By Lawal Benjamin (Lawben)
“Man disagrees to agree “.This has proven to be a great and popular cliché in human sodalities.
The experimental activities of this shibboleth, therefore, informed the conjuration of this nugget. According to Sapir (1921:8), Language is a purely human and non instinctive method of communicating ideas, emotions and desires by means of voluntarily produced sounds.
However, later works have proven more on the characteristics features of what language is. Sapir definition deals basically with the Arbitrary Nature of Sounds in Human Language. This therefore, brought about a more comprehensive definition: “language is a human, non instinctive system of communication that makes use of arbitrary and conventional symbols according to the grammar of the language.
The aim of this essay is not to discuss in full the features of language, but to simply make a clarification on the difference between language and a language. As illustrated above, language is a HUMAN system of communication. Therefore it should be noted that the idea or concept of Language is a phenomenon that is associated with man generally. It marked the great distinction between man and animals. Every human society is known to be endowed with language.
However, A language as a concept can be seen as a subset of Language, as it deals with the system of communication of a PARTICULAR group of PEOPLE. This showing the fact that language could be infer to be generic, while a language as specific. Language is to all human, while a language is to a set of people.
The embedded disparities between language and a language, serve as the fertilizer of incomprehensibility of two contrasting language. Though, every human language takes from Language in the composition of itself, however, it differs in meaning when applied by it users.
Therefore, Language is not English, but English is a language. So also, language is not French, German, Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo and others. But, they are all in unison language, while in isolation, each is A Language.