Language

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 233
  • Published : March 19, 2013
Open Document
Text Preview
INTRODUCTION
Let me first define Language, Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication. The scientific study of language in any of its senses is called linguistics. Psycholinguistics or Psychology of Language is the study of the psychological and neurobiological factors that enable humans to acquire, use, comprehend and produce language. Initial forays into psycholinguistics were largely philosophical ventures, due mainly to a lack of cohesive data on how the human brain functioned. Modern research makes use of biology, neuroscience, cognitive science, linguistics, and information theory to study how the brain processes language.

If talking about language as a general concept, it refers to the cognitive faculty that enables human to learn and use systems of communications. Below are the different definitions of language according to the use: * Language as a mental faculty, organ or instinct- in this definition, language is seen as the mental faculty that allows us, humans, to take on linguistic behavior. It stresses the universality of language to all humans and the biological basis of the human capacity for language as a unique development of the human brain. These were widely applied by studies of language within a cognitive science framework and in neurolinguistics. * Language as a formal symbolic system- language is a formal system of signs gathered by grammatical rules of combination to communicate its meaning. This tells us the fact that human languages can be described as closed structural systems consisting of rules that relate particular meanings. * Language as a tool for communication- this defines language as a system of communication that enables humans to cooperate. Social functions of languages and the fact that humans use it to express themselves and to manipulate objects in their environment.

What Makes Human Language Unique?
Human language is unique in comparison to other forms of communication, such as those used by animals. Our language is so complex that its structure has evolved to serve a much wider range of functions than any other kinds of communication system. Our language is thought to be different and highly complex more than other species. Human language is so complex, that it is based on a set of rules relating symbols to their meanings, forming an infinite number of possible innovative utterances from a few number of elements. All species communicate in various ways, but only human language is flexible enough to produce new ways of expressing new ideas. Another thing, researchers have identified a language feature that they say is unique to the human brain and are shedding light on how human language evolved. Human brain cells have more complex interconnections in and around brain areas linked to language. The researchers compared the size and trajectory of the arcuate fasciculus in humans, rhesus macaques and chimpanzees. “The human version has much larger and more widespread projection to areas in the middle temporal lobe, outside of the classical Wernicke’s area; we know from previous functional imaging studies that the middle temporal lobe is involved with analyzing the meanings of words. In humans, it seems the brain not only evolved larger language regions but also a network of fibers to connect those regions, which supports humans’ superior language capabilities.” said James Rilling of Yerkes, who led the study.

How did Humans Evolve Language?
Before we think on how language is evolved, let us first think on why does language evolved? Maybe the answer is, because it is very useful in communication, but if it is useful, why do animals do not learn language or even simple words? The question “Why we evolve language?” is answered in two categories: a) we evolve language as a byproduct of overall brain development and, b) we...
tracking img