Features of language | What are the 5 most important features of language? - Tutykid (2022)

One of the basic human needs is communication. People need to communicate with each other to share their opinions, thoughts, feelings, knowledge, and beliefs. They need attention, as well as awareness. That is why a system named language was created.

Language is the main means of communication. People use language to convey their meanings. That is, language is the basic system suitable for the bonding of interpersonal relationships.

Language is the system of communication including written or spoken words. The written or spoken words are gathered together to make interpersonal connections by using a sharing language.

Humans creatively created a system for interpersonal communication which is called “language”. Certain features of language enable humans to convey their meanings easily. There are five main features of language as follows.


  • 1 Features of language
    • 1.1 Cultural Relevance
    • 1.2 Symbolism
    • 1.3 Flexibility
    • 1.4 Variation
    • 1.5 Social importance
    • 1.6 Displacement
    • 1.7 Duality
    • 1.8 Productivity
    • 1.9 Arbitrariness
  • 2 FAQ
    • 2.1 What are the features of the English language?
    • 2.2 What are the features of the English language?
    • 2.3 What are the major features of language?
    • 2.4 What are the major features of language?

Features of language

Features of language | What are the 5 most important features of language? - Tutykid (1)

Any system has many specific characteristics, so does language. The specific features of language are the distinctive tools apt for its system. That is, the features of each system make it apart from another system.

Language is made of different components making it a perfect communication tool. There are five fundamental features of language. The five features of language are:

  1. cultural relevance
  2. symbolism
  3. flexibility
  4. variation
  5. social importance
  6. Displacement
  7. Duality
  8. Productivity
  9. Arbitrariness

This article aims to elaborate the features of language. Further on, each of the features of language are mentioned and explained briefly.

Cultural Relevance

The first feature among the many features of language, is cultural relevance. Each nation has its system to convey different abstract meanings. That is, the people of each country, England as an example, use a certain system, (English), to communicate with each other.

Language is created in a social context. Therefore, any features of language reflects the cultural background of the country where it was created. For example, the English language is the reflection of cultural events and social variations as it is under the influence of different aspects of historical or social changes of England.

The features of language is affected by cultural events as well as social concepts. The structure of language is primarily relevant to the culture of a nation. It is the embodiment of the cultural aspects of a nation. In another words, culture has an undeniable influence on the body of a language.

One of the signs of the basic features of language, is the fact that an English joke may not be funny in all of the languages of different countries around the world. In addition, an English joke may be very funny in Britain whereas it may not be funny in Canada.

Language is created and used in society. Therefore, it mainly depends on the culture of the society it is created. For example, French and English are not the same although they have many words and features in common.

Cultural transmission, like the other four features of the language, make human language distinct from animal language. Take the ” cat species” as an example, all the cats in the world communicate in one certain language; On the other hand, all human babies do not speak a certain language by instinct. The babies should grow up to acquire a certain language.

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Different dialects and accents validate this feature. A person who was born and lived in Paris may not be able to speak English as well as the English natives. He may pause frequently and use a weird accent while speaking English.

Overall, one of the five features of language is cultural relevance. Language is an output of social and cultural events. It is mainly under the influence of the culture and the nation where it was created.


Another one of the features of language is a combination of different symbols. There is a set of arranged letters known as the “alphabet” in the language of any nation. Alphabets arranged in a particular order is used in writings.

There is also an alphabetic system of phonetic symbols known as IPA (The International Phonetic Alphabet) that represents different sounds of language. IPA is a standardized representation of speech sounds of language.

Furthermore, there are a bunch of international symbols conveying the same meanings and ideas in different nations around the world. For example, the symbol “?” has the same meaning in any nation. The people of any country know that “?” shows a question. Another example of the international symbols is the sign “!” that represents surprise.

All in all, one of the features of language is being symbolic. It is consisted of different symbols to convey a certain meaning. Language users use symbols in their writings to make their feelings and meanings understandable. Therefore, symbolism is indeed one of the evident five features of language.


One of the features of language is flexibility. That is to say, Language is flexible. Language has many polygamous words. For example, the word ” chicken” can whether be related to a bird or a kind of food. Features of language empowers people to share infinite thoughts through words. People can use language’s flexibility to convey multiple meanings.

