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A systematic way of arranging symbols, usually to express meaning. It may be a NATURAL LANGUAGE like Chinese, English or Swahili that humans use to communicate with one another, or a PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE in which programs are written for a computer. (Arbib)
A combinatorial system for arranging characters into words and complex expressions subject to the constraints of a syntax, a logic and a semantics. A syntax rules out some combinations of characters as ungrammatical and designates the others as legitimate linguistic expressions. A logic orders the legitimate expressions implicationally and informationally. A semantics relates these expressions to the larger system of which a language is a part thus constraining the expressions according to what is appropriate in the non-linguistic context of a situation (the larger system). The combinatorial properties of a language are responsible for the chosen expressions to carry information relative to the expressions possible in a given context. The sharing of facilities to generate linguistic expressions (see generative) and the ability to make comparisons within the system of possible expression brings linguistic communication to a logical level higher than communication without language. (Krippendorff)
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