Fundamental concepts in linguistics


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Fundamental Concepts in Linguistics
1. Langue vs. Parole
2. Competence vs. Performance
3. Linguistic sign vs. Symbol
4. substance &Form
5. Structure & System
6. Syntagmatic and Paradigmatic Relationships
7. Diachronic & Synchronic Approaches

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Fundamental concepts in linguistics

  1. 1. Fundamental Conceptsin LinguisticsLecturer at Department of English Language & LiteratureUniversity of the Punjab , Lahore Pakistan
  2. 2. Aspects of LanguageLanguageLangue ParoleLanguage Language Performance
  3. 3. Langue• The following rules & conventions constitutelangue:– The combination of Sounds & Pronunciation(Phonetic, Phonology)– Formation of Words (Morphology)– Construction of Sentences (Syntax)– Contextual Meanings (Pragmatics)– Words Relationship (Semantics)
  4. 4. Grammatical SystemTo Saussure:• Language is a grammatical system– That exists in the brains of a group of individuals– In the form of word-image & knowledge ofconventions• Language exists perfectly– within a society/ collectivity– Not in any individual speaker
  5. 5. Product of Social Agreement• There is a similarity of:–Sounds–Words–Meaning–among the native speakers of a language• They have the same images and signs in theirminds–The social bond constitutes language
  6. 6. Parole•Parole belongs to the individual•It is the concrete physical manifestation• of the abstract langue•That exist in mind•An individual makes use of this knowledge•To produce actual sentence i.e. parole
  7. 7. Langue vs. ParoleLangue is Social•A set of conventions & rules– Shared by all thespeakers of a languageParole is Individual• Individual performanceof language– In speech or writing
  8. 8. Langue vs. ParoleLangue is Abstract•These conventions exist in theminds of the speakers– Who belong to thatsociety– That has created thelanguageParole is Concrete• It is physical, makes use ofthe physiologicalmechanism:– Speech organs– In uttering words andsentences
  9. 9. Langue vs. ParoleUnderlying system• Which makes the individualperformance (parole)meaningfulIf we hear unknown languageWe can’t understandAs we do not share the languePerformance• Sound and sentenceParole cant be a mean ofcommunication &understood without langue
  10. 10. Langue vs. ParoleLanguage System• Consist of stable:ConventionsRulesCodesLanguage Behaviour• Production of sentences :UnpredictableHeterogeneousWhimsical (capricious)Variable
  11. 11. Langue vs. ParoleLegislative side ofLanguage• Like law langue is relativelyfixedIt does not change witheach individual• Langue maintains:The social orderHomogeneity of thelanguageExecutive side ofLanguage• It uses the law or codethe language• It executes languethrough Individual actsof speaking and writing
  12. 12. Langue vs. ParoleLanguage can be studied• It is well defined• Homogenous object• It is in form of writtensymbolsSo, it can be studiedParole can not be studied• Unpredictable mass ofspeech act• It cannot be accuratelyrepresented• It is heterogeneousSo variable that cannotbe studied
  13. 13. Analogy of a Game of ChessRules are determinedUnderstood by all the playersBut each game is differentDepends on the individual performanceWhich differ from player to player
  14. 14. Unreal Dichotomies• Langue and Parole are interrelated notseparate– Speech has both an individual & social side– We cannot conceive of one without the other• Parole is not possible or effective withoutLangue• Langue also changes gradually under the effectof parole
  15. 15. Parole has Social Aspect• It is concerned with the language use in socialsituation– Has some systematic & predictable features insocial situations– It has effect on langue• Gives a useful insight into language process– Can obtain the data ,gives better understanding oflangue• It is now easy to study through recording– Audio, video devices
  16. 16. Competence vs. PerformanceSpeaker’s Knowledge• Native language (structure)• Mastery of the system ofrules– Is speaker’s linguisticcompetenceSpeaker’s Production• Production of actualsentences use in real-lifesituation• The way of usinglinguistic competence islinguistic performance
  17. 17. Competence vs. PerformanceSet of Code• Competence is set ofprincipals/code which aspeaker masters• The abstract/internalgrammar which enables aspeaker to utter &understand infinite numberof utterancesEncoding/Decoding• Performance is what aspeaker does• It is the act of encodingor decoding
  18. 18. Competence vs. PerformanceFree from Interference• Due to slips of memoryLapses of attentionEasy to study• It is ideal thus givescoherent picture of thelanguage• Can be studied easilyProne to Interference• It reflects many suchlapsesDifficult to study• It is difficult to get adirect coherent record ofperformance• Difficult to study
