I am writing about the importance of learning English vocabulary, and I have this idea:

Just like the air, language as a medium is rarely noticed when we use it. It needs to be embedded into our daily practice to be useful. But because of its transparency, we hardly see the problem.

For clarification, the language here is transparency, or invisible, just like the air. People think that they can learn vocabulary just enough to communicate, but in fact it's not. The problem here is that it's not, but they quite confident that it is. Same as air pollution.

My native friend doesn't feel complete, but he can't think of a way to convey this message in a simple statement. Can you tell me where it's wrong, and how to fix it?

  • For clarification, what is the "problem" you are referring to in the final sentence?
    – eelero
    Aug 1 '16 at 18:26
  • I can't tell what "language transparency" would be. You don't realize language functionality in daily use? The quote by itself may be difficult to comprehend.
    – user3169
    Aug 1 '16 at 18:35
  • What is the "problem" that we "hardly see?" Aug 1 '16 at 18:37
  • 1
    Transparency isn't really an appropriate word here, since in the context of language, a "transparent" usage means one which is easily recognised and understood. You can probably assume from the lack of decent answers to Word for something so familiar or ubiquitous that it goes unnoticed? that English doesn't really have a concise way of referring to the phenomenon you're thinking of. Aug 1 '16 at 21:18
  • But because of this ubiquity (or ubiquitousness), we hardly see the problem works a treat here, but see the link provided by FumbleFingers. Aug 1 '16 at 22:32

Well, I would not put some words of that short paragraph. For example, when you say, language as a medium what exactly do you mean? a medium of communication?

The other word would be embedded I would put It needs to be inside of our daily routine to be useful

  • I feel that embedded into works much better than inside here. No one refers to items as being "inside" a routine.
    – eelero
    Aug 1 '16 at 18:21
  • Now you say it, it takes another meaning. In fact, I think I will put It needs to be part of our daily routine. Aug 1 '16 at 18:30
  • @eelero - We would not use into with embedded. Embedded takes in. Aug 1 '16 at 19:16
  • @P.E.Dant It might not be formal or technically correct, but I've heard it used with into many times.
    – eelero
    Aug 1 '16 at 20:31
  • @eelero You might hear into from a non-native speaker who is trying out new verbs, but (subject to my misgivings about them) ngrams have it as rarer even than within, which itself is extremely rare. A native speaker (who is familiar with the verb) will not use into. Aug 1 '16 at 21:25

I can't shrink this idea down to one word, but how about:

Just like the air, language as a medium is rarely noticed when we use it. It needs to be embedded into our daily practice to be useful. But because its true meaning/usefulness is hidden, we hardly see the problem.


P. E. Dant suggests this:

Just as we rarely notice the air we breathe, we rarely notice the medium of language as we speak. It must be embedded in our lives to be useful, but because it is as transparent and ubiquitous as air...

...we hardly see the problem

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