Language ( Concept )

      |_ Abstract
            |_ Taxon
                  |_ Linguistic Taxon
                        |_ Genetic Taxon
                              |_ Language


The most fundamental means of human communication. Language is a purely human activity, although some animals have communication systems which have certain analogies to human language. All human beings use language to interact with other members of the same speech community. Language is not only used as an instrument of communication, however, but also as a means of individual expression. Language is not instinctive; it has to be learnt as a system of arbitrary conventional symbols. Such symbols are primarily vocal, produced by the so-called organs of speech, but secondary systems such as writing and other codes may complement the vocalsystem. Some linguists, such as F. de Saussure, have stressed the view of language as general patterns in the speech of a community and as the speaking activity of an individual in a particular situation; others, with N.Chomsky, regard language as the innate capability of native speakers to understand and form grammatical sentences as as the actual utterances produced at a given time. [Hartmann and Stork 1972: 123-124]

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