Though this isn't classical philosophy, you might look at some of the modern "analytic" philosophers who have thought a lot about language itself. For Wittgenstein, for example, words don't have any intrinsic meaning, but are just ways of getting something done, provoking a certain kind of reaction. If you are in a place where you don't understand the langage, but you see people saying "I'll take a cheeseburger" and getting cheeseburgers, you don't have to understand the words, you just have to be able to make the sounds to get the results you want in that particular situation.
You could compare this view of language (perhaps) to the "black box" in functional and OO programing. You don't need to know what a function "means", you just have to know when and how to use it to get the results you want.
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