Language consists of the development, acquisition, maintenance and use of complex systems of communication, particularly the human ability to do so; and a language is any specific example of such a system.
The scientific study of language is called linguistics. Questions concerning the philosophy of language, such as whether words can represent experience, have been debated since Gorgias and Plato in Ancient Greece. Thinkers such as Rousseau have argued that language originated from emotions while others like Kant have held that it originated from rational and logical thought. 20th-century philosophers such as Wittgenstein argued that philosophy is really the study of language. Major figures in linguistics include Ferdinand de Saussure and Noam Chomsky.
Estimates of the number of languages in the world vary between 5,000 and 7,000. However, any precise estimate depends on a partly arbitrary distinction between languages and dialects. Natural languages are spoken or signed, but any language can be encoded into secondary media using auditory, visual, or tactile stimuli – for example, in whistling, signed, or braille. This is because human language is modality-independent. Depending on philosophical perspectives regarding the definition of language and meaning, when used as a general concept, "language" may refer to the cognitive ability to learn and use systems of complex communication, or to describe the set of rules that makes up these systems, or the set of utterances that can be produced from those rules. All languages rely on the process of semiosis to relate signs to particular meanings. Oral, manual and tactile languages contain a phonological system that governs how symbols are used to form sequences known as words or morphemes, and a syntactic system that governs how words and morphemes are combined to form phrases and utterances.
Human language has the properties of productivity and displacement, and relies entirely on social convention and learning. Its complex structure affords a much wider range of expressions than any known system of animal communication. Language is thought to have originated when early hominins started gradually changing their primate communication systems, acquiring the ability to form a theory of other minds and a shared intentionality. This development is sometimes thought to have coincided with an increase in brain volume, and many linguists see the structures of language as having evolved to serve specific communicative and social functions. Language is processed in many different locations in the human brain, but especially in Broca's and Wernicke's areas. Humans acquire language through social interaction in early childhood, and children generally speak fluently when they are approximately three years old. The use of language is deeply entrenched in human culture. Therefore, in addition to its strictly communicative uses, language also has many social and cultural uses, such as signifying group identity, social stratification, as well as social grooming and entertainment.
Languages evolve and diversify over time, and the history of their evolution can be reconstructed by comparing modern languages to determine which traits their ancestral languages must have had in order for the later developmental stages to occur. A group of languages that descend from a common ancestor is known as a language family. The Indo-European family is the most widely spoken and includes languages as diverse as English, Russian and Hindi; the Sino-Tibetan family, which includes Mandarin, Bodo and the other Chinese languages, and Tibetan; the Afro-Asiatic family, which includes Arabic, Somali, and Hebrew; the Bantu languages, which include Swahili, and Zulu, and hundreds of other languages spoken throughout Africa; and the Malayo-Polynesian languages, which include Indonesian, Malay, Tagalog, and hundreds of other languages spoken throughout the Pacific. The languages of the Dravidian family that are spoken mostly in Southern India include Tamil and Telugu. Academic consensus holds that between 50% and 90% of languages spoken at the beginning of the 21st century will probably have become extinct by the year 2100.
Body language is a type of non-verbal communication in which physical behavior, as opposed to words, are used to express or convey information. Such behavior includes facial expressions, body posture, gestures, eye movement, touch and the use of space. Body language exists in both animals and humans, but this article focuses on interpretations of human body language. It is also known as kinesics.
Body language must not be confused with sign language, as sign languages are full languages like spoken languages and have their own complex grammar systems, as well as being able to exhibit the fundamental properties that exist in all languages. Body language, on the other hand, does not have a grammar and must be interpreted broadly, instead of having an absolute meaning corresponding with a certain movement, so it is not a language like sign language, and is simply termed as a "language" due to popular culture.
In a community, there are agreed-upon interpretations of particular behavior. Interpretations may vary from country to country, or culture to culture. On this note, there is controversy on whether body language is universal. Body language, a subset of nonverbal communication, complements verbal communication in social interaction. In fact some researchers conclude that nonverbal communication accounts for the majority of information transmitted during interpersonal interactions. It helps to establish the relationship between two people and regulates interaction, but can be ambiguous.
