The Properties of Language
These properties are:
Human language-users are capable of producing messages that refer to past and future time, and to other locations. That is , it allows the users of language to talk about things and events not present in the immediate environment. Also , it enables us to talk about things and places whose existence we cannot be sure of such as mythical creatures, demons , fairies , angels , Santa Claus, and recently invented characters like Superman. Thus, it is the property of displacement which allows the human , unlike any other creature to create fiction and to describe possible future worlds.
1-When your pet cat comes home after spending a night in the back alleys and stands at your feet calling meow. You are likely to understand this message as relating to that immediate time and place. If you ask the cat where it was the night before and what it was up to , you may get the same meow response. It seems that animal communication is almost exclusively designed for this moment.
2-When a worker bee finds a source of nectar and returns to the hive , it can perform a dance to communicate to the other bees the location of this nectar. Depending on the type of dance, the other bees can work out where this newly discovered source can be found.
It is generally the case that there is no 'natural' connection between a linguistic form and its meaning. You cannot look at the Arabic word Kalb and from its shape , for example, determine that it has a natural meaning, any more than you can with its English translation form-dog. The linguistic form has no natural or' iconic' relationship with that four-legged barking object out in the world. The forms of human language demonstrate a property called arbitrariness . There are, of course, some words in language which have sounds which seem to 'echo' the sounds of objects or activities. English examples might be cuckoo, crash which are onomatopoeic. For the majority of animal signals, however, there appears to be a clear connection between the conveyed message and the signal used to convey it.
Productivity (or 'creativity', or 'open-endedness') is an aspect of language which is linked to the fact that the potential number of utterances in any human language is infinite. It is a feature of all languages that new utterances are continually being created. A child learning language is active in forming and producing utterances which he or she has never heard before. With adults , new situations arise or objects have to be described. So the language-users manipulate their linguistic resources to produce new expressions and new sentences.
This process whereby language is pnoed on from one generation to the next .
1-While you may inherit brown eyes and dark hair from your parents you do not inherit their language. you acquire a language in a culture with other speakers and not from parental genes. An infant born to Chinese parents (who live in China and speak Cantonese), which is brought up from birth by English speakers in the United States, may have physical characteristics inherited from its natural parents but it will inevitably speak English.
2- humans are born with an innate predisposition to acquire language. it is clear that they are not born with the ability to produce utterances in a specific language. Human infants growing up in isolation produce no instinctive language cultural transmission of a specific language is crucial in the human acquisition process.
3-The general pattern of animal communication is that the signals used are instinctive and not learned.
4-There is however some experimental evidence which suggests that some birds do actively 'learn' the distinctive calls used by their species. If those birds are reared in isolation they will instinctively produce abnormal songs or calls.
Language is organized at two levels simultaneously. In terms of speech production ,there is the physical level at which individual sounds can be produced, like n, b and i. when we produce those sounds in a particular combination as in bin , we have another level producing a meaning which is different from the meaning of the combination in nib,
This duality of levels is in fact one of the most economical features of human language since with a limited set of distinct sounds we are capable of producing a very large number of sound combinations or words which are distinct in meaning.