Posts Tagged ‘Language’
As computer is an electronic machine, it can feel only electricity. It cannot understand human languages. So computer can understand a language which is directly related to electricity. So which language the computer can understand? The answer is binary language or machine language. The binary language consists of only two numbers 0 and 1 where 0 represent low voltage and 1 represent high voltage.
New words can be formed by mixing 0’s and 1’s. For example, 11 means 3, 100 means 4, and 101 means 5. Alphabets should be given some code so that they can be easily converted to binary form. For example, in ASCII code A means 65, B means 66 and so on. Therefore 65 can be converted into binary form and when it is fed to computer, it can be understood as we expected.
It is too difficult for humans to write instructions in a pure binary form. So assembly language was developed. It consists of mnemonic codes such as ADD, SUB, STA and so on. These instructions will then be converted to machine language which the computer will happily understand and perform actions accordingly.
One layer above, we have high level language which is easy to understand. Examples are C, C++, Java, Python, and so on. Above these there are very high level languages that are mostly used for some special purpose. SQL, for example, is a very high level language.
Language is a set of symbols being used mainly for communication. The symbols may be spoken or written. Language is an aspect of human behavior. In written form it is a long-term record of knowledge from one generation to the next while in spoken form it is a means of communication. Language is the key aspect of human intelligence.
Natural language is an ordinary language that has evolved as the normal means of communication among people. Examples: English, French, Japanese, Tamil, Arabic and Hebrew.
Constrained languages are those that have a special or limited vocabulary designed for restricted types of communication. Examples: programming languages such as C, C++ and Java and languages that apply only to a certain domain.
Definitions of language
According to Noam Chomsky, a language is a set (finite or infinite) of sentences, each finite in length and constructed out of a finite set of elements.
Characteristics of Language
It is a means of communication
It is arbitrary
It is a system of systems
It is primarily vocal
It differs from animal communication in several ways
It is a from of social behavior
It is a symbol system
Speech is a natural, convenient, rapid and the oldest means of communication.
A written language is one that uses the equivalent of typed alphabetic characters. Words are clearly separated by spaces and punctuation marks.
Children learn language from the evidence they encounter. They can acquire any language, English, Tamil, Arabic or any human language they encounter. The grammatical sentences that the children acquire are positive evidences. Explanations, corrections of wrong sequences, and ungrammatical sentences are negative evidences. The universal grammar theory claims that evidence other than positive evidence cannot play a critical role. That is, the child must learn mainly from positive examples of what people actually say.
Children acquire their first language despite wide differences in their situations within single culture or across different cultures. Children attain same grammatical competence although the inputs they get vary from one child to another. The knowledge of language the children get clearly reflects their experience. Children imitate what they actually hear. Imitation provides positive evidence. But imitation is not the only means by which a child learns. Correction also makes a child learns from its mistakes. That is, when the child makes mistakes his parents correct them. This way a child acquire knowledge to some extent.
Language is a creation of the mind. This mental capacity makes one human. Linguistic theory aims to understand this mental capacity. The questions that arise are, ‘what is the knowledge of language?’ and ‘how is the mind structured to acquire knowledge of language?’. We cannot directly examine the mind so we need to find the indirect methods to investigate. The best methodology is to examine closely selected sentences and phrases that native speakers of a language judge to be possible, impossible, and marginal.
The speaker has the knowledge of language in his mind and he uses this knowledge to produce or understand the language. What people say can be distorted. For example, people make mistakes when they are afraid, drunk or tired. These mistakes cannot be considered as part of knowledge.
Tamil is one of the classical languages spoken by more than 77 million people across the world. Tamil language is a member of the south Dravidian family. It is one of the most ancient languages still spoken in the world. It is written in south Brahmi script. Tamil has 12 vowels and 18 consonants.
Tamil is relatively free word order, verb final and inflectional language. The third person pronouns show singular-plural distinction and masculine-feminine distinction.
In Tamil language the subject is identified by the case markers it takes. As Tamil is an agglutinative language, the words are formed by combining several morphemes. A Tamil word is a composition consisting of a root combined with other grammatical accretions. Irrespective of the length, complexity and type of Tamil words, the roots can be traced up to monosyllabic level by careful removal of successive accretions. Traditionally, a Tamil word is divided into a maximum of six parts, namely pakuthy (prime-stem), sandhi (junction), vihaaram (variation), iTainilai (middle part), saariyai (enunciater) and vikuti (terminator) in that order. For example, a word, ndaTantananmeaning ‘(He) walked’, is made up of the morphemes: naTa + t(n) + t + an + an. The middle part and terminator are grammatical additions to the prime-stem. The middle part marks the tense and the terminator marks the gender. Usually, the prime-stem is the main part of the word responsible for its meaning.