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FUNCTION OF LANGUAGE
Function of language divide into two categories :
micro functions which refer to specific
macro functions which serve more overall
1. Physiological function (releasing physical and
• curse words are used to serve this purpose,
as they rarely convey any meaning and are
only to make the speaker feel better.
e.g. Fans of sport
2. Phatic function (for sociability)
• The phatic use of language is characteristic
mainly of speech, however, in certain types of
writing it can also be noticed, as in letters for
example, where the beginning Dear
Sir/Madam and ending Yours faithfully also
serve that purpose.
3. Recording function
• Recording function denotes using language to
make a durable record of things that ought to
4. Identifying function
• Language is used also to identify the objects
and events in the world we live in.
• We use names to classify different types of
things, whether we call a car anautomobile, a
lorry, a van or a truck makes a big difference
5. Reasoning function (instrument of thought)
• Before we say something we think and to do
that we necessarily use language.
6. Communicating function
• This function would probably be pointed at by
most language users without major
• Requesting, apologizing, informing, ordering
as well as promising and refusing are all
reasons for communicating our ideas
7. Pleasure functions
• Language often gives pleasure both to the
speakers and listeners is not only supported
by the frequent use of assonance, alliteration
and onomatopoeia in poetry.
• Depending on the sounds of languages some
are perceived as being mild as English.
1. Ideational function
• Ideational function refers to the
conceptualizing process involved in our
2. Interpersonal function
• Interpersonal function emphasizes that
language is mainly a social phenomenon, but
apart from enabling communication with
other people it enables to project the speaker
in the desired way and to represent the
3. Poetic function
• The ability to manipulate language in a
• With the use of jokes and metaphors we can
play with words and meanings simply for joy.
4. Textual function
• Textual competence refers to our ability to
create long utterances or pieces of writing
which are both cohesive and coherent.
The above mentioned functions are only one
point of view on language. Most certainly
there are many other functions that natural
languages fulfill, yet depending on approach
to this issue the number of functions and their
names might vary.
Finch G. 1998. How to study linguistics.
Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.