Communication versus Language
Humans have the ability to encode and develop abstract ideas and engage in problem solving. It is this ability that allows man to use language in its simplest and complex forms. Animal communication lacks the complexity we associate with human language based on the nature and functions of language. While animals may possess some of these features, humans by far possess all. Communication is not synonymous with language. It is true that all language facilitates communication, however, not all communication is considered language. Animals communicate using instinct most times. However, to say animals use language must be proven based on the functions of language as well as the nature of language. The Nature of Language
It is a uniquely human activity- According to linguist, David Crystal (1989), it refers to human vocal noise or the graphic representation of this noise in writing. It occurs naturally for human beings who do not have to consciously convert their thoughts into speech. •
It is systematic, consisting of rules and conventions that govern sentence order, pronunciation and grammar. This system allows humans to create new speech scenarios for different situations. •
It is non- instinctive. Humans are not born possessing a language, it is taught through socialization. Humans are born with an inclination towards acquiring language but the language spoken is culturally determined. •
It is symbolic. Words and objects used in language all represent something; however these representations are culture bound. There is hardly a fixed and intrinsic association between words in a language and the object or ideas that the words signify. One word or idea may symbolize something else in another culture or society. The use of symbols within language is arbitrarily assigned. For e.g. the word ‘book’ in English is called ‘cahier’ in French and ‘libro’ in Spanish. •
It is dynamic. Language is always changing. New words are added daily...
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