What are the functions of the English language?

The Purpose of Language

Six major functions of the human language are:
  • A means of conveying information example, "The Kyneton train is now approaching on platform 4." This example is conveying to those waiting for the Kyneton train that it has now arrived.
  • An instrument of action example, "Don't forget to feed the dog." This example is telling the second person in the conversation to do something.
  • To maintain social relationships example, "G'day, how ya going?" Here we see that this function allows us to make and keep friends. This function is usually more informal than others.
  • Acting as a marker of groups example, "He was out for a duck." This example would only be heard by someone talking about the cricket, therefore establishing that the people involved in the conversation are involved with cricket in one way or another, marking them as a group.
  • As an instrument of cognitive and conceptual development. This is the power of language to influence thinking. This is why we have many words that mean basically the same thing, because they all have slight differences or are used in different circumstances. For example if you could only say you were happy, but not excited, thrilled, etc, then you would not be able to give as much detail.
  • As an art form, language can be purposed towards beauty for beauty's sake.