An article of Lalu Apin Suagari Lansat, S.Pd.


According to Chomsky (Radford:1988), Language is a mirror of mind. Thus, what someone says is what he/she thinks. The analogy of such teory comes from Sapir and Whorf asserting that language determines one’s thought (Arifuddin: 2013). Both of those teories connect between language and brain. Before addressing something, it is processed in our brain.

The way of one saying something is not only through speaking but also writing. Both have different medias – they are tongue combination with others for speaking and hand for writing (personal conversation with Mr. Wahyudi). People are more familiar with speaking (spoken language) relating to a language than writing (written language). However, writing is also language which is not utteranced.

Prof. Mahyuni stated that spoken language is changeble while written language is permanent or documented. Changeble means that the language can change based on the situation of speaking. For example, Jhon said, “I really don’t wanna help her because she never helps me. Oh hmm… not because of that, but because she has refused to be my wife.” However, what you have written or even published cannot be deleted or canceled what you wrote if yours have been owned by readers around the world. Will you go to see them one by one to erase your incorrect sentences of your book or journal?

Since my professor instructed us to find differences between spoken and written language, the writer attempted to seek them. The result of the writer’s thought can be seen in the lists below:

  1. Spoken language can be helped by ‘gasture’ to make the meaning clear while written language cannot be. For example, a father asks for a help to his five year son to take an ashtray which is on a table while he is pointing at the thing.
  2. Any mistake of written language can be analyzed more easily than spoken language. A reason for this is because written language is documented.
  3. A spoken language can be undertood quickly than we read one’s information or intention. That we get a listening abiliy firstly before we know how to speak, read, and write is the reason. Therefore, Moslem baby is listened ‘adzan’ when he/she is born.
  4. Spoken language has an intonation to make it clearer to be heard by listeners. When a boss is angry with his officer, he can know the anger frequency of the boss by listening the intonation. However, written language has commas, dots, question marks and others marker which cannot describe clearly about the writer intention or emosional.
  5. Spoken language is able to be responsed by audiences directly while written language will have an indirect response. Can you quickly receive a response of your girl friend when you send her/him a letter? You always wait for long time, don’t you? Even, a response letter which sends to you is not a letter telling you her love, but her marriage with another man.
  6. Written language has a systematic rule to write. By obeying such rule, the writer intention is transfered easily to the readers. “The way of telling an idea is very important for the success of informarion transfered process,” (Djharie: 2009). Spoken language has no such rules such as main idea, supporting sentence, conclusion even though somebody sometimes speaks by saying main idea, supporitng sentence, and others but the speaker utterances it unconciously.
  7. Written language can be the second memory because it is documented while spoken language will disappear after utterance is done. Have you heard a motivator saying that to focus on the goals should be written the aims?
  8. Written language can be copied to transfer not only to a reader but also to more than one reader. A spoken language cannot be copied.
  9. Spoken language has a non verbal language that we call it as ‘sign language’. Such language is used for deaf mute people while written language has ‘tulisan timbul’ for blind people.
  10. Spoken language is transfered through the air while written language is through shine of the sun.

Note: It can be the difference of spoken and writen language if there is no a tape record.

To enrich this article, the writer also wrote other opinions about this topic which is taken from internet as follow (http://www.omniglot.com/writing/writingvspeech.htm accessed on 11th of September, 2014. 20.35 WITA?):

  1. Written language is usually permanent and it cannot be changed if it has been printed. Spoken language is transient, unless it is recorded, and speaker can correct themselves and change their utterances as they go along.
  2. A written language can be communicated across time and space for as long as the particular language and writing system is still understood. While speech is usually used immediate interactions.
  3. Written language tends to be more complex and intricate than spoken language with longer sentences and many subordinate clauses. Spoken language tens to be full of repetitions, incomplete sentences, corrections and interruptions, with the exception of formal speeches ang toher scripted forms of speech, such as news reports and scripts for plyas and films.
  4. Written material can be read repeatedly and closely analysed, and notes can be made on the writing surface.
  5. Some grammatical constructions are only used ini writing, as are some kinds of vocabulary, such as some complex chemical and legal terms. Some types of vocabulary are used only in speech.


Arifuddin. 2013. Neuropsikolinguistik. Jakarta; PT RajaGrafindo Persada.

Djuharie, O.S. 2009. Paragraph Writing. Bandung; Yrama Widya.

http://www.omniglot.com/writing/writingvspeech.htm accessed on 11th of September, 2014. 20.35 WITA?

Radford, A. 1988. Transformational Grammar. Britain; Bath Press.

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