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What is language

By Fitri

Language is the medium of

expression of our thoughts and feelings Symbolic system of sounds that conveys meaning when put together according to a set of rules Meanings attached to any given word in all languages are totally arbitrary

Knowing the Language

1. Linguistic knowledge

when you know a language, you can

speak and be understood by others. Have capacity to produce sounds that signify certain meaning. Understand or interpret the sounds produced by others

Example: My goddaughter who was born in Sweden and who now lives in Australia is named Disa, after a Viking queen.

2. Knowledge of the sound system Knowing what sounds (signs) are in that language and what sounds are not. e.g. the word foreign

Please read these words

flour Summer Glaze Glare Poverty Prestige Ridge reach Flower Glitter Glimmer Glimpse Glisten Glare Gleam Ambiguous

3. Knowledge of words Knowing a language is also to know that certain sound sequences signify certain concepts or meaning. e.g. Boy, toy, girl Know the words in that language, that is, the sound units that are related to specific meaning.

House maison (French), odan (Twi), dom (Russian).

Hand main (French), nsa (Twi), ruka (Russian), mano (Spanish)

Words from different languages

a. Kyinii b. Doakam c. Odun d. Asa e. Nyinngi f. Bolna g. Wartawan h. Inaminatu i. Yawwa

Think these words Beg Request Ask Get Obtain Acquire Recognize Know

4. Knowledge of sentences and nonsentences To memorize and store an infinite set of sentences would require an infinite storage capacity. To learn a language, you must learn something finite.

Identify these sentences


a. John kissed the little old lady who owned the shaggy dog. b. who owned the shaggy dog John kissed the little old lady. c. John is difficult to love. d. It is difficult to love John. e. John is anxious to go.

f. It is anxious to go John g. John, who was a student, flunked his exam h. Exams his flunked student a was who john

Prescriptive grammar
Rule of grammar brought by grammarians attempts to legislate what speakers grammatical rules should be, rather than what they are. e.g.

I am older than she

Descriptive grammar
A linguists description or model of the

mental grammar, including the units, structures and rules An explicit statement of what speakers know about their language.