Discuss the nature and uses of language.
Nature of Language
1) What is language?
Language is a collection of symbols governed by rules and used to convey messages between individuals. The nature of language brings us to the nature of human thought and action, for language is neither more nor less than both these aspects of human nature. Let's examine the nature of language closer. 2) Paralanguage
Paralanguage is the non-verbal elements of communication used to convey emotion and modify meaning. Sound and movement are used by humans to communicate with each other and paralanguage may be expressed consciously or unconsciously through gestures or in the pitch, volume and intonation of speech. Bowing, for example, is a gesture of respect that is deeply ingrained in Japanese culture and society, which is used in greetings and other situations. 3) Symbolic
Language is symbolic which has intrinsic meaning. Each word is a symbol for a meaning. For example, we can view the word “dog” as a kind of symbol, like a picture of a dog made with sounds.
Language represents meaning beyond the immediate context. Learners of language have to learn by relating symbols with its meaning. This is why we try to teach language in an appropriate context to the learners. In this way, we not only teach the language itself but on how to use the language. 5) Complex system and productive
Language is a complex system and is productive. We can produce an infinite number of sentences from a finite number of rules with language. A language learner may pick up their native language and speak completely original and correct sentences because they “know” the rules. 6) Primarily speech and complex
Language is primarily speech and secondarily writing. Modern English teaching reflects the primacy of speech. The rules of language are not easily stated in any grammar book hence language is clearly complex. There is no complete set of rules which generate all possible grammatical and ungrammatical utterances for almost any natural language.
Uses of Language
Language is used in many different ways and for many different purposes. As an important tool of communication, learners use language to convey information and ideas with one another through writing and speaking. How then, is language being used for communication? 2) Uses of language
One way, though not the only way, language is used to control people, events or relationships. An example will be to command someone to close the door. Besides commands, other ways will be to request it or even beg for it. In social encounters, language is used as a tool to perform social tasks, as opposed to conveying information; “How are you?” is used at the beginning of a conversation to express sociability and show that the speaker has friendly intentions. Language is used in phatic communication (“small talk”) to show feelings or as a space filler to establish a mood of sociability rather than to communicate information or ideas. Language is also used for thought. Learners of English think in the language which they speak with and it shapes the way which they think. When language is used in the normal way, the speaker has a thought with certain content and chooses words such that on the basis of those words, the other party will be able to recognize that the speaker has a thought with that content. Language is used to convey feelings and emotions and they are different from thoughts, beliefs and convictions. When someone says: “I feel that…” he is only expressing his belief as compared to “Oh my God!” which shows the speaker’s amazement with something. 3) Conclusion
In conclusion, language is an important tool used to communicate and build relationships between individuals.
Qn 3. Summarise the development of normal children in acquiring their first language from birth up to the age of 7.
From birth to early childhood, a normal infant make...
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