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about language FUNCTION

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Language is very important for everyone in the world. There are several reasons why language is very important for human, first language as an instrument to communicate. Furthermore, language as instrument to self expression. Finally, language is useful to unifier the human’s diversity. With language, people can do communicate and convey information to other people easily. They can also express thier feeling and expression about something, such as speaking, etc.

At the moment, there are many languages that people using in the world. In a country for example, there are many language that people use to communicate and it is helps human in their activities. Almost of a country have more than one language that native people use, such as in Indonesia. In Indonesia, almost every place has local language or local dialect that useful to native people. Local language in a place is different with other place in Indonesia, which caused by geography position, etc. whereas, every country have a national language that unity the local language and dissimilarity. Before we are talking about function on language in language learning, we should to know term of language. Actually, language is a unifier instrument of different people background into a unity. People who come from different background is needed language as instrument to communicate. If they are wanting to other place, they need language as communication instrument. If they are will going to other place, they should to use native’ country language or international language, such as English language, Arabic language, and any more that people using in the world.

In language, there is term of language learning. Language learning is a process to acquire or gain the language. To acquire language, people in the world were used same method, which started from first language or mother tongue. First language is a language that someone acquire and consuming firstly. Furthermore, language learning was continuing to second language learning. Second language learning is a process to gain foreigner language or second language besides mother tongue.

In this paper will be talk about definition of language and learning, furthermore the function of language in language learning, and finally the relationships between language and language learning. All these issues will be answer and explain deeply in this paper.



Language is very vital in humans being life, hence each humans in the world is need language. Languages were started from first language or mother language and then continue to second language. Hence, there is relationship between language and language learning on human being life.


A. Definition of Language Learning

Language is a important instrument for human live. There are many

There are many meaning of language at the moment. According to Pinker’s The Language Instinct (1994), language is complex specialized for skill which develops in the child spontaneously without conscious effort or formal instruction, is deployed without awareness of it is underlying logic, is qualitatively in the same in every individual and it is distinct from intelligently. From this definition, language can conclude in generally as:

  • Language is systematic and it is a set of arbitrary symbols.
  • The symbols are primarily vocal, but it is may also visual. Furthermore, the symbols have conventionalized meanings to what they are referred.
  • Language is useful for communication and it is operates in a speech community or culture.
  • Language is essentially for human, and human is acquiring language in the same way.


Furthermore, there is a term which mentioned a process in language acquisition, namely language learning. In shortly, learning is a process to human behavior’s change which occurs from the result of experience. Learning can define as acquiring or getting of knowledge of a subject or a skill by studying, experience, or instruction. The result of learning is relative permanent change in a behavioral tendency. From this term, learning can conclude in generally as:

  • Learning is acquisition or getting someone, especially for knowledge.
  • Learning is retention of information or skill which implies storage systems, memory, and cognitive organization.
  • Learning is relative permanent, but it is easy to forgetting.
  • Learning involves some form of practice and it is a change in behavior.


Base on term of language and learning, language learning is a process to acquire or gain the language. This language involves first language or second language which people acquire.


B. Function of Language in Language Learning

Actually, language function is essentially the aim of accomplish with language, such as to requesting, asking, responding, greeting, parting, introduction, etc. There are many references which mention and explain the function of language. Actually, the function of language in generally is to communicate to other people. Furthermore, language is useful to integrity and social adaptation and to social control. Finally, other utility of language is to self-expression. Hence, language is very important for everyone. Michael Halliday (1973) claimed there are seven function of language. The functions of language base on Michael Hilliday are:

1. Instrumental function

Language as instrumental function attends to manipulate the environment primary to humans and it is causing certain event to happen. Instrumental function refers to communicative acts that have a specific perlocutionary and it is bring to the particular condition. For example, “Don’t touch my Laptop!” etc.

2. Regulatory Function

Language as regulatory function is states to controller of events and it is not much to unchecking of convinced power as the preservation of control. The typical of language as regulatory function is there are guidelines of encounters between people- approval, disapproval, behavior control, and setting laws and rules.

3. Representational Function

Language as representational function is the use of language to make statements, to convey information and knowledge, to explain, or to report something. For example in the report, “Last night, there is flood disaster was occur in Jakarta”.I don’t like human living condition in big city” is representational function in statement.

4. Interactional Function

Languages as interactional function refer to ensure social maintenance. A successful interactional communication is requires knowledge of politeness, social culture, jokes, or other keys to social successful exchange.

5. Personal Function

Language as personal function is referring to a speaker to express their feelings, emotions or personality. There is interaction in the person individuality such as cognition, affect, and culture.

6. Heuristic Function

Language as heuristic function is valuable to gain information or to study about the atmosphere. This function is often conveyed in the form of question which needed to answer. For example, question about how children is talk, why people is need language, etc.

7. Imaginative Function

Language as imaginative function is useful to create imaginer system or ideas. For example is joking, telling fairy tales, writing a novel, to make poetry, and word game.

Roman Jakobson citied in Chaedar (1987:82) mentioned the functions of language are:

1. Emotive Speech

Language as emotive language is useful to clarify emotion, attitude, feeling to other. They can clarify their emotion involve singing, writing to a daily book, etc.

2. Cognitive Speech

Language as cognitive speech is referring to denotative or informative. Cognitive speeches it means language is convey something to other, such as information, report, statement, etc.

3. Rhetorical Speech

4. Metalingual Speech

5. Poetic Speech


C. The Relationship Language and Language Learning

Language is a system of arbitrary conventionalized vocal, written, or gestural symbols that enable to members of a given community to communicate intelligibly with one other. in other hand, learning is a process to human behavior’s change which occurs from the result of experience. If definitions of language and learning is to make into one statement will make a term of language learning. Language learning is the process to acquire an language. Everyone in the world have same way to acquire language, which started from first language and then move to foreigner language or second language. There is a relationship between language and language learning, which language is the result of communication and language learning is the process to acquire language.




In conclusion, language is useful for everyone. With language, human can convey information such as telling story, report, or other. Besides that, language is useful to express their self, such as feeling, emotion, attitude, or other. Language is a system of utterance sound which frees characters in a social group. In social group, language is useful as instrument to communicate. There are many expert who explain the function of language, such as Michael Halliday (1973) and Roman Jakobson who citied in Chaedar (1987:82). Michael Halliday argues that there are seven functions of language that is instrumental function, regulatory function, representational function, interactional function, personal function, heuristic function, and language as imaginative function. In other hand, Roman Jakobson who citied in Chaedar (1987:82) indicate that the functions of language are language as emotive language, cognitive speech, rhetorical speech, metalingual speech, and finally language as poetic speech. Although there are many function of language, but the function of language mainly is to communicate.














Brown, H. D. (2007). Prinsip Pembelajaran dan Pengajaran. Jakarta: Pearson Education, Inc.

http://blog.alamfay.com/2012/06/fungsi-bahasa-menurut-4-ahli.html, was accessed on February 13, 2013

http://staff.uny.ac.id/sites/default/files/Hakikat%20dan%20Fungsi%20Bahasa.pdf, was accessed on February 13, 2013


Categories: LANGUAGE


Ummu Muti'ah

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