What is language but the making of sounds to represent ideas? Ideas created first then named for the purpose of identifying them. Language is the attempt to represent Ideas with a symbol. Words are symbols of objects or concepts. Without words, communicating would be very difficult. What is language but an attempt to convey ideas from one person to another.
The problem is that many languages have different words for the same things. In learning language it is easier to remember if you can hear the word see the word spelled in your language. It is also very helpful the make a clue to help you remember a new language. Science says that three links in your mind are needed to help lock the words into your memory. The sound and spelling are the first two. It is up to you to make a third link from your personal ideas to help you remember.
What is language without words? Thoughts only. Words are like pictures of what you think. They are very handy for communicating to another person or for remembering something yourself.
I think it is interesting that every language has words for the same ideas. Words like love, trust, understanding, truth, are ideas that have words in all languages. The words sound different but the objects or ideas they represent are universal. Every culture needs and uses them.
To answer the question what is language, it does not matter that the words are different in other cultures. It is the need to express that is the mother of invention for all words in all languages.
What is language to someone who cannot hear? In the case of deaf people words are formed with shapes and motions of the hands. It is a silent language. It still works like words because the hands become the symbols, not sounds from which people understand the ideas being communicated.
What is language to the blind? Again they learn symbols by touching small dots configured into an alphabet so they can read without seeing. They still have the ability to hear the words but for writing a special communication device was created.
What is language to the deaf and blind? It can only be thoughts. Thoughts that are almost impossible to share. Language becomes acting. Motions to help express what the person is thinking. This is the most limiting of all attempts to communicate. If thoughts could be understood without words or sounds it would be the truest form for communication. Maybe some day in the future words and sounds will not be needed at all and thought will be the chosen way for expression.
What is language at that point of understanding will have to be rewritten. In the meantime you can learn Spanish, Mandarin Chinese or Thai at the World Word Exchange. Or sign up now and try a couple of free lessons and let us know if it works for you.