Language Is Arbitrary
Language is arbitrary. I recently stated that language is arbitrary on Twitter in response to the erroneous claim that language is a code. Language is not a code because language is arbitrary. When I state that language is arbitrary, I often receive bewildered and sometimes disdainful replies such as (1) English is 80% predictable, (2) written language codifies spoken language, and (3) language is rule-governed. I shall therefore clarify the linguistic tenet of the arbitrariness of language by unpacking the above statements. First, what is meant by arbitrary? Some dictionary definitions of arbitrary include (1) based on random choice or