The Uses of Language

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  • 0:03 Language Background
  • 0:28 Informative Use of Language
  • 1:20 Expressive Use of Language
  • 1:58 Directive Use of Language
  • 2:55 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Summer Stewart

Summer has taught creative writing and sciences at the college level. She holds an MFA in Creative writing and a B.A.S. in English and Nutrition

Informative, expressive, and directive forms of communication are the primary uses of language. In this lesson, we'll learn about the uses of language to better understand the need for verbal and written forms of communication.

Language Background

Written and spoken language is used for many different reasons. The primary uses of language are informative, expressive, and directive in nature. Language is used to reason, to express ideas, argue a point, provide directions, and much more. Let's learn about the three main uses of language and how they are represented in written and spoken language.

Informative Use of Language

The informative use of language applies to written and spoken language that can be determined as true or false. Informative language is often seen in analytical reports, descriptions, arguments, and everyday speech. Most informative uses of language are declarative statements. For example, a person uses informative language when they are making a statement that provides information or that adds emphasis onto known information.

A person who says, 'The sky is blue' is using language to inform others about a known fact.

On the other hand, a person would be emphasizing information if they said, 'Isn't it raining outside?' to a child who wants to play outside. This informative use of language is rhetorical because the person knows that it is raining, but is forming it as a question to remind the child that the weather is keeping them indoors.

Expressive Use of Language

Language that is used to express a mood or feeling is considered an expressive use of language. Expressive language can reveal a person's happiness, sadness, anger, or other state of emotion.

Expressive language doesn't deliver information, but it is critical to human communication because humans thrive on the fostered social connection that language can create. Swearing, cheering, and sounds that represent emotions are examples of expressive language. Here are a few examples of expressive language:

  • Wow!
  • The blue bedroom is depressing.
  • Movies are boring.

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