Write brief notes on the several important functions of language


We know that the very emergence of culture depends on man’s capacity to communicate. However, the relationship between language and culture is not restricted to this instrumental level, but is of a dual, reciprocal nature. Not only does language reflect culture, it also in a very fundamental way moulds it.

Language reflects the major themes, interests and concerns of people. All linguistic forms have meaning and they represent categories of experiences, which are the end result of a long historical tradition and are tied to a particular cultural milieu, e.g., the category ‘house’ in English represents the physical architecture whereas the category ‘home’ is associated with one family. The several important functions of language can be summed up as:

1) Primarily language makes communication and therefore culture possible.


2) It is through language that norms and rules are enforced and social order maintained.

3) Language makes it possible to extend the range of information by exchanging it with others.

4) Language enables human beings to report and convey experiences, which are removed from the present time and space.

Language itself evolved from the need to communicate. As you know to begin with, human beings communicated only through the world of mouth then print came in and now we have the electronic media. In the evolution of human society, social interaction and communication have played a great part. For instance the aboriginal community – Onges of Andaman who were cut off from all communication from the people of mainland are still at a very primitive stage of development.


Communication can make effective contribution in creating knowledge of each other’s beliefs and culture. It can enable the vast humanity of this globe to move towards an ideal of a global family – a unity in diversity. It can build the consciousness that we have to share the resources on this earth and so we have a common destiny and a common goal.


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