Form, Use, Function, and Meaning

If you are teaching English or learning it, chances are that you have, sooner or later, deal with the issues of language for, , language use, language functions, and the issues of meanings. These topics are fundamentals to language education and communication in general. In this short article, I would like to explain what they are and their relatedness .

Semantics is the study of meanings.

Firstly, let’s look into their definitions. Language form is the structures of the language, e.i. syntactic structures, For example, S + V2 + Object. Every language has its own grammatical rules, and there are rules universal to every language, for example, NP and VP.

Next, language use is when the language is put into use. Language use is related to language functions or the doing of the language.

Thirdly, the form cannot function on its own,; it must be accompanied by meaning. This is more like the inseparability of signifiers and their signifieds.

The relationship between forms and uses can be exemplified as follows. Let’s say that you want to tell someone that you love her. That’s the use of the language (function) – to tell someone that you love him or her. Now, let’s think about ways or language form, and you will see that there are many ways to say the same thing. Experts can tell you that there are more than ten ways to let someone how how much you care for him or her. Many language structures simply express the same pragmatic meaning. You may say “I love your or “I don’t want to live without you,” You will see that the two forms express the same function.

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