Facial expression is integral when expressing emotions through the body. Combinations of eyes, eyebrow, lips, nose, and cheek movements help form different moods of an individual (e.g. happy, sad, depressed, angry, etc.).
A few studies show that facial expression and bodily expression (i.e. body language) are congruent when interpreting emotions. Behavioural experiments have also shown that recognition of facial expression is influenced by perceived bodily expression. This means that the brain processes the other's facial and bodily expressions simultaneously. Subjects in these studies showed accuracy in judging emotions based on facial expression. This is because the face and the body are normally seen together in their natural proportions and the emotional signals from the face and body are well integrated.
For example, a lack of crinkles around the eyes suggests a potentially fake smile. At one point, researchers believed that making a genuine smile was nearly impossible to do on command. When you're smiling joyfully, they crinkle. When you're faking it, they don't. If someone's trying to look happy but really isn't, you won't see the wrinkles. More recently, a study from Northeastern University researchers found that people could do a pretty good job of faking a Duchenne smile, even when they weren't feeling especially happy.
Emotions can also be detected through body postures. Research has shown that body postures are more accurately recognised when an emotion is compared with a different or neutral emotion. For example, a person feeling angry would portray dominance over the other, and their posture would display approach tendencies. Comparing this to a person feeling fearful: they would feel weak, submissive and their posture would display avoidance tendencies, the opposite of an angry person.
Sitting or standing postures also indicate one’s emotions. A person sitting till the back of their chair, leans forward with their head nodding along with the discussion implies that they are open, relaxed and generally ready to listen. On the other hand, a person who has their legs and arms crossed with the foot kicking slightly implies that they are feeling impatient and emotionally detached from the discussion.
In a standing discussion, a person stands with arms akimbo with feet pointed towards the speaker could suggest that they are attentive and is interested in the conversation. However, a small difference in this posture could mean a lot. Standing with arms akimbo is considered rude in Bali.
Open and expansive nonverbal posturing can also have downstream effects on testosterone and cortisol levels, which have clear implications for the study of human behavior 
Gestures are movements made with body parts (e.g. hands, arms, fingers, head, legs) and they may be voluntary or involuntary. Arm gestures can be interpreted in several ways. In a discussion, when one stands, sits or even walks with folded arms, this is normally not a welcoming gesture. It could mean that they have a closed mind and are most likely unwilling to listen to the speaker’s viewpoint. Another type of arm gesture also includes an arm crossed over the other, demonstrating insecurity and a lack of confidence.
According to Barbara Pease and Allan Pease, authors of "The Definitive Book of Body Language", everybody does shoulder shrug. The shrug is a good example of a universal gesture that is used to show that a person doesn't understand what you are saying. "It's a multiple gesture that has three main parts," they continue. "Exposed palms to show nothing is being concealed in the hands, hunched shoulders to protect the throat from attack, and raised brow, which is a universal, submissive greeting." 
Hand gestures often signify the state of well-being of the person making them. Relaxed hands indicate confidence and self-assurance, while clenched hands may be interpreted as signs of stress or anger. If a person is wringing their hands, this demonstrates nervousness and anxiety.
Finger gestures are also commonly used to exemplify one's speech as well as denote the state of well-being of the person making them. In certain cultures, pointing using one's index finger is deemed acceptable. However, pointing at a person may be viewed as aggressive in other cultures—for example, people who share Hindu beliefs consider finger pointing offensive. Instead, they point with their thumbs. Likewise, the thumbs up gesture could show "OK" or "good" in countries like the US, France and Germany. But this same gesture is insulting in other countries like Iran, Bangladesh and Thailand, where it is the equivalent of showing the middle finger in the US.
In most cultures the Head Nod is used to signify 'Yes' or agreement. It's a stunted form of bowing - the person symbolically goes to bow but stops short, resulting in a nod. Bowing is a submissive gesture so the Head Nod shows we are going along with the other person's point of view. Research conducted with people who were born deaf, dumb and blind shows that they also use this gesture to signify 'Yes', so it appears to be an inborn gesture of submission.
