Nearly all linguists have, explicitly orimplicitly, accepted a linguistic model inwhich semantics is at one end andphonetics at the other, with grammarsomewhere in the middle(though not necessarily thatthere are just these threelevels).
•Why is this view“model”plausible?Semantics Grammar Phonetics
They are all concernedessentially to exclude what ispurely individual and accidental(speaking or performance),and to insist that the proper studyof linguistics islanguage or competence.
How does Palmer differ from deSaussure and Chomsky? For de Saussure and Chomsky:language or competence is somekind of idealised system withoutany clear empirical basis Palmer prefers to think in termsof generalisations
What does this mean?Let’s take theexample of“phonetics” again.
The phonetician is notprimarily concerned with• the particular sounds•that are made at a particulartime• by a particular person.
What does a phonetician do?S/He studies the pronunciation ofwords.To do so, s/he(1) will listen to a number ofindividual utterances of the word,and(2) will make a generalisedstatement on the basis of these.
What happens at each timea person speaks is notusually of interest in itself;it is rather part of theevidence for thegeneralisations.
How does thisrelate to“semantics”The same must betrue of semantics.
Recall Lewis Carrollonce again(Through the Looking-Glass):
Humpty Dumpty said in arather scornful tone,When I use a word, itmeans what I choose it tomean - neither more norless.
Semantics is not normallyconcerned with themeaning any individualwishes to place on hiswords.
An individuals meaning isnot part of the generalstudy of semantics.
However, it is interesting orimportant for somepurposes to see how andwhy an individual divergesfrom the normal pattern.For example:(1) Literature(2) Psychiatric stdies.(3) Etc
An important noteWhat is the differencebetween:(1) a sentenceand(2) an utterance?
This is my bag.Is this a sentence oran utterance?
The distinction is as followsAn utterance is an eventin time:Produced by someone.At some particular time.
A sentence is(1) An abstract entity thathas no existence intime, but(2) It is part of the linguisticsystem of a language.
The distinction is related toCompetencePerformanceand