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Lexicon & Language

Updated on March 14, 2010

Lexicon & Language Miscomminication Defined

In the world we live in today language is very important and understanding the dialects and usage is sometimes difficult. Analyzing language is essential to preventing misunderstandings and misconceptions about different cultures within our world, but between generations even in our own community. As we further explore language we need to understand the key features that make up our verbal and written languages.

Language and Lexicon

Language is a system for expressing or communicating thought and feelings through speech sounds or written symbols. The communicative system used by a particular speech community with its distinctive vocabulary, grammar, and phonological system.

Lexicon is the vocabulary of a language, the lexical knowledge of an individual. Lexicon is more along the lines of what speech sounds or written symbols mean in a language. If you don’t know the lexicon of a language you cannot possibly know the language. Almost every culture has its own language and lexicon.

Key Features

There are four key features of language, which are the most important part of a communication system. The four key features of language are phonemes-phonetics, words, sentences, and text.

Phonemes-phonetics is the first most important key feature of a language, which makes each language different. Phonemes is in linguistics, a speech sound that plays a meaningful role in a language and cannot be analyzed into smaller meaningful sounds, conventionally indicated by slash symbols. A speech sound is held to be meaningful in a given language if its contrast with other sounds is used to mark distinctions of meaning. Phonetics is the branch of linguistics that studies the physical properties of speech sounds and the physiological means by which these are produced and perceived.

Words are very important in language for reasons being that words are the main part of a conversation. Without words a language would not exist. In most languages words don’t even have to be spoken they can also be signed through sign language or written like in written communication. Word is defined as being a unit of language, consisting of one or more spoken sounds or their written representation, that functions as a principal carrier of meaning. Words are composed of one or more morphemes and are either the smallest units susceptible of independent use or consist of two or three such units combined under certain linking conditions.

Words when used together make up sentences. Sentences are a grammatical unit of one or more words, bearing minimal syntactic relation to the words that precede or follow it. Sentences often precede and follow in speech by pauses, having one of a small number of characteristic intonation patterns, and typical expressing an independent statement, question, request, command, etc.

Text is the main body of matter in a manuscript, book, newspaper, etc. Text is best described as being the words and sentences written on paper or of the same sort. Text refers to a conversation. Words make up sentences and sentences make up conversations.

Levels of Language

The four levels of language structure and processing are phonemes, words, sentences, and texts. The first level of language structure and processing is phonemes. Phonemes are sounds; these sounds must be remembered and understood correctly according to the language. Phonemes make up words, which must be remembered and understood correctly according to the language. Words make up sentences, which must be remembered and understood correctly according to the language. Sentences make up texts, which must be remembered and understood correctly according to the language.

In order to carry on a conversation with a person one must be able to correctly understand a language. In order to correctly understand a language one must be able to remember phonemes and words. Phonemes and words are the most important part of a language. Since phonemes and words are the first levels of a language understanding them are the most important.

Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive psychology is the branch of psychology that explores the operation of mental processes related to perceiving, attending, thinking, language, and memory, mainly through inferences from behavior. The cognitive approach, which developed in the 1940’s and 1950’s, diverged sharply from contemporary behaviorism in

(a) emphasizing unseen knowledge processes instead of directly observable behaviors


(b) arguing that the relationship between stimulus and response was complex and mediated rather than simple and direct.

Its concentration on the higher mental processes also contrasted forces typical of psychoanalysis. More recently, cognitive psychology has been influenced by approaches to information processing and information theory developed in computer science and artificial intelligence.

Role of Language

So if the understanding of the words and sounds of a language must be entered into the brain how does it affect cognitive psychology? Does language change the way people think from culture to culture? Does language influence cognitive psychology?

The role of language in cognitive psychology is to remember what each phoneme and word means. There are many different sounds that one must remember in order to learn a language. One must have complete understand of each phoneme and word to understand a sentence or text. Once a person hears a sound or word they must be able to understand what is being spoken by retrieving it from their memory. The person must also be able to retrieve other words from their memory to provide feedback to the other person in the conversation.


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