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  • Valentina Saavedra

Language: Made to be Shared


Sitting outside in the Miami heat, a third grader decided to create her own language rather than create mud pies. Scrambling in and out of the sliding glass door, this same third grader grabbed her notebook and pen and plopped back down on the scorching side walk. It seemed simple enough. First, create your own alphabet then assign arbitrary configurations of that alphabet to things. The only thing I didn’t take into account as I decided that a tree would now become a yepen was that the only person that knew what I was saying was me. You can’t have a language all by yourself because language is not just individual, but has a social aspect as well. Language does not exist with both its individual and social aspects, which meant my language could not possibly exist.

See, I was using only parole and neglecting langue. I had the ability to use my own language individually, but I was not able to apply it to an overarching language system. Mooney says that Langue “…exisits perfectly only within a collectivity,” (de Saussure 1966: 12).

I had the pen clutched in my sweaty hand, furiously scribbling each funny sounding syllable down, not realizing that my labor would be fruitless, not realizing that I had made it null and void, not realizing that my language would never truly be a language because I had no one to share it with.


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