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Certification Case

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Language makes up our primary source of communication with other individuals. How does one define language? What is a lexicon? There are five key features which defines language. Language is communicative, arbitrary, structured, generative, as well as dynamic. The structure of language is made up of four levels which are phonemes, words, sentences, and text. What is the role of language processing in congnitive psychology? Let's find out!

Defining Language and Lexicon

Language can be defined as "the method of human communication, either spoken or

written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way" (Oxford University

Press, 2010). The lexicon is the mental dictionary which contains representations of all of the words known by an individual. The lexicon does not hold the meaning of each of these words but does hold the pronunciation, spelling, and the part of speech for each of the words held in the lexicon. During a conversation the listener's lexicon would understand the pronunciation, spelling, and the part of speech of the word but to recall the meaning involves other cognitive processes.

Key Features of Language

There are five key features of language. These are communicative, arbitrary, structure, generative, and dynamic features. The first of these key features is communicative. Since language is communicative it allows individuals to be able to have communication between one another. The arbitrary key feature of language is the relationship between the element of language such as computer with the meaning that it holds.

Structure is the third key feature of language which is important. Structure relates to the patters of symbols which create sentences. These are not arbitrary. This means that it makes a difference in the language by the way a group of words are put together into a sentence. For example the sentence "The scared cat ran from the child" holds a different meaning than "The scared child ran from the cat". In the first sentence the cat is scared of the child and running away, where as in the second sentence the child is scared of the cat and is therefore running away. Each sentence has a different meaning even though both consist of the same words.

Language is generative. Generative language means that new words are constantly being created and added into our everyday language. This also means that old words are becoming extinct. The words 'thee or thou' which were commonly used a number of years ago have been replaced with the words you or I. The words which have been created by phonemes are used to build a limitless number of meanings.

The next key feature of language is dynamics. Languages slowly change over time. This



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