Lisa von Stockhausen , Joachim Funke
11 Nature of Language
- The term language covers a number of cognitive processes that enable humans to represent and communicate information efficiently and independently of context. Examples include the simulation of perceptual experience in language, the alignment of interlocutors in dialogue and the representation of social reality in language structure.
- Language is acquired in the first years of life without explicit instruction through implicit strategies. In later years, language acquisition requires active attention.
- Language has its roots in perception and is a tool for action. According to the approach of language as embodied simulation, language comprehension basically is simulating what is being described.
- The most natural use of language is in dialogue. The interactive alignment model accounts for the typical fluency and ease in dialogue by assuming that interlocutors automatically align on all levels of linguistic representation.
- Our views of social reality are reflected in language use, for example, in how abstractly or concretely we describe a person’s behavior, in patterns of negation, or in thematic structures. Production and interpretation of these language-based social cues occurs automatically.
- Through representation and communication, language carries our experiences and ideas into problem solving, reasoning, decision making, goal setting and planning.