This essay begins by identifying what communication is and what linguistics is in order to establish the relationship between them. The characterization of linguistics leads to discussion of the nature of language and of the relationship between a theory of language, i. e., linguistic theory, and the object language it models. This, in turn, leads to a review of speculations on the origins of human language with a view to identifying the motivation for its creation and its primary function. After considering a host of data, it becomes clear that, contrary to some approaches, the primary function of human language is to function as a vehicle of communication. Thus, linguistics studies what for humans is their primary vehicle of communication.
- human beings
- linguistic theory
- social interactive behavior
- the origins of language
- the relation of theory to data