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The Nature of Language

Filipino is our national language.


Filipino and English are both
essential in our development as a
nation. While Filipino is essential to
develop a sense of dignity, self-
reliance and self-esteem, English is
also essential as our window to the
world.
English has become the lingua
franca of the world. According to
language critic Richard Lederer
(1991), users of English as a second
language, like us, out-number native
users.
He also said that most of the
world’s books, newspapers, and
magazines are written in English.
Furthermore, two-thirds of all
scientific publications and 80% of all
computer texts are written in
English. These are important reasons
for us to learn how to use the English
language well for communication.
Language is a symbol system
composed of sounds and
letters to which meanings are
associated by people using it.
1. Language is a system.
2. Language is composed of
sounds and phonemes.
3. Language is used as a
symbol
1. Language is composed of sounds
or phonemes.

The base of the language system is


its phonology. Phonology refers to the
set of phonemes in a language. A
phoneme is the smallest distinctive
audible unit of a language.
PHONEME ENGLISH TAGALOG
/kɑm/ /bata/
[ɑ]
(calm)
/bɛd/ /pɛra/
[ɛ]
(bed) (pera)
/seInt/
[s] /sarap/
(saint)
/mɛrI/
[m] /maligaya/
(merry)
PHONEME ENGLISH TAGALOG
/mæn/
[æ] none
(man)
/ərɑund/
[ ə] none
(around)
/fɑðər/
[ ð] (father)
none

/plɛʒər/
[ʒ] (pleasure)
none
2. Language is a system.

The second level in the language is


its morphology. It refers to the
“constructions of morphemes to form
words.”
Morpheme English Word English Word

“un” and “likely unlikely

“in” and “basa” binasa


2. Language is a system.

The third level in the language


system is syntax. This refers to all
“constructions using words as units to
form phrases, clauses and sentence.”
2. Language is a system.

For example, we can say in Tagalog,


“Ako ay pupunta sa SLSU” or “Pupunta
ako sa SLSU” but not “SLSU sa pupunta
ay ako.” In English, we say, “I will go to
SLSU” but not “Will SLSU I to go.”
2. Language is a system.

There are ruled on syntax


particular to a language. You have to
learn these rules to be able to
communicate your messages clearly.
3. Language is used as a symbol.
A symbol is anything which, by
common agreement, stands for
something else. The more common
examples we can give are: the map as a
symbol of a territory, the flag as a
symbol of a country, and our names as
symbols we use to refer to ourselves.
3. Language is used as a symbol.

The words in a language are


symbols or representations of the
objects around us, the thoughts in our
minds, or the feelings in our hearts. We
use words in place of these objects,
thoughts and feelings.
3. Language is used as a symbol.

According to Ogden and Richards


(1986), the relationship between words
and meanings is often arbitrary; it
depends on the people using them.
There is no one-to-one correspondence
between the symbol and the referent.
Functions of Language
Through language, we become “time
binders.”

By utilizing the communicated


experiences of men who have gone before,
each man ‘binds time,’ time which he has
not actually lived, into his life span.
Functions of Language
Through language, we become “time
binders.”

Almost everything than man knows,


he knows because it was told to him…
by a fellow human. Furthermore, time
binding is not confined to time past. It
relates as well to the present and future.
Functions of Language
Through language, we are able to make our
democratic institutions work.

We are encouraged to resolve conflicts


not by force but by peaceful discussions.
Our leaders use language to communicate
their policies and programs to us, and we
use language to communicate our
responses to them.
Functions of Language
Through language, we are able to
communicate our thoughts and feelings.

Through language, you are able to


voice out your needs, advocacies, ideas, etc.
While it is true that our verbal accounts of
reality are limited by our vocabularies and
experiences, language is still most useful in
facilitating communication.
Functions of Language
Through language, we perform actions.

This is the concept of speech acts.


For example, when you say to a friend,
“I promise to meet you at SM
tomorrow,” the word “promise” refers
to an action, a commitment you make.
Functions of Language
Through language, we perform actions.

When you say “I invite you to my


party,” or “I request you to mail this
letter for me,” you are using utterances
referred to as “speech acts.” They reveal
actions we perform by using language.
Characteristics of Effective Oral
Language Style
1. Effective oral language style is clear.
A. Observe the rules of grammar
B. Use precise words
Ex: Most SLSU students graduate on
time but many others don’t.
Sixty percent of SLSU students on
time; 40% don’t.
Characteristics of Effective Oral
Language Style
C. Use simple, familiar, easy-to-
understand words
D. Use short and simply
constructed sentences
Ex: We are the threshold of a crisis
situation.
We have a crisis.
Characteristics of Effective Oral
Language Style
E. Provide verbal guideposts to
signal the importance of ideas or a
shift to another idea.
You can say, “The death penalty is
inhuman. Yes, the death penalty is
inhuman.” The use of repetition allows
you to emphasize a thought which you
want your audience to remember.
Characteristics of Effective Oral
Language Style
Transitions, on the other hand, are
the words, phrases or sentences that
show relationships between and among
ideas. Example, “I have discussed the
nature of the problem. Let me now
discuss the solutions.” Or “I have come to
the most important idea in my speech.
Please listen well.”
Characteristics of Effective Oral
Language Style
2. Effective oral language is direct and
conversational.
A. Use rhetorical questions
Example: Our ability to speak English has
deteriorated. What can we do? Should we
go back to the use of English as the
medium of instruction from the primary
schools to the tertiary level? I strongly
believe that we must do this.
Characteristics of Effective Oral
Language Style
B. Use personal pronouns
Personal pronouns such as “you,”
“I,” “us” and “we” add a personal touch
to your language style, and make your
audience feel that you’re actually
talking to each one of them.
Characteristics of Effective Oral
Language Style
C. Use contractions
Contractions like “I’ve,” You’re,” and
“we’ll” suggest an air of informality and
an animated dialogue between you and
your listener/s.
Characteristics of Effective Oral
Language Style
D. Use active verbs
The use of active voice gives vigor
and dynamism to a speech.
Example:
It is suggested that you think about
donating to the Philippine Red Cross.
Donate to the Philippine Red Cross.
Characteristics of Effective Oral
Language Style

3. Effective oral language is appropriate.


Language is appropriate when it is
adapted to the audience, the speaker,
the occasion, and the topic.
Characteristics of Effective Oral
Language Style

4. Effective language style is vivid and


impressive.
Language is made vivid and
impressive through the use of imagery
and figures of speech which you learned
in your language courses.

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