What is language?. Anthropology

• the system of arbitrary symbols humans use to communicate experience or to ex­press meaning through sounds or gestures

• a system of communication using sounds or gestures put together in meaningful ways according to a set of rules

• Language is embedded in a gesture-call system that consists of paralanguage and kinesics

- Paralanguage: extra linguistic sounds that accompany language

- Kinesics: body motions that convey messages

- The nature of language


• all human language is used as means of transmitting information and sharing with others both cultural and individual experiences

• language system enables one human group to translate their cultural system (con­cerns, beliefs, perceptions) into symbols so that other human groups can under­stand and interpret

Types of language

• Verbal language

- speech or spoken language

• Non-verbal language

- hand signed

- Written

- kinesics; gestures, postures, facial expression

- paralanguage; laughing, sobbing, screaming

- touch; shaking hands, kissing each other on the cheek

- body markings; Crocodile scars (people of New Guinea)