Meaning of Language

What is Language:

Language is a system of signs through which individuals communicate with each other. These signs can be audible (such as speech), bodily (such as gestures), or graphic (such as writing).

In its etymological origin, the term language comes from Latin lingua, associated with the organ of the "tongue". Lingua is also related to lingere, which means "lick".

By extension, the word language is also used to refer to all kinds of signal systems that allow us to understand a certain subject or transmit a message. For example, the musical language, which has its own writing system.

Although the word language is normally used to refer to the ability of communication between humans, recent research indicates that some species also have communication codes through sound and bodily signs.

See also Linguistics.

Language functions

In general terms, it can be said that the function of language is to enable communication between subjects, whether it is about ideas, sensations or feelings. Language contributes, in this way, to socialized learning and the construction of a common culture.

From a specialized point of view on the ultimate nature of human language, various functions can be distinguished. The functions of language, in fact, have been extensively studied. At least six main functions are known:

  • Appellate function: occurs when the sender expects a response from the receiver.
  • Phatic or contact function: it is the one that validates the reception or understanding of a received message.
  • Referential, representative or informative function: aims to provide information on a particular matter.
  • Emotional, expressive or symptomatic function: it tries to express moods, desires, etc.
  • Poetic or aesthetic function: occurs when the purpose is to build a formally well-accomplished speech.
  • Metalinguistic function: it is when language is used to explain itself, such as grammar.

See also Language functions

Language characteristics

As a human phenomenon, some of the main characteristics of language are the following:

  • It is an innate ability of the human being.
  • Therefore, it is universal.
  • It is rational.
  • In its concrete forms, language is learned within a culture and / or through experience.
  • It results from a coding process.
  • It arises from the social convention and, at the same time, requires a convention to be understood.
  • It is expressed through sounds, graphic signs and / or bodily signs.
  • It allows the exchange of information between two or more individuals.
  • It is flexible, that is, it is modified according to the transformations in the sociocultural environment.

Language types

There are several ways to classify language, depending on the area of ‚Äč‚Äčinterest. Let's get to know the most important ones.

According to the communication mode

  • Verbal language: refers to all forms of language that make use of the word. Understands:
    • Oral language
    • Written language (graphic signs)
  • Non-verbal language: covers the forms of language that are expressed through resources other than words:
    • Non-verbal facial language: refers to facial gestures that communicate impressions or moods. For example, the smile as an indicator of sympathy.
    • Kinesic nonverbal language or body language: refers to the bodily actions that convey messages. For example, the different ways of sitting or arranging the arms during a conversation (arms crossed, both arms extended, legs open or closed, etc.).
    • Non-verbal proxemic language: proxemic language refers to the meaning given to the use of physical space and the distance between subjects during the act of communication. For example, between two affectively related people, proximity expresses intimacy. When two people are in a hierarchical or distant relationship, closeness can express harassment.

See also Non-verbal communication.

According to the social context or the way of expressing themselves

Depending on the social context in which the language occurs, the speaker may use formal language or technical language. Let's look at each one separately.

  • Everyday language or informal language: it is the one used in interpersonal communication in contexts of trust and horizontality of social relationships. For example, between the family or the circle of friends. They require the use of the standard language. We also speak of colloquial language, where the use of onomatopoeia, short sentences, repetitions, redundancies, among others, is accepted.
  • Formal language: it is one that attends to forms of courtesy in contexts where there is hierarchy or where subjects establish communication for the first time. This type of communication seeks to guarantee good receptivity to the messages that are transmitted.
  • Technical language: it is the language of a certain field (academic, institutional, labor) or a language specialized in a subject (scientific, political, economic language) whose use is frequent among the members of a certain professional community.

Denotative and connotative language

Denotative language is that language that is used to express things clearly without using any symbology. Denotative language refers to a fact, situation, data in a direct way.

On the other hand, connotative language is one that communicates information, feelings in a figurative or symbolic way such as "there is no harm that does not come".

Tags:  Sayings And Proverbs General Expressions-In-English