Aspect of Language

How people acquire a language can vary from one to others. This fact is proven because people usually use different steps, techniques, methods, or even approachesin order to learn and use a language. The book of Language Acquisition and Development written by Chirstine C. M. Gohand Rita Elaine Silver discuss this topic from the basic overview. To make someone able to speak or write is not an easy way. There are some steps or even many steps to do. In English, the same with other second or foreign language, there are four skills which should be learned in order to acquire English entirely. They are listening, speaking, reading, and writing. In order to speak and write, someone needs to listen and read much. Like a baby, they start by listening more before speaking. After that it can learn to read after that they can write. Those cycles are bound. They cannot be separated each other.
For further discussion, there are three key aspects of language which are proposed by many linguists. They are form, meaning, and use. To draw the relation of the three, the working of a plant can be used as an illustration. The root of the plant is the form, the trunk is the meaning, and the leaves and the fruits are the use of the language. The form of the language is the basic element to supply the above elements. The meaning of language becomes the bridge which connects between the form and use. Finally, the use of language is the end of the process and the result of the process.
Here, the form of language covers morphology, syntax, and phonology. Morphology is the study of morphemes and the way combine to form words. A morpheme can be defined as the smallest meaningful unit in a language. For example, the word “disagreement” consists of three morphemes “dis” + “agree” + “ment”. The parts “dis” and “ment” are called the bound morphemes and “agree” is the base word. The second area is syntax. Syntax is the way words combine to form the larger unit by following the rules of the combination. The larger units of syntactical structures in a language are the arrangements of words called phrases, clauses, and sentences. While the third are is phonology,itinvolves describing the sound patterns of a language. The key features of Phonology include the smallest distinctive speech sounds called phonemes, word stress, and intonation.
After learning the form of language, it is necessary whether the form which has been formed is meaningful or not. In this case, meaning of the language is the next key aspect which should be considered. The meaning of language is closely related to semantics (the study of meaning). In semantics, the focus is mostly on meaning which is relatively fixed and does not vary with the context. In understanding a language, people usually inquiry about the meaning of a word or even a sentence. The meaning comes out from a word always deals with the conceptual and connotative meaning, sense relation, semantic fields, and other kinds of meaning.
The end or the result of the language key aspects is its use in society. To produce a meaningful utterance, we cannot only rely on the form and the meanings of the language. However, we need to consider where we speak, the culture, the background knowledge of the interlocutor. The language useis directly bound with Pragmatic (the study of language use). There are two concepts related i.e. speech act and text type. To make it clearer, let’s discuss them further. Speech act is realized by the combination of the form and the meaning. After people acquire the form and meaning of language, they need to use the language toget things done or to create an effect to the interlocutor. Here, language has a function for examples: praising, requesting, warning, etc. so that it will give an effect to the interlocutor. The effects of speech acts can be analyzed by considering: locutionary act (the utterance made), illocutionary act (the function of the utterance), and perlocutionary act.
The last concept, the text type, has to do with the purpose of the participants in the communication and the organizing messages in a structured way. Sometimes people have a purpose why they make utterances. For example, when people want to persuade, to retell, to entertain, and etc. In order to entertain, people need to give the orientation to give the foreground about the setting, to give complication to bring the listeners or readers to climax, and to give the resolution to end the story with happy or sad ending.


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