What in the word usage adds scope to the site name English Language? The topic of language includes its own usage, doesn't it? And if the usage is redundant, is there a reason why we thought it helpful/necessary to emphasize that part of language in the name of the site?

  • 1
    To be honest I don't have answer. Commented Oct 6, 2011 at 20:56
  • Well, you can contemplate a hammer without considering its usage, can't you? Languages are meant to be used, but they are also structures that exist apart from that. They're never very far apart, those two things, but you can draw a distinction.
    – Robusto
    Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 1:38
  • Well, a hammer is something apart from its usage: it's a physical, heavy, steel object. A language, though, isn't anything apart from how it's used, right?
    – Daniel
    Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 18:08
  • No, it is a human artifact. Just like a hammer. It doesn't get shaped in the same way, but it does get created and shaped by human beings. Nobody is using any of the "dead" languages, so they're not being used although they are being studied (i.e., contemplated) as human artifacts.
    – Robusto
    Commented Oct 10, 2011 at 14:09
  • I suppose I'm arguing that even dead languages have their usages. Usage of a language is what makes it a language - or am I equivocating on usage?
    – Daniel
    Commented Oct 10, 2011 at 15:09
  • 1
    @drɱ65δ You have language and you have its usage. You can study a language without using it. Note that I said "study a language" not "learn a language".
    – Alenanno
    Commented Oct 12, 2011 at 23:13
  • What part of language is "studyable" without also regarding how it's used?
    – Daniel
    Commented Oct 12, 2011 at 23:15

1 Answer 1


I think, and kind of always thought, the meaning is:

"The English language (taken statically) and Usage (how it is used)"

There are not just usage questions. For example the etymology ones or "what does x mean?", I think.

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