Chapter 8- What are the four key properties of language?

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Language is symbolic (people use spoken sounds, written words to represent an object, action, event or an idea). These words are random, although they have shared meaning for people who speak english, french, and spanish. Language is generative (symbols combined to generate an endless array of novel messages). Language is structured (allows people to be inventive with words and still understand each other). There are basic sounds combined into units with meaning, which are combined into words. Words combined into phrases, which are combined into sentences. At the base of the language hierarchy are phonemes, the smallest speech units in a language that can be distinguished perceptually. (example), strange = s t r e y n j, and to = t u. There are 40 in the english language and 100 in the human language. Morphemes are the smallest units of measuring language which are the root words. (example) fire, guard, friend.

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