THE PROPERTIES OF LANGUAGE
The physical aspects of human teeth, larynx and so on are not shared by other creatures and may explain why only the human creature has the capacity for speech. However,we did not suggest that the human was the only creature which was capable of communicating. All the species are capable of communicating whit other members of their species.
We should distinguish what are specifically communicative signals from those which may be unintentionally informative signals. A person listening to you may become informed about you via anumber of signals which you have not intentionally sent for example when you sneeze, she may note that you have a cold. However, when you use language to tell a person, “I would like to apply for thevacant position of senior brain surgeon at the hospital,” you are normally considered to be intentionally communicating something. So, when we consider the distinctions between human language and animalcommunication, we are considering both in terms of their potential as a means of intentional communication.
To determine the defining properties of human language, we shall takesix of these features and describe how they are manifested in human language, and to describe in what ways these features are uniquely a part of human language and unlikely to be found in thecommunication systems of other creatures.
Displacement: Human language-users are perfectly capable of producing messages, they can refer to past and future time, and to other locations. The factors involved inthe property of displacement are much more comprehensive than the communication of a single location. It enables us to talk about things and places whose existence we cannot be sure of, like SantaClaus, fairies, angels and characters such as Superman. This property allows the human, unlike any other creature, to create fiction and to describe possible future worlds.
Arbitrariness: It is...
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