Comments on the Concept of Language
Rousas J. Rushdoony. "History is in part not only
a long struggle for the minds, bodies, and properties of men…
but it is also a battle with respect to language.
An instrument of power at Babel, language was, according
to Scripture, confused by God in order to create diversity and
the possibility of separate and integral developments.
Men fail to understand one another not only when they
speak alien tongues, but when they use the same words with very
Communists and conservative U. S. Republicans alike use the word
“republic,” but with radically different interpretations.
Christians and relativists both speak of “law” with no
identity of meaning.
Again, the definition of liberty is not limited to its nine
dictionary definitions but has, in its civil and religious
connotations, as many meanings almost as there are political
parties and religions in existence.
As a result, the very fact of a common tongue and an
identical word can sometimes, on the presupposition of a
necessary cultural unity, further the confusion of speech.
As a result, many cults and movements have sought at
times a private and esoteric speech only to find staleness and
flatness of definition from lack of public conflict.
Moreover, in general usage words and communication-forms
change, and they sometimes change so slowly that the erosion is
imperceptible even when complete."
Republic, page 1, 1978)
Webster's 1828 Dictionary.
"1. Human speech; the expression of ideas by words or
significant articulate sounds, for the communication of
thoughts. Language consists in the oral utterance of sounds,
which usage has made the representatives of ideas. When two or
more persons customarily annex the same sounds to the same
ideas, the expression of these sounds by one person communicates
his ideas to another. This is the primary sense of language, the
use of which is to communicate the thoughts of one person to
another through the organs of hearing. Articulate sounds are
represented by letters, marks or characters which form words.
Hence language consists also in...
2. Words duly arranged in sentences, written,
printed or engraved, and exhibited to the eye.
3. The speech or expression of ideas peculiar
to a particular nation. Men had originally one and the same
language, but the tribes or families of men, since their
dispersion, have distinct languages.
4. Style; manner of expression.
Others for language all their care express.
5. The inarticulate sounds by which irrational
animals express their feelings and wants. Each species of
animals has peculiar sounds, which are uttered instinctively,
and are understood by its own species, and its own species only.
6. Any manner of expressing thoughts. Thus we
speak of the language of the eye, a language very expressive and
7. A nation, as distinguished by their speech.