Polysemy plays an important role in the flexibility of language. A simple phrase can have different meanings in different contexts. In other terms, the meaning of some phrases usually can go beyond words.

For example, the phrase ” take whatever you need” literally means that you are allowed to take anything you want. But it has represented a different meaning when this phrase is told by a doctor. In this case, the phrase means that you are allowed to take any pill or drug that you need.

Another thing that shows the flexibility of language is the connotation of words. The connotation of a word means the hidden meaning or idea that the word refers to it implicitly.

For example, the denotation meaning of the word “cat” refers to an animal. But, the connotation of the word refers to a negative adjective. The adjective ” cat” means a cold bad temperature person. The meanings of the flexible words can be understood through the context they are located in.

For example, assume that your friend says:” I love cats. They are cute”. Here, a cat means an animal. So, your friend loves a kind of animal. In contrast, when someone says:” I cannot stand Julia. She is a cat.” Here, the cat represents a negative connotation. ” She is a cat.” means that Julia is a bad temperature girl. So, the person cannot tolerate Julia because she behaves badly.

All in all, one of the most practical features of language is flexibility. It empowers people to share lots of complex thoughts through words.


The features of language varies as time passes by. It changes under the influence of cultural and social variations. By the passage of time, many words are added to a language and many words become ancient and omitted from the language.

Take the English language as an example, new words have come to use since the technology development. In the technology world, new words such as ” app, computer, email, and cell phone” are added to the English language.

In contrast, archaic words such as ” beldam, betimes, thou, herein and behold” are not used anymore in today’s English. Therefore, the English spoken today is not the same as the English used two centuries ago.

Variation of language caused linguistics to investigate the differences between the old and the new features of language so they can discover old historical events. Therefore, it can be concluded that variation is one of the most fundamental features of language.

Language plays many functional roles in society including: means of interpersonal communication, means of knowledge sharing, means of learning, means of cultural expansion, and means of business expansion.

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All of the five features of language play such a fundamental role in society that no one can deny its social importance. Without language, humans could not communicate, share opinions, use others’ knowledge, learn different cultures and expand their business in the society.

In simple terms, people could not have an active presence in society without language. Therefore, social importance is one of the five features of language.


Displacement, as one of the important features of language, makes talking about different tenses possible. It also allows humans to talk about real and unreal situations. This feature is seen a lot in stories, novels, and narratives.

This is one of the features of language permitting humans to convey a wide variety of meanings. Without this feature, no one could remind the past events or memories, give warnings about the future consequences, etc. Displacement, like other features of language, help humans to creatively use language for giving certain messages.


One of the most important features of language is duality. There are two levels in human languages. The first level is minimal units which are the combination of meaningless units including the alphabet for writing and phonemes for speech.

The meanings resulting from the combination of the mentioned meaningless units are the second level of the human language. Therefore, human language has the potentiality to produce unlimited numbers of words by a limited set of units. The animal language lacks this characteristic like the other features of language.


It is one of the features of language providing humans with plenty of amazing opportunities. With this feature, humans can produce signals to express their ideas differently. It allows them to convey certain meanings beyond the literal meanings of each word. The connotative meanings of words and the use of inflections are examples of this feature. They all enable humans to use language creatively to transmit certain messages. This feature, like all the features of language, adds beauty, variety, and creativity to the human.


This is one of the features of the language, which means that there is no similarity or connection between the meanings of words and their natural features. Although there are some expectations such as ” hiss and buzz” which are the imitations of natural sounds, the majority of words, especially abstract ones, encompass this feature. Furthermore, the huge differences among the multiple languages in the world are one of the pieces of evidence that validate this feature of language.

In conclusion, there are five features of human language stated briefly in this article. All the mentioned features of language do not exist in animal languages and that is why the language we speak is much complex and unique. The conveyance of messages would not be possible without such features of language.

All in all, the five features of language have many functional roles. They set human language apart from other communications, as animals. Animal communication is never as complex as the human language. It lacks the complex features of language.

On the other hand, humans use many symbols in written forms to convey their thoughts and feelings. Overall, the five features of language play basic functions in communication. The features of language are like the body of the language.


What are the features of the English language?

