I. What is Language?It’s hard to say what Language is without eating your words. It’s like thinking about thinking; the mind cannot grasp itself anymore than you can swallow your own swallowing. Nonetheless, Language can be used to point at what it is not. Not Language are the ways languages are written. This is because recordings of things are obviously not those things in themselves. You cannot hold a conversation with a scroll, yet you can with the person who wrote it. A person can even create new words. In the course of discourse, the gears of Language turn, and a new word may pop out of someone’s mouth. Some stick-in-the-mud may groan it’s not a word, citing its absence from the dictionary, as if with such logic there could possibly be any words to begin with! Recordings of Language are nothing but static instances abstracted from a fluid reality of animate change. A dictionary is an interpretive snapshot of a given language’s living web of words. Letters are but theoretical propositions on what a language’s phonological building blocks may be. For instance, Japanese is equally Japanese regardless if written in the letters of the Roman alphabet, the ideograms of China, or Japan’s two writing systems based on syllables; and Japanese is in fact commonly written in all those ways. Doctors may have messy handwriting, but that doesn’t have to mean they talk inarticulately. Language is so inextricably tied in with life and change that as soon as a given language ceases to be in circulation we even call it ‘dead’. What is a language but a huge discourse across time and space? When you sit back in bed at night to read a book (do you?), that discourse may continue in your head; but once you close the book the pages won’t converse with each other — though your flow of thought will continue in your dreams… This whole flowing process that haunts your head can be dressed up to be recognizable to others. That way with Language we have a virtual telepathy. Language is a type or guise of thinking. Dressed up thinking.
The English word language ultimately stems from Latin lingua 'tongue'. Often words with an abstract meaning are rooted in words for tangible physical things. But don't take my word for it. Go have fun surfing an etymological dictionary!