Linguistic Sign Meaning

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ARBITRARY NATURE OF THE LINGUISTIC SIGN IN HUMAN LANGUAGE SYSTEM The evolutionary origins of language remain a topic of intense debate. A lot of works had been done by linguists to find the core point of origins of language. The most famous statement was made by Ferdinand De Saussure, in one of his lecture. According to Saussure, a linguistic sign is a combination of a “concept” and a “sound pattern” in our associative mind. Subsequently, he uses “signification” and “signal” to replace the word “concept” and “sound pattern”. The linguistic sign is arbitrary because there is no internal connection between concept and sound pattern. For example, the concept of ‘sister’ and the French sequence of sounds ‘s-o-r’ which acts as its signal pose…show more content…
The idea of creating non-arbitrary linguistic sign is so that the speaker will know the intended meaning of a word. The meaning is partly derivable from the form, and vice versa. There are two very limited and partial exception to the arbitrariness of language; of which are onomatopoeia and sound symbolism. Onomatopoeia refers to words whose sound imitates either the sound they denote or a sound associated with something they denote. However, these words are not entirely arbitrary because different languages represent the same natural sounds in slightly different ways (e.g. English cock-a-doodle-do is not similar with German kikeriki). Meanwhile, sound symbolism refers to the very vague, elusive way in which certain sounds “feel” more appropriate for describing certain objects or meanings than other sounds. To English speakers, gl- suggests brightness (glow, glitter, gleam, glint), and -ash suggests sudden action (bash, crash, flash, dash), (Hana J.,…show more content…
For example, the loudness of the danger signal corresponds to how close the predator is. Human being also uses non-arbitrary symbols such as road signs and pictograms. But, however, to a linguist, these are not a language proper because they are the “road sign language” (Pereltsvaig, A., 2011). WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF LANGUAGE IS NOT ARBITRARY A lot of thing will occur if language is not arbitrary. Firstly, different languages would not use different words to denote the same thing. In fact, there will be only one language cease to exist, because minor languages had to be merged into one major language. Next, word forms and word meanings would not change over the time. We would still be using the Old English form to communicate with each other. ADVANTAGES OF ARBITRARINESS Arbitrariness, do have key advantages to communication despite us, having difficulty to understand the concept of arbitrary itself. It allows the speaker to communicate and adopt the most convenient means available for communicating, since it obviates any need for the forms of signs to bear an inherent relationship to their meanings (Hana, J., 2006). It makes life much easier for users of a communication system to refer to abstract entities, since it is hard to find a combination that involves an inherent link between a form and an abstract meaning (Hana, J.,

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