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About us - A certain conception of language


Last Updated: 24 Jun 2017

A certain conception of language
To defend and promote plurilingualism, the OEP relies on a conception of language that can be expressed in the form of three oppositions.
1. Tool language - Environment language
Common opinion perceives language as a tool it uses to describe a reality that is external to it.
That reality is external is an illusion. This reality is well in the language, because only the language makes it possible to conceive and describe it. What is not conceived in the language does not exist for the speaking individual. Thus language is an environment, not a tool, because we really live in language.
2. Language of service - Language of culture
We owe it to Heinz Wismann and Pierre Judet de La Combe to have conceptualized this opposition between the language of service and the language of culture in L'avenir des langues (Le Cerf, 2004).
The language of service, as a particular modality of a language, is limited to describing so-called objective realities perceived as external to the world of language and that everyone can share, while the language of culture will integrate a whole system of interpretation that is everyone's way of moving in the world. The language of service corresponds to a denotative use of the language, while the language of culture corresponds to a connotative use.
 3. Language of communication - Historical language
The language of communication is made to transmit and exchange information, while the historical language includes in its folds all the layers of cultural layers that have been poured into it through centuries of history, common life and lexical and semantic evolution. Language thus has at least three fundamental dimensions, a dimension of communication and negotiation, a dimension of expression, and finally a dimension of transmission, of memory transfer.

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