Language vs Literature: Difference and Comparison

Language is a method to express one’s opinions, feelings, etc. It is a method of communication that encompasses all mediums, such as sound, grammar, and words.

The study of language is called linguistics.

It enables humans to share valuable knowledge and develop societies. Different languages are used for other systems of communication.

It is species-specific to human beings. Other animals have not been able to come to par with the level of advanced communication of humans.

Literature, on the other hand, came into existence because of language. It is mainly written and refers to a collection of written works.

It is an art form that has intellectual value. In a broad sense, it is any written work.

Some significant forms of literature are poetry, prose, and drama. The scope of literature is extensive and is also said to be the universe of discourse.

Language and literature differ in meaning, existence, nature, concern, order, method, etc. The purpose of language is to express ideas, opinions, emotions, and knowledge.

Whereas the purpose of literature is to capture those expressions of language.

Key Takeaways

  1. Language is a communication system composed of sounds, symbols, or gestures humans use to convey thoughts, ideas, and emotions.
  2. Literature is a body of written works, such as novels, poems, and plays, that use language as a medium to express human experiences and ideas artistically.
  3. Studying language focuses on language structure, usage, and development, while studying literature emphasizes analyzing and interpreting written works.

Language vs Literature

Language is a method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way. Literature, however, is written works, especially those considered of superior or lasting artistic merit, using language to convey broader themes and narratives.

Language vs Literature
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Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonLanguageLiterature
MeaningIt stands for any form of communication or expression.It refers to written or spoken material, regarded as an art form with intellectual value.
NatureIt is expressive.It is imaginative.
ConcernIt is concerned with discourse.It is concerned with life experiences.
OrderLanguage came into existence before literature.Literature would not exist without language.
MethodsLanguage is both written and spoken.Literature is mainly written.
ContentLanguage is a form of expression.Literature is a collection of expressions via language.

 

What is Language?

Language is a system of communication that enables the transfer of information. It takes into consideration both written and spoken mediums of communication.

It is more of an abstract form using symbols and meanings. It comprises words, sentences, and sounds.

The combination of these elements helps the information of a language. The oldest language is Sumerian.

It has been known to exist since 3500 BC. The proof for the same was found in Iraq.

There is around 5000 to 7000 language in the world.

Many studies exist in languages, such as phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics. The study of sounds in speech is known as phonology.

The study of word composition is called morphology. The study of how words are put together is known as syntax.

The study of language is called semantics.  Every society, region, and place would have a different language. 

There are various languages like Hindi, French, Spanish, Punjabi, etc. in 2015, a 7,102 human languages catalogue was released. Different varieties of languages are known as dialects.

A language is bound to have grammatical rules that govern its working.

language
 

What is Literature?

Literature refers to the written aspect of communication. Any form of written communication is said to be literature.

It is a collection of expressions. These expressions are communicated via language.

Thus, the existence of literature depends on language. There can be as much literature as languages.

It is focused on the creative writing side of the expression.

There are three types of literature: Poetry, Prose, and Drama. Poetry is an aesthetic medium of written communication using rhythms and is always set in verse.

Prose refers to written expression in sentences like a novel, novella, and short story.

Dramas refer to plays that are intended for performance. There are other forms of literature as well that, include biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, etc.

These are a record of the experiences of people. It includes their creative expressions and what they have witnessed.

literature

Main Differences Between Language and Literature

  1. Language refers to any form of communication used to express, whereas literature is a written art form sought to have intellectual value.
  2. Language is a written and verbal form of communication, whereas literature refers to only the written form.
  3. Language came into existence before literature. On the other hand, literature came into existence because of language.  
  4. Language is a medium of expression. Literature is a collection of presentations via language.
  5. Language is expressive as its purpose is to express ideas, knowledge, and opinions, whereas literature is more imaginative.
Difference Between Language and Literature
References
  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=5AEB8QfCtMMC&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=Language+and+Literature&ots=65Q42_K8nv&sig=vY2rS8JYMauOYcaFge12MlwEfkA

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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22 thoughts on “Language vs Literature: Difference and Comparison”

  1. I appreciate the thorough examination of language and literature. It’s astonishing to learn about their interdependence and the unique purposes they serve.

    1. The detailed explanation of the origin of language and the extents of literature’s forms was extremely enlightening.

    2. I found the section on the different types of literature such as poetry, prose, and drama to be incredibly enriching.

  2. The article’s exploration of language and literature was both engaging and enlightening. It offered an in-depth understanding of these vital forms of human expression.

    1. I absolutely agree, the article’s discussion on the origins and varieties of language and literature was truly captivating.

  3. The article provided a detailed and thorough analysis of language and literature, offering a rich understanding of these essential facets of human expression.

    1. I found the section on different languages and dialects particularly compelling. The wide spectrum of human communication was well portrayed.

  4. The article made me realize the significant role that language and literature have in society and the extent to which they differ in various aspects. It’s fascinating to see how language influences the existence of literature.

  5. The article provided a compelling overview of language and literature, shedding light on their fundamental roles in human expression and creativity.

  6. The article has beautifully explained the importance and nature of each discipline. The distinction between language and literature is clear and well-defined.

    1. Indeed, the article’s analysis of the methods and concerns of language and literature was quite compelling.

  7. The article provided a comprehensive understanding of language and literature, highlighting their significance in human expression and communication. A truly enlightening read.

    1. I couldn’t agree more, the distinctions between language and literature were elucidated brilliantly in this article.

    2. The explanation of the impact of language and literature on society and human development was truly remarkable and thought-provoking.

  8. The comparison between language and literature was insightful. It’s interesting to note that literature would not exist without language, highlighting the essential nature of language.

    1. Absolutely, the understanding of these fundamental elements of human expression is crucial for any intellectual study.

    2. I found the comparison table to be a great visual representation of the differences between language and literature, very informative.

  9. While the article contained valuable insights, I found the comparison table to be particularly helpful in understanding the differences between language and literature.

    1. The article effectively conveyed the significance of language and literature in an engaging and informative manner.

  10. The article provided a profound exploration of language and literature, emphasizing their critical roles in human society and expression.

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