  19. 19. Langue vs. CompetenceSame & Social• It is same with everylanguage user• It has socialaspect/agreement/bondDifferent & Individual• Based on inbuilt LADenables a person:To acquirecompetenceTo internalize therules of the languageTo generate aninfinite number ofsentences• Speaker A may be morecompetent than BThough share thesame conventions oflanguage
  20. 20. Linguistic Sign• It is a physical marker –carries someinformation– Direct– Brief– Precise (only this not other)
  21. 21. Parts of Sign• The linguistic sign is consist of two parts:SignThe signifier The signifiedThe word The conceptwhich signifies The object
  22. 22. Word Represents Concept• Word does not represents the actual object inreal life– But the concept/image of the object we have in ourminds– If the word tree represents the real object (tree)– The word for this object in all languages wouldhave been the same• We see an object and form a concept of it inour minds
  23. 23. Word/Concept Relationship• We invent a word consisting of some sound-images– That represents the concept exists in mind• The relationship between the sounds/words and theconcept they signify– An arbitrary– No logical reason why we choose a certain word• To represent the concept• Since signs are arbitrary– They differ from language to language– Every society constructs its own concepts of the real world– Links these concepts to certain signifiers & signified(chosen arbitrarily)
  24. 24. Validity of Sign• This relationship once establish as social fact– Continues over a long period of time• Social agreement gives it validity
  25. 25. Relational Entity• Signs are the relational entities• Exist in terms of complex relationships to eachother• Signs make up the whole system of a language
  26. 26. Symbol• A kind of sign that signifies several concepts– on the basis of the primary relationship ofsignifier/signified• Thus the word “tree” signifies concept of tree(primary relationship) may also signify:– Life, growth etc becomes not only sign but also symbol• Symbol means more information e.g. waving one’shand– Symbolic of farewell– Dismissal etc.
  27. 27. Language QualityLanguage QualitySubstance FormRaw Material Particular OrderMeaningless Meaningful
  28. 28. SubstancePhonic GraphicPhonemes Morphemes Graphemessounds letters alphabets/k/ /b/ /t/ -tion, -able, -co. A, d, c, h
  29. 29. Form• All distinct sounds &written scripts are the substanceof a language– It is meaningless (only noisy)– Required some form to become meaningful• When sounds, letters, words are arranged in a certainway i.e.– We can see some meaning in them– It becomes form of a language• It is just like a shapeless log of wood– The carpenter makes a chair / table out of it– He changes substance into form
  30. 30. Saussure’s TermLanguage QualitySubstance FormSignifier SignifiedMere sound/words Meaningful/ Concept
  31. 31. Specific Arrangement makes Form• Sounds when arranged in particular order– Signify something meaningful• Words when arranged in a particular order– Express some meaningful idea/action• The arrangement itself gives form to thesubstance of the language
  32. 32. Levels of FormFormExpression ContentShape/form of Elements Level of MeaningsRegardless of Meanings Grammar &SemanticsThe bachelor gave birth to a baby
  33. 33. Linguistic StudyTo sum up we say:• Substance is element/ raw material of language• Form is the associative order– In which elements are brought together in ameaningful way• So, form is the concern of linguistic study, notsubstance• Form makes it study substance
  34. 34. LanguageStructured System of SystemsElements are inter-related A System(At each level of its structure)Phonological Morphological SyntacticSounds words word-classesElements of sounds/words/class are inter-related
  35. 35. Structure• An ordered composition of manyelements/parts– Each part being related to the whole– Also related to other elements within it• Inter-relationship of elements constituteSYSTEM– Within each system, elements are selected &combined to build up structure
  36. 36. The Phonological System: Word Structure– To build up a word such as “TAKE”1. We will select some soundsOut of several possible sounds2. We combine them in a particular orderdecide which one is to occur 1st, which later
  37. 37. Structure: Process of SelectionCertain rules operate:• We can select only one element from a class ofsimilar elements– A particular consonant from same class– A noun from a class of nouns• /k/ /b/ /t/ all are consonants
  38. 38. Structure: Process of CombinationCertain rules operate:• We combine the chosen elements in aparticular order• We can combine:– /t/ + /eI/ + /k/ but not /eI/ + /t/• These elements are combined in a particularsequence
  39. 39. Language Structure : Orchestra• The member of an orchestraare all related to each otheras a whole– By their specific roles• Smaller groups (violinists, bassplayer) perform their functionin relation to other• Players cannot be added ortaken away withoutchanging its quality