A literary language is a register or dialect of a language that is used in literary writing of the language. This may also include liturgical writing. A literary variety of a language often gives rise to a standard variety of the language. The difference between literary and non-literary forms is more marked in some languages than in others. Where there is a strong divergence, the language is said to exhibit diglossia.
In Latin, Classical Latin was the literary register used in writing from 75 BC to the 3rd century AD, while Vulgar Latin was the common, spoken variety used across the Roman Empire. The Latin brought by Roman soldiers to Gaul, Iberia, or Dacia was not identical to the Latin of Cicero, and differed from it in vocabulary, syntax, and grammar. Some literary works with low-register language from the Classical Latin period give a glimpse into the world of early Vulgar Latin. The works of Plautus and Terence, being comedies with many characters who were slaves, preserve some early basilectal Latin features, as does the recorded speech of the freedmen in the Cena Trimalchionis by Petronius Arbiter. At the third Council of Tours in 813, priests were ordered to preach in the vernacular language—either in the rustica lingua romanica (Vulgar Latin), or in the Germanic vernaculars—since the common people could no longer understand formal Latin.
A spoken language is a language produced by articulate sounds, as opposed to a written language. Many languages have no written form and so are only spoken. An oral language or vocal language is a language produced with the vocal tract, as opposed to a sign language, which is produced with the hands and face. The term "spoken language" is sometimes used to mean only vocal languages, especially by linguists, making all three terms synonyms by excluding sign languages. Others refer to sign language as "spoken", especially in contrast to written transcriptions of signs.
In spoken language, much of the meaning is determined by the context. That contrasts with written language in which more of the meaning is provided directly by the text. In spoken language, the truth of a proposition is determined by common-sense reference to experience, but in written language, a greater emphasis is placed on logical and coherent argument. Similarly, spoken language tends to convey subjective information, including the relationship between the speaker and the audience, whereas written language tends to convey objective information.
The relationship between spoken language and written language is complex. Within the field of linguistics the current consensus is that speech is an innate human capability, and written language is a cultural invention. However some linguists, such as those of the Prague school, argue that written and spoken language possess distinct qualities which would argue against written language being dependent on spoken language for its existence.
Both vocal and sign languages are composed of words. In vocal languages, words are made up from a limited set of vowels and consonants, and often tone. In sign languages, words are made up from a limited set of shapes, orientations, locations movements of the hands, and often facial expressions; in both cases, the building blocks are called phonemes. In both vocal and sign languages, words are grammatically and prosodically linked into phrases, clauses, and larger units of discourse.
Hearing children acquire as their first language the language that is used around them, whether vocal or (if they are sighted) signed. Deaf children will do the same with sign language if one is used around them. Vocal language must be consciously taught to them in the same way that written language must be taught to hearing children. (See oralism.)
A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language by means of a writing system. Written language is an invention in that it must be taught to children, who will pick up spoken language (oral or sign) by exposure even if they are not specifically taught.
A written language exists only as a complement to a specific spoken language, and no natural language is purely written.
Compared to spoken language
Written languages change more slowly than corresponding spoken languages. When at least one register of a language is strongly divergent from spoken language, the resulting situation is called diglossia. However, that is still often considered as one language, between literary language and other registers, especially if the writing system reflects its pronunciation.
Native readers and writers of English are often unaware that the complexities of English spelling make written English a somewhat artificial construct. The traditional spelling of English, at least for inherited words, preserves a late Middle English phonology that is no one's speech dialect. The artificial preservation of that form of the language, in writing, might make much of what is now written intelligible to Geoffrey Chaucer (1343–1400) even if the mediaeval writer's speech could no longer be understood.
In phonetics and phonology, articulation is the movement of the tongue, lips, jaw, and other speech organs (the articulators) in ways that make speech sounds.
