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Language is a set of auditory and visual symbols used by humans and possibly other species to communicate. For humans, there are many different sets of symbols, languages, that have evolved with the cultures and communities that created them. Although each of these languages are unique in some way, they all share a common purpose. The expression of ideas using a set of symbols with meanings that are roughly agreed on by everyone who uses them.

That the meanings are roughly agreed on is important. For a language like English, which makes heavy use of contextual modifiers, the meaning of a word can be different in different situations. As well, people may interpret the symbols differently, leading to confusion and disagreement when the base idea is in fact the same. People many be agreeing with each other and not even realize it, the meaning of what the other person is saying being distorted by personal interpretation.

Languages are not perfect forms of communication; there is plenty of room for ambiguity and misinterpretations. Personal beliefs, experiences, and values have an effect on how an individual interprets words and phrases. This is well evidenced in the phrase XP pack rape, which has different connotations for different people. The strict definition of the word rape is different from the emotional response provoked by the word, and it will affect different people in different ways. Some people are really deeply offended by the use of the term because of the meanings they associate with the word rape, while others don't really care, and support or at least don't denounce the use of the term.

The ability of language to evoke strong emotions above and beyond the strict definitions of the words used in the construction of a phrase is part of what makes language such a beautiful thing. Since meaning is so colored by personal experience, poetry or fiction or even different styles of writing can be used to gain emotional reactions. This effect on the human mind is what makes story telling and literature in general enjoyable to many people.

Language allows us to express our thoughts and feelings to each other. We can feel rapture reading about love or despair. We can know that there are others out there like ourselves, that we are not alone. We can communicate, because we have language, and that is a beautiful thing.

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