Nature Of Language.

Any language can be characterized as the most creative of all human inventions. Since the primary function of language is to carry meaning and since the number of meanings that people communicate to each other is infinite, language must be very efficient. This efficiency is accomplished through several features. To meet the demands of communicating the infinite number of messages, language producers so to speak, use individual words and combinations of words. The combinations make up sentences or parts of sentences. Anyone can make sentences that have never been said or written before. For example, “There is a purple dog on the living room couch eating a banana.” Regardless of whether we believe in purple dogs eating bananas in the living rooms, we can easily process this sentence and we will probably assign some meaning to it. The point is that words are units that can be used in a great variety of ways to build sentences according to the rules and structure of a certain language. These rules put limits on creativity by making some sentences really incomprehensible. For example, “Purple there a dog banana the living room is couch on.” This so-called sentence is gibberish and cannot be processed in any way, although the words are the same as in the previous given example. The same creativity creates new words out of the ones which already exist in language. The burger of hamburger can serve as a base for fish-burger and chicken-burger. The -ee of employee serves in escapee and draftee. The de- of deactivate builds words detoxify and defrock. Rules keep creativity in check. Creativity allows language to accommodate new meanings and messages through the innovative use of the existing elements, but rules limit the nature and the number of possibilities.

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