Language: What It Is, Characteristics, Features, Linguistics And Theories

We explain what the language is, its origins and what its characteristics are. Also, what is linguistics, how is it divided and more.

What is the language?

Language is a system of linguistic signs that has meaning and that can be decoded between people who use the same system. There is a wide diversity of languages according to each culture around the world, which are transmitted through language, which is the intrinsic capacity of the human being to express itself in a verbal (oral or written) or non-verbal (gestural, iconic or illustrative) way.

The linguistic sign is a set of phonemes that form words or signifiers , that is, the words designate an element or idea. The concept that the word generates in the mind of the speaker is called meaning. Depending on the language, different words or signifiers designate the same element or meaning. For example, house in Spanish or house in English are used to designate a structure with walls, roof, doors and windows in which people live .

Language characteristics

Language characteristics Oral language can occur within the framework of dialogue.

Among the main characteristics of the language, the following stand out:

  • It is intangible and requires language to manifest.
  • It is social because it allows people to communicate and transmit their cultural values in each generation.
  • It is organized based on grammar, that is, the rules that regulate the correct use of signs.
  • It is arbitrary in the sense that there is no particular relationship between the word and the object or idea it represents.
  • It is in constant revision of grammar in order to accompany the changes and evolution of human life.
  • It is dynamic because it usually incorporates new words over time .

What is linguistics?

Linguistics is the science that studies the signs of human language and is subdivided into three types:

  • Descriptive linguistics. It is the part that studies the structure of the language and its elements, such as grammar, which are the rules and norms that organize it; phonetics, which are sounds or phonemes; morphology, which refers to how a word is formed; syntax, which refers to how words are related to each other; semantics, which refers to the meaning of words; and pragmatics, which refers to the context that influences the interpretation of meanings.
  • Historical linguistics. It is the part that studies the evolution of the language and the transformations of the relationships between words over time. It is also called diachronic linguistics that refers to what happens over time.
  • Applied Linguistics. It is the part that studies linguistics in relation to other areas of study, such as psychology , anthropology or neurology, so it changes or applies in a certain way in each case. For example, neurolinguistics is related to the study of the brain and its functions, and ethnolinguistics is related to the study of language and its variation in a certain sociocultural context.

Chomsky theory

Chomsky theory For Chomsky the understanding of the language is subject to the competence of the individual.

The American linguist Noam Chomsky (1928 - present) developed an important theory called generative or biolinguistic grammar , which is based on the study of natural language from a biological and evolutionary perspective. Distinguish language competence from language performance.

His study focused on syntax, that is, on the relationships between words that occur innately due to the existence of a mental structure that allows us to understand and produce any statement in any natural language . Chomsky’s theory is interdisciplinary because it involves, in addition to linguistics, biology , genetics , neuroscience and psycholinguistics, among others.

Chomsky argues that the interpretation and understanding of linguistic sentences is subject to the competence and extralinguistic principles of a person, such as mental restrictions or the belief system adopted.

The above content published at Collaborative Research Group is for informational and educational purposes only and has been developed by referring reliable sources and recommendations from experts. We do not have any contact with official entities nor do we intend to replace the information that they emit.

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