Introduction to Linguistics
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This theoretical and practical approach to (basically English and Romanian) sounds and phonemes, drawing on former work by such diverse scholars as Daniel Jones, Herbert Pilch, Al. Philippide and Gh. Ivãnescu, is seeking a middle road or rather a short-cutfor the students of English to the study of language. Language is an act of communication, that is the transmission of information from a source to a receiver. David Crystal calls language "human vocal noise (or the graphic representation of this noise in writing) used systematically and conventionally by our community for the purpose of communication. Occasionally, language is used for purposes other than communication - for example, to let off steam (as in our vocal reaction to hitting our fingers with a hammer), or to give delight to ourselves purely because of the sonic effect which language has upon the ear (as in child's word-play, or as a vehicle for our own thoughts when no one is present. But such uses of language are secondary." For him, as for the majority of linguists, language's main function is to be the most frequently used the most highly developed form of human communication.
Ferdinand de Saussure specifies that language (langue) must not be confused with human speech (langage)y because it is asocial product of the faculty of speech and a collection of neces¬sary conventions adapted by a social body to permit individuals to exercise that faculty. He pointed out that "Language is a system of interdependent terms in which the value of each term re¬sults solely from the simultaneous presence of the others.