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CHARACTERISTICS OF HUMAN LANGUAGE.
Human language has he following characteristics;


       Arbitrariness
The linguistic symbols are arbitrary because each language community picks them very haphazardly. There is no any formal relationship between the words and what they mean. E.g. there is no particular reason why the dog, or cow, or table was named so. They could be named otherwise. That’s why we have different words in different languages.
        Displacement.
Humans languages are able to express /communicate about things that are absent and things that are, present, past or future. That’s to say we can also talk about abstract concepts and things that are far away in terms of time and place. E.g. we can talk about colonialism that took place in Africa some years ago. Conversely a dog cannot tell you what it did yesterday or what it is going to do tomorrow.
     Cultural transmission.
Language is culturally transmitted from one generation to the next. Also human language acts as a medium of transmitting the culture of a particular society from one generation to another.  The transmission is done as young ones learn the language
   Discreteness.
The sounds of human language are meaningfully distinct. For instance the wordsman and ban differ from each other in only one sound. As you can see the different in only one sound is sufficient enough to cause difference in meaning. So we can identify sounds like /d/, /p/, /k/, /g/,/i/ etc which is not the case with animal communication. This discreteness helps us to distinguish words like, pig and big, pack and back, come and some, go and so etc
        Duality.
Language consists of two levels, the sound level and the level of meaning. At the sound level we pronounce sound units or phonemes which are similar in number to the basic sounds possessed by animals. The average number is between 30 and 40. But each phoneme is meaningless in isolation. The phonemes become meaningful only when they are combined with other phonemes. Take a look at the following sounds in isolation and say what they mean.
/f/,/v/,/k/,/g/,/d/,/t/,/o/,/u/,/a/,/e/,/ʋ/,/ə/. Compare when they are combined /gəʋ/ = go, /væn/ = van, are these words meaningful? Of course yes.
          Productivity/creativity
Language allows speakers/writers to produce and understand new utterances never heard or produced before. That means it is possible for someone to pronounce new (novel) sentences which has never been said before and still be understood. It is also possible for someone to understand new sentences produced by others. E.g. someone may say “phonology is a linguistic study of speech sounds” you might not have heard this sentence before; nevertheless, you may understand it.
         Interchangeability/Reciprocity
Language allows communicators to exchange positions. At one point the communicator is the speaker, but at the other he becomes the listener. When one person is speaking the other is listening and when the listener starts responding the speaker becomes the listener. This property of language is calledinterchangeability or reciprocity.





  Reflexiveness.
This is the ability of human language to talk about itself. A sentence like “English is an international language” is just one case of how language can talk about itself. This property makes human language different from animal communication.
  Specialization
Human language has specialized terms for some expressions. For example a male head of a secondary school is called Headmaster while a female is called headmistress, also there are special terms for adult and young animals; e.g. goat-kid, cat-kitten, cow-calf etc. There are special terms related to movements depending on its nature. For example;
Swagger - to walk in an extremely proud and confident way.
Toddle – walk with short and unsteady steps.
Run – to move using your legs faster than you walk.
Walk –to move or go somewhere by putting one foot in front of the other on the ground.
Trot - to run or walk very fast taking short quick steps.
March – to walk with stiff regular steps like a soldier.
Jogging – to run slowly and steadily for a long time especially for exercise.
Stagger – to walk unsteadily especially due to drinking alcohol.

 Patterning.
Human language has internal organization within the system. It is not just a heap of isolated items. Humans do not use sounds and words in a random way like [are in there vowels English twenty only four} but {In English there are twenty four vowels only}
Sometimes changing the patterns also changes the meaning. Consider the following sentences
Nancy NEARLY won Tsh 2,000,000/=
Nancy won NEARLY Tsh 2,000,000/=






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