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I was reading this news on yahoo and I think there should be an article. If you say there should not be then please give me some valid reasons.

On yahoo:

Question- Importance of body language in detecting partner’s mood?

Ans: Body language is a major form of non-verbal communication and sometimes speaks even louder than the words. Words may lie or even remain unsaid, but usually, body speaks honestly, unless the other person is trained enough to manage the body language efficiently.

In my opinion:

Ans: A body language is a major form of non-verbal communication and sometimes speaks even louder than the words. Words may lie or even remain unsaid, but usually, body speaks honestly, unless the other person is trained enough to manage the body language efficiently.

Thanks in advance.

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1  
Perhaps, they mentioned general "body language", not any particular one –  Hakan Feb 18 at 10:00
    
@Hakan, Thanks, then I think, it should be: body languages. –  user62015 Feb 18 at 10:01

3 Answers 3

Here, the word language is a mass noun and thus does not take an indefinite article a.

As in Body language (mass noun) - a non-verbal method of expression or communication.

Mass nouns are not countable nouns and thus don't take the indefinite article a. For exact entry of body language, see here in MacMillan Dictionary where it's described as an uncountable noun.

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1  
"language" or "body language" is not a mass noun like sand, water, milk etc. You can't say some/little/much language or a bucket of language. –  rogermue Feb 18 at 12:14
    
I never said that. Check it carefully, I linked only language as mass noun. To tell the example as well, I put AS IN ...there. I did so because there we have exact example of what the OP is concerned about. body language using the mass noun language The given link says it is a mass noun. –  Maulik V Feb 18 at 12:16
    
We can drop definite article (the), when we are talking generally and we can also drop indefinite articles (a/an), when we are talking about very common things (school, bed, university). But here language is a noun and it is single, so it is not working as a mass noun (as per my opinion) so I have not got my answer yet or maybe I am not able to understand the points you are making (I am so sorry). –  user62015 Feb 18 at 13:15
    
If you agree the definition (Oxforddictoinaries, read it in orange) of language - the method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way. You will agree that in that context, the word language is a mass noun. Even I learn many things changing my opinions forever! –  Maulik V Feb 18 at 13:21
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@user62015 Language does not mean only individual languages such as English, Hindi, Mandarin; it can also signify linguistic communication as a human behavior, like work or study or dancing. –  StoneyB Feb 18 at 13:37

No native english speaker will ever say 'A body language' in this context.

(Though others have posted, I would only comment on their posts but stack exchange doesn't let me). In this sentence, 'body language' is being used in the same way we'd use 'mathematics' or 'sign language' or 'English' or 'art' or 'shyness'.

"A mathematics is a major form of..." is not coherent. "A shyness is a major form of..." Hmm, nope. Neither of those take the definite article, for reasons already posted.

"Mathematics is a major form of ...", yes this makes sense. "English is a major form of..." Sure, sounds good.

I don't know if it's because it's being used as an attribute? (Body language is an attribute of your body, just like shyness is an attribute of your personality, or mathematics is an attribute of knowledge) or a mass noun (is shyness a mass noun?), or just because it's necessarily singular and encompasses a category (there's not multiple kinds of body language, just body language itself. If there were body languages, they'd all by definition be body language, wouldn't they? Just like there's not some kind of math that isn't math, or we wouldn't call it math... there might be different kinds of mathematics, but they're all Mathematics. So, it's singular even if it encompasses a category).

Apologies that stack exchange makes me post this as though it were a separate, stand alone answer.

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The other comments about 'language' bring a mass noun are off the point. 'A programming language is a major form...' is fine, and so is 'A naive language is a major form...' all fine. The problem is thinking that 'body language' is an adjective-noun pair like programming language, or car part or computer screen. It's not. 'Body language' is the noun, it's a singlular concept. A programming language is a language that programmers use. Body language is not a language. It doesn't require broca or wernikes brain areas, it isn't submitted electronically or stored in libraries. –  Mercury00 Mar 20 at 21:19

There is only one body language so to stress the idea that you speak of one of several body languages is not the right thing. Generally speaking, English tends to drop the article when its value is of no great importance. Most grammars have a chapter on the articles and can give you a feeling for this tendency.

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We can drop definite article (the), when we are talking generally and we can also drop indefinite articles (a/an), when we are talking about very common things (school, bed, university). But here language is a noun and it is single, so it is not working as a mass noun (as per my opinion) so I have not got my answer yet or maybe I am not able to understand the points you are making (I am so sorry). –  user62015 Feb 18 at 13:15

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