differences between spoken and written language

Spoken language

Spoken language is a form of human communication in which words derived from a large vocabulary (usually at least 10,000) together with a diverse variety of names are uttered through or with the mouth. All words are made up from a limited set of vowels and consonants. The spoken words they make are stringed into syntactically organized sentences and phrases. The vocabulary and syntax together with the speech sounds it uses define its identity as a

Particular language.

Some human languages exist with their own vocabularies and syntax that are not spoken but use sign gestures. Sign languages have the same natural origin as spoken languages, and the same grammatical complexities, but use the hands, arms, and face rather than parts of the mouth as their place of articulation.

Many spoken languages are written. However, even today, there are many world languages that can be spoken but have no standard written form. Such languages can be expressed in writing using the International Phonetic Alphabet.

Hearing persons acquire their first language from that spoken around them, usually chiefly their mothers. Spoken language is much richer than written language; for example, transcripts of actual speech show numerous hesitancies which are usually left out of written forms of ‘speech’ such as screenplays.

Even from the point of view of syntax, spoken language usually has its own set of grammatical patterns which sometimes may be quite different from that in written language. In many languages, the written form is considered a different language, a situation called diglossia.

Written language

Written languages change more slowly than corresponding spoken languages. When one or more registers of a language come to be strongly divergent from spoken language, the resulting situation is called diglossia. However, such diglossia is often considered as one language, between literary language and other registers, especially if the writing system reflects its pronunciation.

Native readers and writers of English are often unaware that the complexities of English spelling make written English a somewhat artificial construct. The traditional spelling of English, at least for inherited words, preserves a late Middle English phonology that is no one’s speech dialect. The artificial preservation of this much earlier form of the language in writing might make much of what we write intelligible to Chaucer (1343–1400), even if we could not understand his speech.

Written Language refers to communication in its written form most commonly in the forms of reading and writing. However we are in a need for oral language; speaking and listening skills are acquired naturally by young children remarkably without the need for having to teach them. Language in its written form has become a process that is required in our oral language rules and must be clearly taught. There are many languages in our world that exist, but do not have a written form.

As literacy skills become known, oral and written language are closely intertwined. Therapy to work on language delays and disorders is often done in combination with reading and writing activities. Increased awareness and understanding of how sounds and letters relate to one another can have a mutual effect on a child’s communication skills. As children develop an understanding of written language and begin to read and write, it is clear that they acquire much of their new vocabulary through reading. Written language is more complex than oral language, so it is clear that children who read more can develop a more sophisticated language ability of understanding.

Difficulties experienced by a speaker or writer of a second language

The ability to write well is not a naturally acquired skill; it is usually learned or culturally transmitted as a set of practices in formal instructional settings or other environments. Writing skills must be practiced and learned through experience. Writing also involves composing, which implies the ability either to tell or retell pieces of information in the form of narratives or description, or to transform information into new texts, as in expository or argumentative writing. Perhaps it is best viewed as a continuum of activities that range from the more mechanical or formal aspects of “writing down” on the one end, to the more complex act of composing on the other end . It is undoubtedly the act of composing, though, which can create problems for students, especially for those writing in a second language (L2) in academic contexts. Formulating new ideas can be difficult because it involves transforming or reworking information, which is much more complex than writing as telling. By putting together concepts and solving problems, the writer engages in “a two-way interaction between continuously developing knowledge and continuously developing text”). Indeed, academic writing requires conscious effort and practice in composing, developing, and analyzing ideas. Compared to students writing in their native language (L1), however, students writing in their L2 have to also acquire proficiency in the use of the language as well as writing strategies, techniques and skills. They might also have to deal with instructors and later, faculty members, who may or may not get beyond their language problems when evaluating their work. Although a certain amount of consciousness-raising on the part of the readers may be warranted, students want to write close to error-free texts and they enter language courses with the expectations of becoming more proficient writers in the L2.

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