Components of Language

First, let's talk about the 3 different components of language:

1. Form (syntax, morphology, phonology)
a. Syntax contains the rules that dictate the acceptable sequence, combination, and function of words in a sentence
b. Morphology indicates how morphemes are combined to form words
c. Phonology is the study of the sound system of a language

2. Content (semantics or meaning)
a. Includes the relations between language, thought, and behavior

3. Use (pragmatics or function)
a. Set of rules governing the use of language in context
b. The way language is used to communicate

Now, let's spend a few minutes reviewing morphemes. Morphemes are the smallest grammatical unit that contains meaning. There are 2 types of morphemes:

1. Free morphemes - these are independent and can stand alone to form words or parts of words (e.g. boy)

2. Bound morphemes - these are grammatical tags or markers that cannot stand alone (e.g. plural -ls, -est, -ly)

And finally, let's talk about the formalist and functionalist models of language. The formalist model views the 5 aspects of language (syntax, morphology, phonology, semantics, and pragmatics as being equally important). The functionalist model states that language is heavily influenced by context and that a need to communicate exists prior to the selection of content and form.