- The language in which remarks are made about another language. The language talked of is the object language. The distinction is made by Tarski, whose reaction to the semantic paradoxes was that no language could be semantically complete, i.e. capable of saying everything that there is to say. If we take a language capable of saying many things, then nevertheless, on pain of contradiction, it cannot give a truth definition, defining its own truth-predicate . To discuss truth and falsity in the first or object language, we must ascend a level, to a metalanguage, and so up a hierarchy. The term is abused when any discourse about other sayings (e.g. the discourse of literary criticism) is said to be couched in a metalanguage, since there is here no reason why it should not be in just the same language as the original, and it usually is.
Philosophy dictionary. Academic. 2011.