GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Psychology Langauge-Langauge Theories, Applications and Issues Study Material (Page 1 of 4)

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Concept and Definition of Language: Difference between Human Language and Animal Communication


Language refers to so called natural language, which is a form of communication considered peculiar to humankind. By extension, the term also refers to the type of human thought process, which creates and uses language. Essential to both meanings is the systematic creation, maintenance, and use of systems of symbols, each referring to concepts different from themselves.

  • Language is a system of signs (symbols, indices, icons) for encoding and decoding information.
  • Language is a form of communication that supports the intricate working of the social institutions.

According to Mille

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Linguistic Relativity: Formulation by Roger Brown and Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis


The linguistic relativity principle or the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is the idea that differences in the way languages encode cultural and cognitive categories affect the way people think, so that speakers of different languages think and behave differently.

For example, Eskimos have four types of names for snow not found in other languages. These examples of polysemy served the double purpose of showing that indigenous languages sometimes made more fine-grained semantic distinctions than European languages and that direct translation between two languages, even of seemingly basic concepts like snow or water, is not always possible.

Formulation by Roger Brown

Since neither Sapir

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