What is language?

Language refers to the words we use and how we use them to share ideas and get what we want. This includes what words mean, how to make new words, how to put words together, and what we would say at different times.

  • What words mean, or “semantics.” Some words have more than one meaning. For example, “star” can be a bright object in the sky or someone famous.
  • How to make new words, or “morphology.” For example, we can say “friend,” “friendly,” or “unfriendly” and mean something different.
  • How to put words together, or “syntax.” For example, in English we say, “Peg walked to the new store” instead of “Peg walk store new.”
  • What we should say at different times, or “pragmatics.” For example, we might be polite and say, “Would you mind moving your foot?” But, if the person does not move, we may say, “Get off my foot!”

You can read more information from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association here.