In this essay we will discuss about Language. After reading this essay you will learn about: 1. Definition of Language 2. Structure of Language 3. Characteristics.
Essay # Definition of Language:
The term language is derived from the Latin word language which means tongue. While the need to express one’s desires, interests, feelings and emotions is inborn, the ability to communicate with others through language is learned or acquired. Acquisition of language begins with the initial cries, grunts, grons, and gasps of the neonate.
With growth of age babbling starts. All these are transformed in to the use of single words, two words and then to three words sentences and finally into well formed sentences. Words are symbols of reality and they are used to symbolize concepts and manipulate knowledge concerning reality.
A language ordinarily is an elaborate system of specialized verbal symbol generally accepted and used in the transmission of meaning. The human child acquires a great amount of reception learning through language itself.
Language also helps greatly in learning in the transmission of cultures traditions, love, sympathy attitudes and aspirations of social beings. Mowrer (1954) emphasizing the importance of language has thus remarked “Language makes it possible for its users to have various experience, to learn through and from the learning of others and this I see is the essence of education.”
It is through language that cultures and traditions are passed on to the next generation, to the children and to students. The never ending transmission of culture and heritage from generation to generation is done basically through language and without language, the cultural stream cannot flow properly.
Bruner (1964) has referred to language as a Cultural technique upon which the phylogenetic and Ontogentic development of human intelligence depends. Besides Communicating one’s own feeling and experience with another person other aims of language are to learn to gain knowledge, to fulfill various needs and above all to relationship with others.
Brownfled, McCarthy and Vincent holds that speech is a type of activity through which man builds his world, becomes sociable and helps others. Language makes a man polished and by and large, language helps in the healthy development of personality.
According to Encyclopedia America, Language is a faculty and ability possessed by normal human beings and by other species of using a spoken and written references to represent mental phenomena or events. According to Soffettic language refers to “The systematized set of vocal habits by means of which the members of a human society interact in terms of their culture.”
Sapir (1921) is of view that “language is a purely human method of communication through a system of voluntarily produced symbols” Ruddell (1974) defines language as a system represented by sound symbols with conventional meanings hared by members of a linguistic group.” The importance of language cannot be undermined in the society.
The acquisition of words is essential for abstraction, concept formation, all higher learning, cognitive growth processes. In simple terms language may be said to be a means of communication through conventional symbols.
Language has three major dimensions such as:
(1) Content, which refers to the meaning of any written or spoken language.
(2) Form, which is the particular symbol used to represent the Content, the sound the word and the grammar.
(3) Use-which is referred to the social inter-change or exchange between two people.
Essay # Structure of Language:
The structure of language has three aspects:
Phonemes refers to the basic source used in any language. The letters of the alphabets in English language have 26 Corresponding basic sounds in speech i.e. one letter for each distinguishable speech sound.
When Phonemes are combined into large units, they are called morphemes. Thus, Morphemes are smallest meaningful spoken units. A morphem is a language unit that cannot be broken down further without loosing or altering its meaning. A single morphem may consist of any syllable or several syllables.
The rules for combining morpheme (words) into grammatically correct sentences are called syntex. Syntex is based on linguistic analysis of sentence formation. The ultimate purpose of syntex is to understand how the meaning of sentences is conveyed by the speaker to the listener.
Each language has its own rules governing the combination of phonemes, permitting some combinations and prohibiting others. In order to understand any language one has to understand both meaning and structure.
Essay # Characteristics of Language:
A language has the following characteristics:
1. Language is a human attribute.
2. It is partly acquired, but largely instinctive.
3. It is verbal, symbolic and primarily oral in nature.
4. Language is a systematic and patterned behaviour having definite structure and form. The speaker cannot indiscriminately change the sequence of words.
5. Language has individual and social significance since it is a primary tool of communication.
6. Language is a system actualized as sounds or phonemes.
7. Language has melody, rhythm, pitch, stress and junctare.
8. The relationship between symbol and meaning is conventional arbitrary, learned and traditional.
9. Language is a open system allowing the speaker to say new utterances that may never have been said before.
Some features of children’s experience are vital to the learning of the structure of language. These features are initiation, comprehension and production. The relationship between these three processes are of major importance than their individual contributions.
A child repeats utterances produced by his parents. He imitates the pronunciation of his parents or baby seater or aaya and readily accepts the speech pattern and pronunciation made by persons in his immediate environment. Electronic medias like Radio. Television etc. play important role here.
This includes the correct association of meaning with word by symbols, the selection of the correct meaning suggested by the context, the organisation and retention of meanings, the ability to reason smaller idea segment and the ability to group the meaning of a larger unitary idea.
It refers to utterances which are of initiation, which are grammatical and internally principled and which bear some relation to nonlinguistic features of the environment so that they are comprehensible to a listener. Initiation is found to be easier then comprehension which is again easier than production.
The former two are necessary conditions of the later. While initiation involves a perceptual motor skill only and hence easiest, comprehension and production both require awareness of meaning. Further production demands utterances while comprehension simply requires pointing.