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Language And Lexicon Essay

907 words - 4 pages

What is language? What is lexicon? Language can be fundamental defined by most of the general public today, but lexicon may not easily be explained. In one’s general opinion, language is a form of communicating ideas, emotions, and opinions. It varies according to the culture and generation of the individuals using it. This paper provides a definition of language and lexicon, the features of language, the levels of language, and the role of language in cognitive psychology. (Willingham, 2007)What is language? Language is communication of thoughts and feelings through a system of arbitrary signals such as voice sounds, gestures, or written symbols. Language is one of the most difficult to define because there is not really one word that can actually describe language. Language is known to be the structure of communication using words either spoken or symbolized with a writing system, typically structured with grammar. Within language there are properties that are considered to be crucial. (Willingham, 2007)What are the key elements of language? The key elements of language are communicative, arbitrary, structured, generative, and dynamic. According to Willingham,Skinner argued that the principles of operant and classical conditioning could account for how children learn language. Chomsky argued that they could not because language is generative; behaviorist principles can account for whether someone is more likely to repeat an action taken previously, but a distinctive property of language is that we almost never say the same thing twice. In essence, Chomsky was saying that Skinner’s theory was bound to miss the mark because Skinner failed to appreciate what language is.Communicative just allows language to permit back and forth between individuals. Arbitrary is just the relationship between the elements in language and the meaning. So for example, the word big does not have to be in some sense “bigger” than the word minuscule. Structurism is tied into to arbitrary because it simply shows the pattern of the symbols. Generative is just the basic unit of language. Dynamic is just the new upcoming of words and languages. These key elements then lead into the four levels of language structure. (Willingham, 2007)There are four levels to language structures. This is the most important part to language. The lowest level of is phonemes. This level is an analysis of sounds. For example the letter “o” is sounded as “bob” and “boob”. According to Willingham, “English uses roughly 46 phonemes, but there are about 200 in use worldwide.” There are many phonemes used daily in language. Words is the next level of the language structure. It is related to the phonemes. The 46 phonemes that are in the English language are what create words. They produce approximately 600,000 words in the English language. These words then lead to sentences....

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