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What is language?

Language is the principal method of Community used by human beings. Languages consist of spoken sounds in spoken languages and written symbols that are used for written languages. Language is the conventional speaking system through which we can communicate with others and express our ideas, feelings, and information. Language is the most important aspect of our life cause it allows us to create cultural ties, friendships, and relationships by spreading our thoughts and ideas.

But language is not only a verbal thing, but written words (letters), gestures also act as language.  That is, language is a symbolic means of communication through gestures, spoken words or written words, capable of conveying meaning.

Properties of language :

There are basically six properties of language that makes human language different from animal language. These properties are some kind of features that are unlikely to be found in the languages of other living creatures. Here, the properties are given below.

1. Displacement :

This property allows us to communicate about those events that are currently absent from the environment ( like I did the work yesterday, what is your plan for this vacation or I will get the job in the next month). It allows us to make up stories and think about both the past and the future.

2. Productivity :

It resembles the infinity of unique words/sentences and the combination of the words. It is linked to the fact that the potential number of utterances in human languages is infinite. 

3. Arbitrariness :

It basically presents that no natural connection between a linguistic form and its meaning exists. That means the words or symbols used to make the right perception about the objects are not inherently interconnected to those objects they symbolize. 

4. Discreteness :

This property ensures that the sounds used in languages are meaningfully distinct and those sounds are considered our own with our distinct meaning. 

5. Duality :

At one stage of language, we find two kinds of simultaneity of language, one is discrete sounds and another is discrete meanings. 

We can combine the letters l, a,k, and e in two different ways: lake and leak. These two word means two different meanings even though they are comprised of the same four sounds. 

6. Cultural Transmission :

Language is learned through culture with other speakers and not from parental genes.

Characteristics of Language :

There are basically 10 characteristics of language. Some of the are major characteristics and some of them are minor characteristics. Again some of them are relatable to the properties of language mentioned before.

Here, the characteristics are given below:

1. Language is a social phenomenon :

Language should be considered a social phenomenon considering Its uses, importance and It's unique value. Language exists in our human society and plays a big role in nursing and developing culture and establishing good relations between human beings. 

2. Language is the main means of human communication :

It is a universal acknowledgment that language is the main means of communication among human beings. Although there are also some means of communication is exists among us like nods, winks, mathematical symbols, sirens, maps, codes, horns, etc. But all of this commutation system is too much limited to language. They are not as appropriate as language is.

3. Language is basically vocal:

Language is primarily made up of vocal sounds which are produced by the vocal cord, an articulatory organism of the human body. Initially, it must have come out as sounds only and writing mostly come much later. During the lifetime of a human being, he/she must speak more than he/she writes.

4. Language is unique, complex, creative, and modifiable :

Language is a unique substance on the planet. There are no other talking species in the world without human beings. Human being has their own way to communicate. Again, each language is unique in its own sense. Though there are similarities among languages, each language has Its own particularities. Language is changing each and every moment and new languages are begin created with time. The old English language is not same as the modern English. So, language is also modifiable. 

5. Prolapse :

Man can talk about situations, stories, and certainty without the presence of that situation & environment. Man can talk about the past or about the future. Language allows us to think in that way. We can talk in absence of someone with the mean of language. 

Besides these major characteristics, some minor characteristics are also given below :

6. Productivity :

Whatever we create is productivity. Speaking itself is also a type of productivity. We can talk about topics that are displaced or we can talk about the things that may be present or not, or talk about anything in the past, present, or future. We can make a story that doesn’t exist.

7. Language is Social: 

Language is a set of conventional communicative symbols used by humans for communication in society. In this sense, language is a possession of a social group, comprising an indispensable set of rules which permits its members to share thoughts with each other, communicate with each other, and cooperate with each other; it is a social institution. Moreover,  Language exists in society; it is the means of nourishing and developing culture and establishing human relations.

8. Language is systematic: 

Despite being symbolic, the symbols of the language are arranged in specific systems. All languages have their individual & unique arrangement of plans. Each language is an arrangement of systems. 

9. Language is a symbolic system: 

Language is signified as a symbolic system. It consists of different types of symbols based on sound for concepts, things, ideas, thoughts,  objects, etc. Language has specific sounds and words according to their symbols.

The words in a language are not just patterns or images but symbols that have meaning. The core value of a language is sometimes funded by the true explanation of these symbols.

10. Language is non - instinctive and Conventional:

No language was made in a single day. Language is the result of the advancement of culture and tradition. Every age transmits this tradition to the following.

Like every single human organization or system, languages may also be changed and passed on, developed, modified, and extended. So, we can consider language as non-instinctive because naturally it is acquired and modified by us.

Components of Language

If any language of the world is analyzed, basically four parts are found as basic elements.  They are-





Sound is the most basic or core element of language.  Sound is basically the verbal expressive element of the language, and the written symbol of this verbal element is the letter.

Words are formed by combining multiple sounds.  However, when several words are formed according to the rules of grammar, sentences are produced from them and which mainly make language in terms of expression, which mainly conveys meaning to us.

Of particular note

The basic element or smallest unit of language is sound or letter;  The basic material, unit or largest unit of language is the sentence.

There is no accurate estimate of the exact number of languages ​​currently spoken in the world;  However, according to linguistic scientists, there are currently more than 3,500 languages ​​use in the world.

Properties & Characteristics of language


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