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1. What is language?

It is audible, articulate human speech as produced by the action of the tongue and adjacent vocal
organs. It is also any means, vocal or otherwise, of expressing or communicating feeling or thought.

2. Definitions of language according to some linguists

A. Language is a system of arbitrary vocal symbols, which permit all people in a given culture,
or other people who have learned the system of that culture to communicate or to interact.
– Finocchiaro
B. Language must have been invented for the purpose of lying. – Edgar Stutervant
C. Language is speech. Speech is language. Written record is but a secondary representation of
language. – Charles Fries
D. For communication to take place, the sender and the receiver should have shared
presuppositions. – Widdowson
E. Language is a system which relates meaning to substance. It is a mental phenomenon that is
innate. All children in the world acquire a mother language. – Noam Chomsky
F. Language is a system of signals conforming to the rules which constitutes its grammar. It is a
set of culturally transmitted behavioral patterns shared by individuals. – Joseph Greenberg
G. Language has two elements. One is cognitive, which comprises the linguistic features. The
other is emotive or affective. – Oller
H. Language is a code: a set of elements and forms composed of sounds, letters their
combinations into words and sentences used in communication by individuals who share
the same rules. – Roger Bell
3. Also known as mother tongue and native language, the first language is acquired in the home
while the second language is
4. Six functions of a language
by Mary Finocchiaro
1. Personal. The personal function enables the user of a language to express his innermost thoughts;

his emotions such as love, hatred, and sorrow; his needs, desires, or attitudes; and to clarify or

classify ideas in his mind.

2. Interpersonal. The interpersonal function enables him to establish and maintain good social

relations with individuals and groups; to express praise, sympathy, or joy at another’s success; to

inquire about health; to apologize; to invite.

3. Directive. The directive function enables him to control the behaviour of others through advice,

warnings, requests, persuasion, suggestions, orders, or discussion.

4. Referential. The referential function enables him to talk about objects or events in the immediate

setting or environment or in the culture; to discuss the present, the past, and the future.

5. Metalinguistic. The metalinguistic function enables him to talk about language, for example, “What

does .…….mean?”

6. Imaginative. The imaginative function enables him to use language creatively in rhyming,
composing poetry, writing, or speaking

5. Five Principles of Second Language Teaching specifically by Theodora Llamzon

6. A polyglot is a person who knows or speaks several languages whilst a linguist is a scholar who
studies languages.