Design Features of Language

Topics: Language, Linguistics, Natural language Pages: 2 (324 words) Published: October 3, 2008
The Features of Human Language
Hockett argues that there are 13 features that characterize human language: 1. Vocal-auditory channel
The majority of human languages are transmitted by the vocal-auditory channel as their basic mode of expression. Obviously, there are some exceptions as for example writing and sign language (manual-visual channel). 2. Broadcast transmission and directional reception

It has to do with the fact that people that are near us can hear us (broadcast transmission) since the human language signal is sent out in all directions, and also they can recognize the particular direction where the sound comes from (directional reception). 3. Rapid fading (transitoriness)

It means that human language signal fades, unlike written. Once you say something, it is gone since it does not persist over time. 4. Interchangeability
It refers to do with the possibility to broadcast 8speak) and receive (hear) the same signal at the same time. 5. Total feedback
We can hear what we say and produce to monitor ourselves.
6. Specialization
We can specialise the sound we want to produce since human beings have the possibility of doing different kinds of sounds. It occurs because the speech organs are specially adapted to that task. 7. Semanticity

We can assign meanings to the sounds we produce.
8. Arbitrariness
There is no always connection or direct correspondence between words and what they mean. 9. Discreteness
We can discriminate and understand very subtle differences in pronunciation. 10. Displacement
We can talk about the past, present ad future. We can also talk about abstract things although we cannot see them. 11. Productivity.
It has to do with the possibility of producing whatever we want to. 12. Traditional Transmission
Language is transmitted from generation to generation since human beings acquire their native language from other speakers. Thus, we learn language through culture. 13. Duality of patterning
The same sounds can...
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