Free Language Lessons

Written Language versus Spoken Language
By:Charley Pein

After a person born, he or she learn spoken language before written language, so many linguists consider written language a written form of spoken language, which records the human sounds. However, after being built, written language becomes more stable than spoken language. It is because human rely on their eyes more than ears. Since spoken language and it written form represent the same meaning, it is necessary to find out which is deterministic and which is secondary. If this done, it will be a great help to education and learning.

Most knowledge human brain stores are from perception of eyes. As thinking deeper and deeper, a person will try to find answer from the sceneries in his brain, i.e. what they have seen. I mean a person will ultimately explain meanings by visual thinking. In fact, although human communicates to each other by speaking, as auditory thinking ability is much more limited than visual thinking, when he finds it difficult to express, he always start looking for written sentences stored in his brain. If a person doesn’t know written language, his thinking is purely auditory; he can only remember spoken language, although he can produce any sounds of the language, he don’t understand most meanings represented by written language.

Since human explain meaning mainly by visual thinking, as more and more meanings come out along with development of the society, spoken language becomes sound of written language, it seldom represent meaning, instead it get its meaning by corresponding to its written form. Ironically, in this sense, spoken language is spoken form of written language. This seems unnatural and hard to accept, for everybody learn language by hearing and speaking before he can walk, not to say write, how you can say he is reading something he never saw before!? To explain this, imagine a mother presents writings or prints with meaning to her child instead of speaking, after some time, the child will know written language before he can speak. Human begins with speaking because speaking is convenient and easier than writing, it doesn’t mean speaking determine writing. When a person grows up, written language determines most of what he speaks.

Knowing the relationship between spoken language and written language, i.e. written language determines spoken language, can help leaning knowledge and learning language. First and foremost, you should make certain you want to learn is knowledge, not language. Knowing about what a sentence means, i.e. what it corresponds in the real world, is much more important than knowing the writings and pronunciations. One sentence you must remember is: language is just a way for representing and exchanging knowledge or meaning.

Next thing is to read more texts possessing knowledge of your interest and make correspondences to the writing. Today, many prevalent methods play much attention to listening and speaking, while ignoring the connections between writing and knowledge, it is not surprising they make little effect. Although writing determines the meaning, knowing its pronunciation and being fluent in speaking can make you read more quickly, and increase you oral communication ability.

In a word, the main relationship between modern human spoken language and written language is simple — human uses writing to represent the real world, when they speak out the writing, it becomes spoken language.

Charley Pein








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