Yudan Taiteki wrote:
If you disagree that language is speech, it's hard to have any sort of linguistic discussion at all. The written form has no more effect on language than the printing presses used to print books, or the type of paper the books are written on.
Now, what I'm not sure about is whether "word" actually has a technical linguistic definition.
Ehm, I'm not sure if claiming language is more then speech is the same as disagreeing language is speech?
However, I do deny language is only speech.
I've been thinking about it a bit more just now, and this thought took form in my head:
In a way, in most languages (not Japanese, though, I have to admit), written language actually helps us point out what we apparently consider to be one word. Simply because we put spaces in between.
And interestingly enough (although probably obviously enough) these 'units' differ per language.
A random pick from my dictionary:
Dutch: 'kantkussen' one "word".
English: ' lace pillow' two "words".
Sorry, but I'm down with the flew, so I'm not going to spend time on finding a more down to earth example....but this particular difference between Dutch and English is actually very common.
(Oh, and as a PS, you studied language, didn't you? Then I'm sure you are aware how much influence the written language of Shakespeare has had on nowadays English.
I've recently visited the Globe Theatre in London. Unfortunately my pictures of the Shakespeare's quotations that are now an integrated part of daily speech failed miserably, but the amount was impressive.
So I'm not going to let you get away with the above statement ^_^)