Words offer the possibility of a generalised reflection of reality in the consciousness. Every word already universalises. For example, the word matter, it does not express anything individual which is expressed through a system of words and concepts, but embraces that which is characteristic of everything, which exists objectively and independently of consciousness. In this way, language and speech create the possibility of an abbreviated ideal reproduction of reality and consequently, the possibility of compact perception, storage, use and transfer of knowledge. In that sense, language is the greatest accumulator of mankind’s knowledge. Its history is a history of man’s cognition of the world.
Language is a means of communication among individuals, peoples, past and future generations. That function of language was particularly enhanced with the appearance of writing. Since then, mankind’s social and labour experience, cognitive and aesthetic activity and achievements in the sphere of material and spiritual culture have been accumulated and recorded with particular effectiveness. In earlier days, the communicative function of language is the cognition and revolutionary transformation of the world has further increased as millions of people are being involved in the struggle for peace, international detente, democracy, progress, socialism and communism. That is due to closer economic, scientific, technical and cultural ties among nations to the natural course of the present-day scientific and technical revolution.
Language is not only an instrument of knowledge, but also an instrument of the world. That is why, apart from these functions and on their basis, it also performs the functions of expression and influence. Man is in various ways connected with natural and social processes and events, for these affect his interests and needs. That is why he always appraises these processes and events, adopting a definite emotional attitude to them. That emotional attitude, imprinted in language, embodies the function of expression.
In his speech man always to some extent consciously or unconsciously addresses either himself or other people. It always contains proposals, questions, tasks, complaints, requests, and orders etc. which in one way or another induce people to action. Such is the influence function.
All the functions of language are manifested in unity and interconnection with consciousness. Detached from consciousness, language is meaningless of nonexistent. In their interconnection, consciousness and language develop in the course of the society’s historical development.