Properties of Language, According to Linguistics

Topics: Linguistics, Noam Chomsky, Language Pages: 3 (829 words) Published: July 30, 2013
Lin, Alan
Spring 2013
Linguistics 1

Properties of Language According to Linguistics

Language, we use it everyday, but what exactly defines “language?” Are there generalizations to be made of all languages? Does everyone learn language same way? What are the rules of language? “What is Language?” by Neil Smith and Deirdre Wilson answers these questions and more by highlighting the three major theories of modern linguistics.

The first modern linguistic theory claims that language is govern by grammar and that grammar is a set of rules with two functions: identifying possible sentences in a given language and dictate the pronunciation & meaning of a sentence in a given language. The first function provides fluent speakers the ability to understand every conceivable sentence in their language even if they never heard it before sentences. This creative quality to produce infinitely many sentences is unique to language. The second function provides fluent speakers of different dialects to communicate with each other using the grammar rules of their shared language. The two functions of the first modern linguistic theory provides effective communication between two parties and acknowledgment of it is vital in first understanding language. In part with the first modern linguistic theory’s definition of grammar is that each person’s linguistic grammar is entirely unique to him or herself, because everyone learns grammar differently due different external factors. Everyone absorbs different linguistic speech patterns from their external environment during infancy and adds it to his or her own unique grammar customs, habits or conventions. These differences are even more prominent in patients of aphasia, a language disability that breaks up certain parts of their grammar creating difficult to understand or entirely incoherent sentences. People with aphasia create their own linguistic systems, sometimes being completely incompatible with the common linguistic...
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