What are the Functions of Language?



Language performs a number of functions based on the purpose of its use. Some of its functions are as under:

1. Instrumental:

The way an individual satisfies the need by asking for something (May I take your pen?).

2. Regulatory:

Controlling another's behaviour (e.g. teacher asks the student "sit quiet, please").

3. Interactional:

Used for maintaining interpersonal (e.g. wishing a friend a happy birthday).

4. Personal:

Where one talks about oneself (e.g. I am feeling very depressed today)

5. Heuristic:

To find out about the world in general (e.g. Is there any drug to cure AIDS?)

6. Imaginative:

Where one talks about one's imagination (e.g. write an essay on the topic "You are on the clouds").

7. Informational:

To seek and give varied types of information (e.g. What is the current rate of population growth in over country?

Language and Culture

Language and culture are related as under:

1. Language helps children to learn habits, traditions, religions and customs of their culture.

2. Language is a carrier of one's culture.

3. Every culture defines what to say, when and to whom, just as it dictates pronunciation, syntax and vocabulary.

4. In culture where politeness is valued, for example, children at a very early age.

5. Sometimes children have to cope with the demands of two different cultures at the same time.

Problems of Language Development:

Children develop language skills through socialization. But it is evident that all children are not equal in their language ability. Some children face problem in this regard.

The main problems of language development faced by children are presented as under:

1. Lack of initial listening and speaking opportunities.

2. Poor concept development.

3. Over emphasis on writing prematurely.

4. Inadequate cognition of word meanings.

5. Inability to express through the spoken or written medium.

6. Blocks due to genetic impairment of emotional problems of an impoverished environment.

7. Ambiguities in comprehension such as phonological, lexical or deep structural ambiguities etc.

Implications for Teachers:

In this reference, the teacher has a great responsibility. The teacher should be aware of the problems face by students in the classroom. He should create a homely environment in his class. The students should feel free to express and share their feelings, opinions and viewpoints with their teacher. The teacher has to keep the following in his viewpoint:

1. Language is learned and developed in a social context for functional purposes.

2. Older children should be provided with ample scope to develop listening, speaking, reading and writing skills.

3. Setting where language may be used for various purposes should be created.

4. One should be cognizant of multilingual interferences, identify them and provided remedies.

5. Students creative efforts should be encouraged.

6. Excessive writing or rote repetition should be de-emphasized, a relaxed environment for free expression of ideas, thoughts and feelings should be provided.

7. Students should be helped to develop early reading habits and enable them to do book reviews.