Sound is produced simply by expelling air from the lungs. However, to vary the sound quality in a way useful for speaking, two speech organs normally move towards each other to contact each other to create an obstruction that shapes the air in a particular fashion. The point of maximum obstruction is called the place of articulation, and the way the obstruction forms and releases is the manner of articulation. For example, when making a p sound, the lips come together tightly, blocking the air momentarily and causing a buildup of air pressure. The lips then release suddenly, causing a burst of sound. The place of articulation of this sound is therefore called bilabial, and the manner is called stop (also known as a plosive).
Articulation can be shown with magnetic resonance imaging to demonstrate how the tongue, lips and jaw move and the rise and fall of the soft palate. Such movement alters resonant properties of the vocal tract, and imposes a "time-varying formant structure" onto the speech signal. The study of articulation in making speech is called articulatory phonetics.
Voicing and aspiration
Voicing: How closely the vocal cords are placed together. In English there are only two possibilities, voiced and unvoiced. Voicing is caused by the vocal cords held close by each other, so that air passing through them makes them vibrate. All normally spoken vowels are voiced, as are all other sonorants except h, as well as some of the remaining sounds (b, d, g, v, z, zh, j, and the th sound in this). All the rest are voiceless sounds, with the vocal cords held far enough apart that there is no vibration; however, there is still a certain amount of audible friction, as in the sound h. Voiceless sounds are not very prominent unless there is some turbulence, as in the stops, fricatives, and affricates; this is why sonorants in general only occur voiced. The exception is during whispering, when all sounds pronounced are voiceless.
Diction (Latin: dictionem (nom. dictio), "a saying, expression, word"), in its original, primary meaning, refers to the writer's or the speaker's distinctive vocabulary choices and style of expression in a poem or story. A secondary, common meaning of "diction" means the distinctiveness of speech, the art of speaking so that each word is clearly heard and understood to its fullest complexity and extremity, and concerns pronunciation and tone, rather than word choice and style. This secondary sense is more precisely and commonly expressed with the term enunciation, or with its synonym articulation.
Diction has multiple concerns, of which register is foremost—another way of saying this is whether words are either formal or informal in the social context. Literary diction analysis reveals how a passage establishes tone and characterization, e.g. a preponderance of verbs relating physical movement suggests an active character, while a preponderance of verbs relating states of mind portrays an introspective character. Diction also has an impact upon word choice and syntax.
Aristotle, in The Poetics (20) states that "Diction comprises eight elements: Phoneme, Syllable, Conjunction, Connective, Noun, Verb, Inflection, and Utterance. However, Epps states that in this passage "the text is so confused and some of the words have such a variety of meanings that one cannot always be certain what the Greek says, much less what Aristotle means."
English Grammar Lessons
In linguistics, grammar is the set of structural rules governing the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language. The term refers also to the study of such rules, and this field includes phonology, morphology, and syntax, often complemented by phonetics, semantics, and pragmatics.
Use of the term
For linguists, grammar refers to cognitive information underlying language use. Speakers of a language have a set of internalized rules for using that language. These rules constitute grammar, and the vast majority of the information in the grammar is—at least in the case of one's native language—acquired not by conscious study or instruction, but by observing other speakers. Much of this work is done during early childhood; learning a language later in life usually involves a greater degree of explicit instruction.
The term "grammar" can also be used to describe the rules that govern the linguistic behaviour of a group of speakers. The term "English grammar", therefore, may have several meanings. It may refer to the whole of English grammar, that is, to the grammars of all the speakers of the language, in which case, the term encompasses a great deal of variation. Alternatively, it may refer only to what is common to the grammars of all, or of the vast majority of English speakers (such as subject–verb–object word order in simple declarative sentences). Or it may refer to the rules of a particular, relatively well-defined variety of English (such as standard English for a particular region).
A specific description, study or analysis of such rules may also be referred to as a grammar. A reference book describing the grammar of a language is called a "reference grammar" or simply "a grammar" (see History of English grammars). A fully explicit grammar that exhaustively describes the grammatical constructions of a language is called a descriptive grammar. This kind of linguistic description contrasts with linguistic prescription, an attempt to discourage or suppress some grammatical constructions, while promoting others. For example, preposition stranding occurs widely in Germanic languages and has a long history in English. John Dryden, however, objected to it (without explanation), leading other English speakers to avoid the construction and discourage its use.
