What are the properties of language?
In form and function, language varies widely across space and throughout time. That being said, six key properties of language have been described by linguists. These six features are arbitrariness, cultural transmission, discreteness, displacement, duality, and productivity.
Arbitrariness of language is the fact that the symbols we use to communicate meaning to not have any natural form or meaning in and of themselves. For example, all of the words you are reading right now do not have a natural essence to them, but we have assigned these words to their particular meanings. The word table is not a table itself; rather, it is a word we have agreed means or signals for the idea of a table. Onomatopoeia differ somewhat in their arbitrariness, because these are words which replicate the sounds they describe. The word "plop" is intended to replicate the sound plop.
Language is both acquired by and continues the process of cultural transmission. Humans are not born with an innate understanding...
(The entire section contains 561 words.)
check Approved by eNotes Editorial