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Language is the ability to comprehend both spoken and written words, and to produce meaningful words when a person speaks or writes. Language is a complex skill set that involves many complicated processes, such as biological, cognitive, and social skills.
Other types of language involve the use of signs or body signals to convey meaning.
Duality of Patterning
Duality of patterning is how a person associates sounds with meaning.
The same phonemes are expressed but organized in a different order to convey different information.
For example, DOG and GOD have the same phonemes (D, O and G), but when they are arranged in a certain way, they mean entirely different things.
Symbols and rules can be combined for infinite messages.
Productivity is also the ability of the native speaker to use certain grammatical processes, mainly in the formation of words.
For example, if productivity allows a person to arrange letters in a sensical way to create words with specific meaning; this can be culturally based.
If a word is arbitrary, it means it is based on individual judgments and perceptions - not based on any objective distinction, perhaps even made at random.
For example, the word DOG does not tell us the breed of dog or how large it is, although other words in the sentence/conversation can provide us with clues.
Language can be used to discuss concepts in the present, the past and the future.
It can be used to talk about something that is present in the current situation, for example, a picture, or something that is miles away, for example, a trip to China.
This is known as displacement.
Context is how everything within language works together to convey a particular meaning.
Context includes tone of voice, body language, and the words being used.
Depending upon how a person says something, holds his/her body, or emphasizes certain points of the sentence, they can convey a variety of different messages.
For example, the phrase "Awesome," when said with a big smile, means the person is excited about a situation.
"Awesome," said with crossed arms, rolled eyes, and a sarcastic tone means the person is not thrilled with the situation.