Outside linguistics the term grammar is often used in a rather different sense. In some respects, it may be used more broadly, including rules of spelling and punctuation, which linguists would not typically consider to form part of grammar, but rather as a part of orthography, the set of conventions used for writing a language. In other respects, it may be used more narrowly, to refer to prescriptive grammar only and excluding those aspects of a language's grammar that are not subject to variation or debate. Jeremy Butterfield claimed that, for non-linguists, "Grammar is often a generic way of referring to any aspect of English that people object to."
In psychology, identity is the qualities, beliefs, personality, looks and/or expressions that make a person (self-identity) or group (particular social category or social group). The process of identity can be creative or destructive.
A psychological identity relates to self-image (one's mental model of oneself), self-esteem, and individuality. Consequently, Weinreich gives the definition "A person's identity is defined as the totality of one's self-construal, in which how one construes oneself in the present expresses the continuity between how one construes oneself as one was in the past and how one construes oneself as one aspires to be in the future"; this allows for definitions of aspects of identity, such as: "One's ethnic identity is defined as that part of the totality of one's self-construal made up of those dimensions that express the continuity between one's construal of past ancestry and one's future aspirations in relation to ethnicity" (Weinreich, 1986a).
Gender identity forms an important part of identity in psychology, as it dictates to a significant degree how one views oneself both as a person and in relation to other people, ideas and nature. Other aspects of identity, such as racial, religious, ethnic, occupational… etc. may also be more or less significant – or significant in some situations but not in others (Weinreich & Saunderson 2003 pp 26–34). In cognitive psychology, the term "identity" refers to the capacity for self-reflection and the awareness of self.(Leary & Tangney 2003, p. 3)
Sociology places some explanatory weight on the concept of role-behavior. The notion of identity negotiation may arise from the learning of social roles through personal experience. Identity negotiation is a process in which a person negotiates with society at large regarding the meaning of his or her identity.
Psychologists most commonly use the term "identity" to describe personal identity, or the idiosyncratic things that make a person unique. Meanwhile, sociologists often use the term to describe social identity, or the collection of group memberships that define the individual. However, these uses are not proprietary, and each discipline may use either concept and each discipline may combine both concepts when considering a person's identity.
The description or representation of individual and group identity is a central task for psychologists, sociologists and anthropologists and those of other disciplines where "identity" needs to be mapped and defined. How should one describe the identity of another, in ways which encompass both their idiosyncratic qualities and their group memberships or identifications, both of which can shift according to circumstance? Following on from the work of Kelly, Erikson, Tajfel and others Weinreich's Identity Structure Analysis (ISA), is "a structural representation of the individual's existential experience, in which the relationships between self and other agents are organised in relatively stable structures over time … with the emphasis on the socio-cultural milieu in which self relates to other agents and institutions" (Weinreich and Saunderson, (eds) 2003, p1). Using constructs drawn from the salient discourses of the individual, the group and cultural norms, the practical operationalisation of ISA provides a methodology that maps how these are used by the individual, applied across time and milieus by the "situated self" to appraise self and other agents and institutions (for example, resulting in the individual's evaluation of self and significant others and institutions).
Public speaking (also called oratory or oration) is the process or act of performing a speech to a live audience. This type of speech is deliberately structured with three general purposes: to inform, to persuade and to entertain. Public speaking is commonly understood as formal, face-to-face speaking of a single person to a group of listeners.
There are five basic elements of public speaking that are described in Lasswell's model of communication: the communicator, message, medium, audience and effect. In short, the speaker should be answering the question "who says what in which channel to whom with what effect?"
Public speaking can serve the purpose of transmitting information, telling a story, motivating people to act or some combination of those. Public speaking can also take the form of a discourse community, in which the audience and speaker use discourse to achieve a common goal.
Public speaking for business and commercial events is often done by professionals. These speakers can be contracted independently, through representation by a speakers bureau, or by other means. Public speaking plays a large role in the professional world; in fact, it is believed that 70 percent of all jobs involve some form of public speaking.
This page was last updated January 6th, 2018 by kim
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