Identify and define the various components of spoken language.    

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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There are five accepted components of spoken language which are interdependent of each other, yet, they all have a specific role within the study of language as a system.

The first is the language's structure, or its make-up by the smallest units of sound. The structure of language, along with the way it is meant to be pronounced are studied under the branch of phonology. The smallest units of structure in spoken language are called PHONEMES.

The second component of language is its smallest units of MEANING. The combination of base words and affixes are what make possible the understanding, or comprehension, of the language itself. These smallest units of meaning are called MORPHEMES and are studied under the branch of morphology.

The third component is the COMBINATION of actual individual words at their most basic meaning. When we combine words, we create sentences, or complete structures that convey meaning. This grammatical structure, or the combination of words, is studied as syntax. Without syntax, our language would lack a very important thing, which is the rules as to how it is to be spoken. Lacking these rules results in not being able to relate the meaning of to words put together.

The fourth component is the "meta-language", or the meaning that we individually give words based on how the words are put together to convey a meaning. This specific meta-language is studied under semantics.  Meaning is conveyed through figurative language, through the use of adjectives, and through the application of specific descriptors to generally-used words. Without semantics, spoken language would not have cultural or social uniqueness. Semantics are what give language its own personality.

The final and equally important component of spoken language consists on the commonsensical manner in which we choose to use language. This is studied under pragmatics. Spoken language is always used to achieve a goal; the goal of communication branches out into business communication, casual communication, academic language, slang, and other specific types of spoken language usage. Pragmatics are essential because they constitute monitor language.

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