Lecture 1: Introduction of Language and Properties of Language After this lesson you will learn

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  Different definitions of language Critical understanding of associated concepts with language Features of language

What is language? (1) Language is a symbol system based on pure or arbitrary conventions… infinitely extendable and modifiable according to the changing needs and conditions of the speakers. (Robins: 1985) (2) Language is purely human and non-instinctive method of communicating ideas, emotions, and desires by means of a system of voluntarily produced symbols. (Sapir: 1921) (3) Language is institutions whereby humans communicate and interact with each other by means of habitually used oral-auditory arbitrary symbols. (Hall: 1969) (4) A language is a set (finite or infinite) of sentences, each finite in length and constructed out of a finite set of elements. (Noam Chomsky: 1957) (5) A language is system of arbitrary vocal symbols used for human communications. (Wardaugh: 1972) (6) A language is a system of arbitrary vocal symbols by means of which a social group cooperates. (Bloch & Tiger: 1942) (7) Language is undoubtedly a kind of means of communication among human beings. It consists primarily of vocal sounds. It is articulatory, systematic, symbolic, and arbitrary. (Desbyshire: 1967) (8) Language is a system of conventional spoken or written symbols by means of which human beings as members of a social group and participants in its culture, communicate. (Encyclopaedia Britannica) (9) Language are the principal systems of communication used by particular groups of human beings within the particular society (Linguistic community) of which they are members. (Lyons: 1970) (10) Language is the system of human communication which consists of the structured arrangement of sounds (or their written representation) into larger units, e.g. Morphemes, Words, Sentences, and Utterances. (Longman Dictionary: 2002)

ENG 320: Introduction to Linguistics

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10. Language is not modifiable according to the changing needs and conditions of the speakers. and utterances are forms of a language. 7. “Language is non –instinctive” means no child is born with the ability of using language. Language is primarily vocal. sentences. 6.Properties of Language: Discuss the following features of language in group. Language is interchangeable. “A language is a system” means it has its grammar and it works according to that grammar. 1. Arbitrary conventions means there is no relationship between the linguistic form of a word and its meaning. 4. Language is system of system. Hindi speakers. The word system and communication are opposite of each other. Arabic speakers and English speakers are one linguistic community. 9. Language is creative and productive. He/she acquires through his/her family and his /her society. 3.          Column A Language is a means of communication. 5. Language is human. Language is a form of social behavior. Language is arbitrary. All human being communicate by the means of a same language. Write the name of the person or source which refers to that particular feature in the given definitions. Column B Mark true or false to the following statements and discuss the reason of their being true or false. Words. Communication is possible only by using a language. 8. It is not found in animal. Animals have their own language as human beings have theirs. 2. ENG 320: Introduction to Linguistics Page 2 of 2 . Language is a symbol system.