This language society and power pdf a good article. Follow the link for more information. This article is about human language in general.
Estimates of the number of human languages in the world vary between 5,000 and 7,000. This development is sometimes thought to have coincided with an increase in brain volume, and many linguists see the structures of language as having evolved to serve specific communicative and social functions. 21st century will probably have become extinct by the year 2100. As an object of linguistic study, “language” has two primary meanings: an abstract concept, and a specific linguistic system, e. When speaking of language as a general concept, definitions can be used which stress different aspects of the phenomenon. These definitions also entail different approaches and understandings of language, and they also inform different and often incompatible schools of linguistic theory.
Debates about the nature and origin of language go back to the ancient world. Gorgias argued that language could represent neither the objective experience nor human experience, and that communication and truth were therefore impossible. Plato maintained that communication is possible because language represents ideas and concepts that exist independently of, and prior to, language. This led to the question of whether philosophical problems are really firstly linguistic problems. These debates about language in relation to meaning and reference, cognition and consciousness remain active today. Proponents of the view that the drive to language acquisition is innate in humans argue that this is supported by the fact that all cognitively normal children raised in an environment where language is accessible will acquire language without formal instruction. Some proponents of Saussure’s view of language have advocated a formal approach which studies language structure by identifying its basic elements and then by presenting a formal account of the rules according to which the elements combine in order to form words and sentences.
Chomsky considers these rules to be an innate feature of the human mind and to constitute the rudiments of what language is. Yet another definition sees language as a system of communication that enables humans to exchange verbal or symbolic utterances. This definition stresses the social functions of language and the fact that humans use it to express themselves and to manipulate objects in their environment. Functionalist theories tend to study grammar as dynamic phenomena, as structures that are always in the process of changing as they are employed by their speakers. However, one study has demonstrated that an Australian bird, the chestnut-crowned babbler, is capable of using the same acoustic elements in different arrangements to create two functionally distinct vocalizations. Additionally, pied babblers have demonstrated the ability to generate two functionally distinct vocalisations composed of the same sound type, which can only be distinguished by the number of repeated elements. Similarly, many species of birds and whales learn their songs by imitating other members of their species.
4 year old human, nor have any acquired anything resembling the complex grammar of human language. This means that it can be used not only for communication through one channel or medium, but through several. Human language is also unique in being able to refer to abstract concepts and to imagined or hypothetical events as well as events that took place in the past or may happen in the future. Humans have speculated about the origins of language throughout history.