• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Languages, Geography of

  • By: Barney Warf
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Language (in contrast to speech) may be understood in several ways: (a) as a means of organizing thought; (b) as a way of communicating, that is, producing and sharing meaning; and (c) as a vehicle for bringing the world into consciousness, that is, of converting sensations into perceptions. Language is a system of symbols through which cognition is structured, and it is intimately wrapped up in individual and collective identity. It is impossible to understand the world without it. Language is thus simultaneously a psychological, social, and cultural phenomenon. In many countries (e.g., Belgium, Canada), languages have deep political significance as well and may be the source of ethnic strife. Because languages are unevenly distributed across space, they are also inherently geographical.

Because languages are semantically ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles