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Language is a way by which one can communicate his thoughts and feelings. This can be through sounds of voices, the use of gestures, written symbols and other kinds of communication. On the other hand, a lexicon is a part of the memory that act as a store of information to makes the cognitive process possible (Held et al 2007). It makes it possible for people to recognize the words they hear in terms of how they are spelled and pronounced. Lexicon therefore makes it possible for one to be involved in a meaningful speech (Willingham, 2007).
Evaluation of the key features of language
Language has four key features. First, it is arbitrary. There is arbitrary relationship between words people speak and their meanings. According to Held, Language is arbitrary because words are related to objects only because of what a culture appoints them to be (Held et al 2007). Willingham also noted that language unlike words is not arbitrary (Willingham, 2007). Secondly, language is structured. This is because for language to make meaning it requires an appropriate pattern or a structure. This means that words must be arranged in an appropriate context to enable them to efficiently communicate language (Willingham, 2007). If the requirement for this arrangement is not achieved, words may easily loose their meanings. Therefore, for the effective communication, people must observe the established cultural patterns of the words that they use to communicate in their daily life.
Thirdly, language is communicative. This means that specific words are uniformly used to describe specific objects within a culture. It is clear that if words did not have assigned meanings, communication would not be possible unless it is done through body and sign languages (Held et al 2007). Finally, language is generative. This means that there are words that may have different meanings depending on the context in which they are used (Willingham, 2007). Various words have also been changing their meanings depending on the meaning assigned to them by the present generation. It is very common to compare phrases with different meanings today with what they had looked like a few years ago.
Levels of language
Language has been broken down into various levels with each level leading to the next. The first level is Phonemes that are the individual sounds. It constitutes both the audible and written production of words (Stoker, 2009). Phonemes are letters of the alphabet with sounds which are combined to create words. We are therefore able to pronounce words the way we do because of their phonemes (Willingham, 2007). The second level of language is words. Words result from combination of different phonemes. Willingham noted that there are different rules set by different cultures to guide the use of their words (Willingham, 2007).
The third level of language is sentence and it is formed by combining different words. To come up with a meaningful sentence, there must be a match between the meaning of the words and the context of the sentence. This can be achieved only through arranging words in an appropriate pattern (Willingham, 2007). Sentences must also fit in the context of its paragraph to enable it be understood as part of the whole paragraph. This will help avoid the complexity of having to understand each sentence on its own. The last level of a language is a text which is the highest level of a language. Text results from putting many sentences together. It helps in the elaboration of various topics (Held et al 2007).
Role of language processing in cognitive psychology
Various studies have shown that people think in terms of their native languages. Benjamin Whorf noted that it is not possible for any cogitative process to occur without language. He argues that it will be impossible for one to use a foreign language to express his thoughts of anything relevant to him (Willingham, 2007). To him, for one’s cognitive process to be able to comprehend any spoken words, he/she must have been able to understand the language in which the words had been spoken. According to Stoker, Whorf’s hypothesis illustrates that language literally determines man’s perception of reality. Stoker noted that language is biased on certain cognitive functions such as identification of colors. He made a conclusion that languages act as filters and preconditioning. It categorizes our thoughts and perception.
In conclusion, language contains many components ranging from the sound of phonemes to the meaning of a text resulting from combinations of sentence in. Language is therefore the very basic in any communication process and without it people would never be able to comprehend any spoken words.