  40. 40. Structure Constitute System• Structure: an order composition of many partsOrder Composition ofmany partsBrassWoodwindsViolinHarpSpringsCelloPianoDrumFlute
  41. 41. Elements’ RelationshipsRelationshipParadigmatic Syntagmatic
  42. 42. Paradigmatic Relationship• The relationship between those elements which are similar asbelong to same class/category is PR– Which holds between several elements of same class withina system• Elements can be replaced by another elements within the samesystem and classThe phonological system The syntactic systemThe relationship between The relationshipPlosive Consonants between nouns
  43. 43. Syntagmatic Relationship• The particular sequence between elements issyntagmatic relationship• In syntagmatic relationship, the elements haveto be combined in the proper sequence• We cannot violate the sequential order
  44. 44. Significance of these Relationships• These relationships are like two intersectingthreads– That build up the fabric of language• On the basis of these relationships, the rules ofselection & combination operate and constitutesthe structure of a language• Language has duality of structure– Selection of elements at one level– Combination of these elements at another level– To form a structure unit• Limited number of elements can construct largenumber of combinations
  45. 45. Variation & Flexibility• Both selection (paradigmatic) & combination(syntagmatic) processes unable us to constructdifferent sentences
  46. 46. TO SUM UPSystem Set of Paradigmatic R (in elements)Structure set of Syntagmatic R (each level)Phonological System Phonological StructureVowels/ Consonants Combination of itSyntactic System Syntactic StructureWord-classes Combination of itSound LevelSentence Formation
  47. 47. Language StudySynchronic Diachronic (traces)Chronos Historical development RecordsTime Language ChangesLanguage at particular time in betweensuccessive pointin time(as a living whole/ state)
  48. 48. Synchronic Approach• This state of language is:– Accumulation of all the linguistic activities oflanguage community
  49. 49. Irrelevant time FactorTo study language linguists:• Collect samples of language as it exists• Describe it regardless of any historicalconsiderations– Which may have influenced the language at anyprevious time– Once linguists have isolated a focal point forsynchronic description– The time factor becomes irrelevant
  50. 50. Main Focus of Study• The system of language– as it exists i.e.:• The system of inter-relationships– that bind together co-existing items– in the collective mind of the community
  51. 51. Diachronic ApproachEquivalent to historical:• It investigates language changes– as they have occurred from time to time• The evolution of languages
  52. 52. Inter-relationship of Synchronic & Diachronic• CD is synchronic axis (static)– All the facts of language co-exist at aparticular time• AB is diachronic axis of successions– AB is an imaginary line moving throughtime– The historical path through whichlanguage has travelled & will continuetravelling• CD can intersect AB at any point– because at any given time there will be anumber of facts about language co-existing• X is the point on AB– where the particular point in time can beisolated– and the language can be described at thatpoint as it exists
  53. 53. Synchronic Approach is Prior• Saussure make this distinction• Gives priority in linguistics to the synchronicapproach• He explained this priority by analogy with thegame of chess
  54. 54. Analogy of the Game of Chess• Chessboard constantlychanges with each move• During the game at anymoment a 3rd person canunderstand the state of gameby looking at the position ofpieces• Regardless what kind ofmoves & how many moveshave been made beforearriving at this stage• The game can be describedwithout reference to the earliermoves
  55. 55. Analogy of the Game of ChessGame Rules• Which are determinedbefore the game– Continue to operate witheach moveLanguage Rules• Similarly rules exist inlanguage too
  56. 56. Analogy of the Game of ChessValue of Pieces•Depends on their position onthe chess boardValue of Linguistic Term• Derives its value from itsopposition to all the otherterms
  57. 57. Analogy of the Game of ChessChanges in Game• To pass from one stageto the next• Only one piece needs tobe moved at a time• Succession of movescan change the outcomeof the gameChanges in Language• In language changeeffects only isolatedelements• Not the whole language• These changes ultimatelydo result in changing thelanguage
  58. 58. Conclusion• Language can & should be describedsynchronically• On its own terms without reference to what ithas developed from or what it is likely todevelop into• However, this does not mean thatdiachronic/historical study cannot be done• To Saussure ,though the diachronic perspectiveis not related to the language system• It does affect/condition the system