, the gravity of interpretation of a language lies in the sentence meaning through speaking the words. By uttering a sentence with an intention to be understood by the audience and receive the feedback the following three levels are put into consideration. The individual uttering the sentence has an intention that the audience;  harbors a specific response to the sentence being uttered;  it also recognizes that the response is the very intention of the utterer and lastly, the reaction is got due to the recognition of the right information uttered.  In short, in this context of language interpretation, the sentence meaning lies on the speaker meaning.

Addressing language and its interpretation can also be taken in the context that, an expression is argued to mean one thing or another if and only if the expression is conventional for the users of the language. From this context, the force of language and its interpretation revolves around the ideas put forward, the intentions and beliefs of the speaker. In this case, we make a transition from the meaning of the speaker to the linguistic meaning of the sentence to understand its meaning. However, the speaker meaning remains fundamental in the interpretation of language. For instance, the word “spin” in its inception to being a conventional word meant public apologetics its use caught on until it has now become a conventional word. Most of the words used on the internet have also become conventional through their regular usage. But they came to be interpreted or understood the way they are because of the intentions of the speaker using them.

As per the above arguments, the general idea of language and interpretation is majorly on the semantic and the syntactic rules which together give the meaning of all sentences used in language. The meaning is precisely achieved by identifying the truth-conditions of the sentences. Thus the meaning of language is understood well by communication reference. Christopher Peacocke, a renowned linguist, confirmed that the meaning of a sentence is given by the truth functions of the sentence from the speaker.  Language is both disclosive and communicative. For example, if a candidate who is vying for an election seat declares that “There were no scandals among my staff.” When we take at both the sentence and the speaker meaning, then the speaker is simply trying to contrast his staff and the opponents. It, therefore, gives the intention of the speaker hence the meaning of the sentence. To understand language deeply and one needs to consider both the meaning of the sentence and truth- conditions of the sentence. All converge around utterance of the speaker on a particular occasion to giving the meaning of a sentence.

The modern argument by Chomsky in acquiring, the innate and universal grammar guides understanding and interpretation of language. The principle states that understanding of language and its interpretation starts from childhood.  Chomsky claims that understanding language is pegged on the pre-linguistic abilities of a child in reading the intentions of others and recognizes patterns by use of auditory and visual means. This elaborates that for one to understand language and interpret it well, then he must have started practicing it while still young as he grows up with the language developing in him. The arguments of Chomsky are supported and modified by Tomasello to confirm the natural development of language as argued by Wittgenstein and Benjamin. He argues that language acquisition account bears both phylogenetic and ontogenetic characteristics. To explain this further, he says that human beings communicate symbolically but in a more advanced way than the animals making them to develop natural languages.  Tomasello claims that when children are at the age of five months, they are capable of recognizing sound patterns as well as associating various aspects of experience with those close to them.  He argues that from nine months children develop capacities and acts in a way that they need an understanding of their cultural world. It is at these pre-linguistic stages that determine the children’s language acquisition. At this moment there is joint capacity attention when the children learn to follow the guess of the adults.

The joint attention between the child and the adult helps in the provision of conditional background for general communication. Joint attention helps the child to understand the communicative intentions of others and the parents within the attention frame.  With the joint attention, the child progresses in language and its interpretation to the extent where they heed to the commands or instructions of the parents and others. With continued training to adulthood, he or she will continue understanding and interpreting language the way he/she was taught. Therefore, understanding a narrative is not a matter of personal opinion and interpretation but the use of joint attention knowledge acquired during language development from others.  The collective attention is what drives an individual to understand the speakers meaning by bringing together the sentence and utterance meaning of language.

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