Characteristics of Language | 10 Main Characteristics

In this article, we will discuss the Characteristics of Language. Human beings are communicative and to form a cohesive social organization they need communication methods. Communication requires the medium which we call language. Apart from the written and spoken form, language can be gestural, symbolic etc.

What is Language Essay

 Thus, language forms the cement that helps keep civilization together and progress. This is also a definition of language according to the experts.

It provides a breeding ground for ideas, concepts, discussions and consensus (even nationalism, regionalism etc.). This explains the importance of language in culture.

Nature of Language

It provides the instrument of expression and emotive displays. This forms the platform for the development of knowledge, sciences, philosophy etc.

In terms of form, speech is the primary mode of communication. Written form or script is the other prevalent form. It has a structure but has the licence to be discretionary.

It follows some structure (grammar) and syntax but provides space for invention and new formations. A language that lacks the ability to adapt and allow change with time and space often end up extinct like Latin, Aramaic etc.

Language formation demands a sense of intelligence and design which makes human beings the only living beings capable of developing differently.

10 Characteristics of Language

You may ask how is language a powerful tool. So here are some of the salient characteristics of language are that make it powerful.:

Language as Medium of Communication

Primarily, language is the instrument of communication and dissemination of information, ideas and emotions. It forms the link between diverse groups and generations and helps in the transmission of knowledge.

Thus language as a means of communication and thinking helps people to interact with each other and share their ideas, feelings etc.

Social Construction of Language

You may ask what are the social functions of language. Well, people are interdependent on other people. Through its communicative value, language forms the cementing agent for social organizations of humans. It provides the medium for interactions and mutual creation of relationships.

Sound System of Language

Language arranges and arrays different sounds and voices. There are many languages that only exist in spoken form. It is different from music which is only vocals without the same array. Speech became the precursor to graphology (written form).

Symbolic Nature of Language

It has a library of symbols that represent ideas and things. This is called the process of signification where words represent the symbols for real things and concepts. The meanings of words are derived through such a process of symbolic representation.

Systematic Nature of Language

Every language has an arrangement and an array of sounds and words. This is called the system of sub-structures. These sub-structures are grammar and syntax/morphology. These provide a range of words depending on tenses, number etc.

Follows Convention & Evolves

Language is passed through generations with a united system of conventions and rules. It adapts with time and accords change in order to survive.

Arbitrariness of Language

Language does not have inbuilt meaning and set logic. It changes and morphs with different ideas and ages. Different languages show variations in terms of sounds, meanings and rules. Here are detailed notes about it.

Creativity of Language

The language provides the space to form ideas and concepts and share them with other individuals. This enables discussion, dialogue and discourse which creates a process of knowledge production. The production of knowledge germinates new ideas and leads to inventive changes, innovations and evolution.

Here is another important article on Characteristics of Language by English Finders.


Refer to this document for detailed information about the meaning and characteristics of Language.