Journal of Research in National Development

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Language, Meaning and Social Order

FA Airoboman


This essay attempts to x-ray how proper use of language can promote development and social stability, and how its improper use can hinder them, and instead generate conflicts, social disharmony, and consequent social disorder. It briefly surveys the nature of language and meaning, and opines that both are intertwined as human phenomena. It discusses the role of language in social order and consequently in the attainment of national development and social stability and the role of linguistic incompetence in social conflicts and disharmony. The essay argues that the misunderstanding which exists between or among individuals, groups or nations which result in conflict and war are, most often, hinged on misuse, misunderstanding or misconstrual of language used, or, the manipulation of language for selfish reasons. It opines that we can benefit when language is properly communicated and understood and loose when it is improperly communicated and understood or corrupted. It argues further that when linguistic competence is interfered with or distorted for whatever reason or reasons horrors can descend on mankind resulting in untold, unimaginable, irreversible consequences. The work suggests how effective communication can be enhanced and how some of the problems of effective communication can be resolved.

Keywords: Language, Meaning, Linguistic (In)competence, Social (In)stability, Social (Dis)order, Development

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