What Is Metalanguage In Linguistics And What Does Its Role

Metalanguage is any natural or artificial language by means of which another language is described .In the most general sense, the meta-language is a language for describing some of any language. Described language is called target language. These languages ​​are described by objects, events, state of the world. That is why it is descriptive. Metalanguage commonly referred to a language via a language .Normally, it denotes a language on an object language in terms of language on non-linguistic objects.

We can understand easily by these statements:[divider]

  • If we are going to state anything about an object language, we must make use of a language.
  • We call a language used to study an object language a metalanguage. •
  • In theory, the metalanguage may be identical or include the object language. – In some parts of linguistics, English is used to describe features of the English language.
  • We will strictly separate our metalanguage (English with some extra technical vocabulary) from our object languages.
  • Keeping the languages separate allows us to avoid paradoxes of self-reference, such as those described by Tarski.

Use and Mention

When we employ the metalanguage to refer an item of language, we are said to mention that item of language.

To mention an item in the object language, one places it within single quotation marks. 1 – ‘Obama’ has five letters and starts with an ‘O.’ – ‘Barack Obama was born in Ohio’ is a false sentence. – ‘This sentence is false’ is true.

In each of the examples, English as the metalanguage is used to mention words or sentences of English.

In the sentence ‘Barack Obama is president,’ ’Barack Obama’ is used to refer to the president.

Examples of The Main Meanings In Metalanguage

Example 1:

Green is a city (object language).

, Casting ‘ has six letters (meta).

The set, casting is a city ‘ is descriptive (meta).

A theorem, who writes many books, is not a good teacher. ‘And, lecturer A. has written many books.’ Logically follows the sentence, lecturer A. is not a good teacher. ‘(Meta).

Example 2: 

Meta = 2nd stage = the sentence, Vienna is a city ‘is true.

Object Language = 1. Level = Vienna is a city.

Object = 0 level = {Vienna, [a city]}

The concept of meta-language is used today in many theoretical sciences.  It is considered an important principle: “According to this principle, we have in a sentence in which we want to say something about a thing, to use not this thing itself but its name or label. The notion of meta-language is considered one of the most important categories of modern logic, mathematics, philosophy and methodology of science, semiotics and linguistics.

Natural languages ​​are semantically closed. This means that they include both expression extra linguistic reference, and the names of their own linguistic expressions plus semantic predicates “true”, “false”, “provable” and others. Since the mid-1930s, the distinction between the concepts of “object-language” and “meta-language” was used extensively in the study of problems of mathematical logic and the foundations of mathematics. Somewhat later it was used in linguistics, semiotics, philosophy and methodology of science. In linguistics meta-language is seen as a means of producing linguistic features

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