The Terms Of Language And Communication

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To first compare the terms language and communication, we must look into what exactly each is and their key components. Language as a specific notion consists of 3 parts: phonology - the sounds we make when pronouncing it, lexis - the vocabulary or words we use, and grammar - the rules we adhere to when putting them together. Communication however consists of its own five components, those being auditory-vocal, visual, tactile, olfactory and gustatory. (Crystal, 1997) This immediately highlights a key difference between the two, as they are defined and made up of their own independent features. If one component of language is missing, that doesn’t mean that communication is no longer prevalent. For example, if a person says I done it…show more content…
As words are arbitrary, there is no apparent reason why one should be used rather than another, except by common agreement. Saussure defined language as a system of signs and sounds, but such things have no intrinsic meaning and become signs only when we invest them with meaning that is understood by others. (Chandler, 2014) It is this common agreement that enables communication, as it requires mutual knowledge on behalf of both the speaker and the receiver, making common agreement a foundation on which both language and communication are built from.
This foundation of common agreement translates into communication within the animal kingdom as well. Animals make noises which are ‘agreed sounds’ such as mating displays and alarm calls. This form of communication has been linked to the English language through the Bow-Wow theory, which suggests language began when our ancestors started imitating the natural sounds around them. This would explain where we get words such as onomatopoeias, which are linguistic imitations of the sounds we hear, and thus demonstrates a key similarity between how communication may have manifested into language through history. A key flaw with this theory however is that is does not account for the large variety of languages in existence. There are over 6000 languages in the world today - that’s 6000 sounds that could all potentially mean the same thing. If language originated from imitating the natural
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