"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."".
Characteristics of language.
Definitions of language.
Many definitions of language have been proposed. Henry Sweet, an English phonetician and language scholar, stated: "Language is the expression of ideas by means of speech-sounds combined into words. Words are combined into sentences, this combination answering to that of ideas into thoughts."" The U.S. linguists Bernard Bloch and George L. Trager formulated the following definition: "A language is a system of arbitrary vocal symbols by means of which a social group cooperates."" Any succinct definition of language makes a number of presuppositions and begs a number of questions. The first, for example, puts excessive weight on "thought,"" and the second uses "arbitrary- in a specialized, though legitimate, way (see below).
A number of considerations enter into a proper understanding of language as a subject:.
1. Every physiologically and mentally normal person acquires in childhood the ability to make use, as both speaker and hearer, of a system of vocal communication that comprises a circumscribed set of noises resulting from movements of certain organs within his throat and mouth. By means of these he is able to impart information, to express feelings and emotions, to influence the activities of others, and to comport himself with varying degrees of friendliness or hostility toward persons who make use of substantially the same set of noises.
2. Different systems of vocal communication constitute different languages; the degree of difference needed to establish a different language cannot be stated exactly. No two people speak exactly alike; hence, one is able to recognize the voices of friends over the telephone and to keep distinct a number of unseen speakers in a radio broadcast.