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Social Sci LibreTexts

4: Language (Light)


  • Explain the relationship between human language and culture.
  • Identify the universal features of human languages and the design features that make them unique.
  • Describe the structures of language: phonemes, morphemes, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics.
  • Assess the relationship between language variations and ethnic or cultural identity.
  • Explain how language is affected by social class, ethnicity, gender and other aspects of identity.
  • Evaluate the reasons why languages change and efforts that can be made to preserve endangered languages.

Thumbnail: Detail of the Rosetta Stone inscription. Major advances in the decoding were recognition that the stone offered three versions of the same text; that the demotic text used phonetic characters to spell foreign names; that the hieroglyphic text did so as well, and had pervasive similarities to the demotic; and that, in addition to being used for foreign names, phonetic characters were also used to spell native Egyptian words. Image used with permission (CC BY-SA 3.0; Kajk).