English is an international means of communication. People all over the world use the English language to communicate with each other. This International language has certain features which make it unique, clear, and simple.

English, unlike Chinese or Arabic, is one of the most simple languages to learn. It is taught in schools throughout the world. The distinctive features of language are as follows:

1. Latin root

The English language originates from the Latin alphabet which is short and straightforward. The symbolic system of the English language is based on the Latin language. So, there are many similarities between English and Latin.

2. Receptiveness

English included many adopted nouns. It includes many words from other languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, etc. It is one of the important features of English which makes this mixed language more universal, heterogeneous, and simple.

3. Intonation

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One of the basic features of language is intonation. It means the change in the peach of sounds. Therefore, the rising and falling intonations affect the meanings of words, phrases, and sentences.

English, unlike Chinese, is not a tonal language. In Chinese, the way a word is expressed affects the meaning of the word and it does not usually occur in English. Growth of intonation is one of the features of language, which makes it more easy and clear to learn and understand.

4. Inflexion

It is one of the distinctive features of language, which refers to the changes in the forms of English words. Inflections, such as “ed, ing, and er” affect the meanings and functions of English words. English, unlike Chinese, permits a large number of inflections in its word order.

5. Periphrases

This is one of the features of language, which makes it more rich and varied. Paraphrasing refers to express someones’ ideas or thoughts differently.

In conclusion, English is used throughout the world. There are five features of language of English in this article. All the five features of language help English speakers to convey their meanings effectively, easily, and well.

What are the major features of language?

Language is a means of communication enabling people to share their thoughts and feelings. It has certain characteristics making it more complex and unique. The major features of the language are as follows:

1. Language is composed of sounds

Language is a combination of sounds produced by vocal organs. It includes verbal elements. It is vocal since the speech is before writing.

2. Language is a reflection of culture

Language is made by humans. Therefore, it reflects the taught, beliefs, lifestyles, and future of the society in which it is created. Take the “English” language as an example, it reveals the culture and thinking ways of the English natives in many ways. That is because you will certainly get into trouble in your communications with English people if you are not familiar with the English culture.

3. Language is changeable

Language is a set of conventional rules being passed by generations. Language is an invention that can change, grow, expand, and even die. It can never be fixed because culture, as its most important component, changes with time.

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As mentioned, language is a social phenomenon reflecting culture, customs, and beliefs. Therefore, social and cultural variations can certainly influence the language; that is, language can be changed with time. For example, the language spoken in the modern time is not the same with the archaic English due to the many different variations occurred in the history of English literature.

4. Arbitrariness rules upon a language

Language is arbitrary. That is, there is not necessarily a connection between the nature of things or ideas and their meanings or expressions conveyed by a language. For example, there is no purpose why a young male human should be called a “boy” in English or “garçon” in Frenchh.

Although there are some sounds, “buzz, hiss, and hum” in English as instances, created by the limitations from nature in a language, the creation of the majority components of a language are not based on nature. Take the “English language” as an example, the names of the animals such as “dog, cat, mouse, rooster, and tiger” are not based on the sounds produced by such animals. In addition, the number of the imitated sounds is so limited that it can not invalidate the arbitrariness of language.

5. Language does not depend on human instincts

As mentioned, language is a creation of humans. Plus, there are many languages in the world. Therefore, language is a none_instictive means of communication; that is, language is the product of conventional rules and evolutions.

6. Language is composed of symbols

People convey their meanings using the symbols of a language. In a language, a symbol represents the meaning. For example, words, speech symbols, and letters are all symbols that are arranged in a certain system.

7. Language follows a certain system

The features of the language are arranged in a systematic certain way. All the components of a language, from symbols to grammar rules, are the aub-systems of a general system. There would be no coherency and cohesion in the features of language if there is no system in that language; as a result, the language can not be a means of communication.

In conclusion, language is a systematic means of communication composed of seven certain characteristics. The major features of the language are stated briefly in this article. There is all a strong unity among the features of language.

What are the major features of language?

1. Language is composed of sounds
2. Language is a reflection of culture
3. Language is changeable
4. Arbitrariness rules upon a language
5. Language does not depend on human instincts
6. Language is composed of symbols
7. Language follows a certain system


    (Liezel Oh)

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