What is language? System of system.
- Combination of words that convey specific meaning and having specific grammatical arrangement.
- a system for the expression of thoughts, feelings, etc., by the use of spoken sounds or conventional symbols
- Language is a communication of thoughts and feelings through a system of arbitrary signals such as voice sounds, gestures, or written symbols.
Language is used for communication whether it is oral or written.
What is communication???
it a process in which one person can transfer his/her ideas to the other.
It is derive from Latin commūnicāre, meaning “to share”
In communication we need a sender who encodes the message then we need a message and then a receiver who decode the message.
How can we learn language?
- Words (meaningful combination of letters is called word)
- Sentence (meaningful combination of word is called sentence)
Characteristics and Features of Language
Language is, today, an inseparable part of human society. Human civilization has been possible only through language. It is through language only that humanity has come out of the Stone Age and has developed science, art and technology in a big way. Language is a means of communication, it is arbitrary, it is a system of systems. We know that Speech is primary while writing is secondary.
Language is human so it differs from animal communication in several ways. Language can have scores of characteristics but the following are the most important ones: language is arbitrary, productive, creative, systematic, vocalic, social, and conventional. These characteristics of language set human language apart from animal communication. Some of these features may be part of animal communication; yet they do not form part of it in total.
Language is Arbitrary: Language is arbitrary in the sense that there is no inherent relation between the words of a language and their meanings or the ideas conveyed by them. There is no reason why a female adult human being be called a woman in English, aurat in Urdu, Zen in Persian and Femine in French. The choice of a word selected to mean a particular thing or idea is purely arbitrary but once a word is selected for a particular referent, it comes to stay as such. It may be noted that had language not been arbitrary, there would have been only one language in the world.
Language is Social: Language is a set of conventional communicative signals used by humans for communication in a community. Language help us to interact with each other, to co-operate with each other; it is a social institution. Language exists in society; it is a means of nourishing and developing culture and establishing human relations.
Language is Symbolic: Language consists of various sound symbols. These symbols are arbitrarily chosen and conventionally accepted and employed. Words in a language are not mere signs or figures, but symbols of meaning.
Language is Systematic: Although language is symbolic, yet its symbols are arranged in a particular system. All languages have their system of arrangements. Every language is a system of systems. All languages have phonological and grammatical systems, and within a system there are several sub-systems. For example, within the grammatical system we have morphological and syntactic systems, and within these two sub-systems we have systems such as those of plural, of mood, of aspect, of tense, etc.
Language is Vocal: Language is primarily made up of vocal sounds only produced by a physiological articulatory mechanism in the human body. In the beginning, it appeared as vocal sounds only. Writing came much later, as an intelligent attempt to represent vocal sounds. Writing is only the graphic representation of the sounds of the language. So the linguists say that speech is primary.
Language is Productive and Creative: Language has creativity and productivity. The structural elements of human language can be combined to produce new utterances, which neither the speaker nor his hearers may ever have made or heard before any, listener, yet which both sides understand without difficulty. Language changes according to the needs of society.
Language is a system of systems
The study of sounds is called phonology
The study of formation of words is known as morphology.
The study of formation of sentence is known as syntax
The study of meaning of words is known as semantics.