5 Components of Language with Examples

Linguists have identified five basic building blocks found in language. These are phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics.

What are the language components?

The 5 Components of Language are phonology, semantics, syntax or grammar, and pragmatics. These four aspects allow us to study and better understand the mechanism by which language becomes useful and how human communication works.
5 components of language examples
5 components of language examples

Human language is defined as the human ability to communicate using various signals and perceive them through bodily sensations.

These cues range from gestures and mimicry to speech. Similarly, text containing graphic symbols is also considered a language. The main goal is to allow people to interact and express their ideas.

General aspects of language

Over the centuries there have been different theories of language and different approaches to the study of language. Today there are many features that all experts agree on.

Among them, the ability to acquire language without direct instruction is very fast. According to Noam Chomsky, children learn new words every waking hour.

Another aspect that all scholars agree on is the importance of language. The language that children acquire naturally in childhood is called the mother tongue.

Within the same community, each member has the same language skills, but different educational backgrounds and interests depending on how they present themselves.

5 components of language

Later theories have developed many linguistic elements, from phonemes to pragmatic elements. Each element has the following characteristics:


The phonological structure is concerned with the tone of a language in terms of both the structural rules of the language and the order of the sounds. During the first year of life, children begin to develop this phonetic element, babbling until words are formed.

The simplest particles studied in phonology are phonemes, which can be single tones. For example, Spanish has 22 different phonemes.


Semantics goes one step further and deals with different combinations of sounds and meanings that words give. These are the basic units of language.

Semantics, like phonology, began to develop very early. By age 1, children can communicate verbally, and by age 6, children can repeat words.

In order for these words to mean something, the human mind associates them with mental representations of that meaning.

Grammar: morphology and syntax

This language component is essential for effective communication as it consists of two very important parts.

On the one hand, the syntax is defined as a set of rules for forming sentences. With the right words, you can create meaningful sentences and express what you want to say.

On the other hand, morphemes are closely related to previous morphemes, which is why we call them combinatorial grammars. A morpheme is the simplest structural unit of a word and cannot be further subdivided.

Morphology allows you to create new words by adding elements that use the original word.


The last of the components of language is the one that adapts one’s language to the society in which one lives in order to make it understandable. It is usually divided into three different skills:

  • First: the correct use of language to be useful
  • Second: it serves to converse with each interlocutor that adapts to their personality. We don’t talk the same to an older person as we do to a little brother
  • Third: are the norms of politeness at the time of the conversation, such as waiting for the other person to finish or not going through the branches.
Below you can find the 10 main features and characteristics of a language.
  • Language is systemic (a system)
  • Language is symbolic
  • Language is systematic
  • Language is social
  • Language is arbitrary
  • Language is cultural
  • Language is dynamic
  • Language is variation

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