Nature and Function of English Language: an introduction

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Watch a bit of Fry and Laurie as they riff on the idea of the English language.  If you want to get a sense of how we got to the English we have today, watch The History of English in Ten Minutes.

We will be looking at:

  • the major functions language serves
  • the role of language in thought processes and social and cultural understandings
  • the primary modes of language: spoken, written and signed
  • language as a highly elaborate system of signs and conventions

What are the major functions of language?

There are so many but here are a few…

EMOTIONAL EXPRESSION

SOCIAL INTERACTION

RECORDING THE FACTS

INSTRUMENT OF THOUGHT

EXPRESSION OF IDENTITY

LANGUAGE FOR FUN

How have you used language today since the time you woke up?  For each of the spoken and written modes, list a range of functions.

Ever heard the theory that texting is bad for your English skills?  Listen to Professor David Crystal, renowned linguist defend texting.  He explains how each time we use language it is for a purpose.

 

 

 

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