Characteristics and Properties Of Language


Properties Of Language Features Of Language

Characteristics of Languages:

                 In this article, I am going to describe in detail the salient Properties of Languages or Characteristics Of Languages.There are many characteristics and properties Of language but I will discuss the most important ones properties of language.

Properties of Languages:

                            A great variety of languages exist in the world. But all of them share some common characteristics. Language is multi-directional phenomenon. Different language scholars have contributed in a number of ways to probe deep into this phenomenon. Their ceaseless efforts have brought different dimensions of language to light. The study of fundamental characteristics of language leads us to a logical approach in this respect. Some important characteristics of language are given below:

 Language is Speech:


Language is basically sound. It is a system of organized sounds. The sounds are combined to form a meaningful message. It shows that speech is primary and writing is secondary to every language. Many languages of the world do not have an orthographic system. But they still exist and are being used. Every language is based on verbal symbolism such as sounds, words and phrases. They all combine to make sentences.

Language is Communicative:

Languge is useful because it is meaningful. It communicates between individuals and different groups. Each community derives certain meanings from certain speech sounds. So, it fulfils the most important desire to communicate. It is also a source of self—expression. It provides an outlet to our ideas and emotions. It is a means of storing knowledge. It also works as a binding force between past, present and future.

Language, A Complex Network of Sub-systems:

Every language has a particular system of arrangements. These arrangements are called subsystems. They work in close co-operation. There are different levels to assess a simple sentence, such as syntactic, semantic, stylistic , phonetic and pragmatic. Because of these systems, we can produce an unlimited set of sentences by a short number of symbols.

Language Is Arbitrary:

It means that there is no logical relationship between the sounds and their meanings. There is no link between the nature of things and the way language recognizes them. These things have gained meanings according to the nature of their use in society. That is why different languages of the world lack uniformity and are dissimilar.

Language is Linearity:

Speech sounds are presented through symbols. This is called orthography. There is a linear order in orthography, specific to every language. This order may be horizontal, vertical, from right to left or from left to right. For example, in Urdu, the linear order is from right to left. In the case of English, it is from left to right. Japanese is written from top to bottom.

Language is a system of contrast:

Every language has two basic structures: Deep and Surface structure. Chomsky asserts that there is no difference between the surface structure of any language. However, the surface structure changes according to the persons and circumstances. It is also called intra-lingual or inter-lingual differences.

Modality in Language:

It means the variety of words that is found in a language. Word or sentences may be interrogative, negative, indicative , imperative or affirmative. This is a feature that animals lack in their manner of communication.

Duality in Language:

This is a duality of language by which a finite set of items can describe a greater number of meanings, words, phrases or sentences.

Language is conventional:

Language is the fruit of convention and evolution. Language is non-instinctive in the sense that it is acquired by human beings themselves though it is very gradual process. Language is deeply rooted in society. People share or hold an agreement to use language as a system of sub-systems.

Language is Creative:


It shows that language is modifiable. It has flexibility to create new words and combinations using the limited number of items in a language. Although grammar is restricted but vocabulary of any language is limited. It helps the creative aspect of a language. Because of this characteristics of language, human beings are able to understand new sentences and phrases, that are unheard before.