PPt Linguistics1

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PPt Linguistics1

  1. 1. An Introduction to Linguistics Lecture 1
  2. 2. Definition of Language • Sapir (1921:7) in Language: Language is a purely human and non-instinctive method of communicating ideas, emotions and desires by means of voluntarily produced symbols. • Mario Pei and Frank Gaynor (1954) in A Dictionary of Linguistics: Language is a system of communication by sound, i.e., through the organs of speech and hearing, among human beings of a certain group or community, using vocal symbols possessing arbitrary conventional meanings.
  3. 3. Definition of Language • Jack et al.(1985) in Longman Dictionary of Applied Linguistics: Language is the system of human communication by means of a structured arrangement of sounds (or their written representation) to form larger units, e.g. morphemes, words, sentences. • Hadumod Bussmann (1996) in Routledge Dictionary of Language and Linguistics: Language is a vehicle for the expression or exchange of thoughts, concepts, knowledge, and information as well as the fixing and transmission of experience and knowledge. It is based on cognitive processes, subject to societal factors and subject to historical change and development.
  4. 4. Features Language Is Systematic Language Is Symbolic Arbitrariness Language Is Primarily Vocal Language Is Human Specific Language Is Used for Communication
  5. 5. Language is Systematic • In natural verbal communication, people can learn and use a language consistently. This shows that language is systematic. • a system of sounds and a system of meanings. • In a language we can find agreed-upon sound-meaning relations and agreed-upon sequences.
  6. 6. Language is Symbolic • Signs are ubiquitous in human society. Signs can be categorized into three major types. • Icon • Index • symbol
  7. 7. • Icon: an object and its sign are related to each other by a physical resemblance. • Index: an object and its sign are associated to each other by physical proximity. • Symbol: a sign and the object it signifies are associated by social convention.
  8. 8. Arbitrariness • According to Saussure, the forms of linguistic signs bear no natural resemblance to their meaning. The link between them is a matter of convention.
  9. 9. Language is Primarily Vocal • • • The primary medium of language is sound. No matter how well developed are their writing systems, all languages use sounds. Writing systems are attempts to capture sounds and meanings on paper. Moreover, writing can influence speaking. • Which is the more important, speech or writing?
  10. 10. • a. Children learn to speak before they learn to read and write. • b. Children automatically learn a language as they grow up. • c. The spoken form came earlier than the written in human history. • d. Writing is based on speech. • e. People use spoken language more often than writing.
  11. 11. • Furthermore, writing can extend language beyond the limitation of time and space. • Most written language is more highly polished than speech.
  12. 12. Language is human specific • The claim that language is human specific implies that there are certain characteristics of human language that are not found in the communication systems of any other species. • Animals communicate in a limited way. • Animal communication is stimulus-bound while human language is not. • Experiments to teach animals more complicated systems have a history of failure.
  13. 13. • First, language can be used to refer to things far removed in time and space. • Second, humans have the ability to produce and understand an indefinite number of novel utterances. • Third, learning is much more important in human language than in animal communication. • Fourth, language is complex in its structure.
  14. 14. • Fifth, human languages are open-ended. • Finally, humans can perform acts with language.
  15. 15. Language is used for communication • Language allows us to talk about anything to each other within their realm of knowledge and express our communicative purposes.
  16. 16. Functions of Language • Language enables humans to do many things, thus serving different functions in the society. Finch (1998) lists seven general (micro) functions: • Physiological function • Phatic function • Recording function • Identifying function • Reasoning function • Communicating function • Pleasure function
  17. 17. • Physiological Function Language can help get rid of nervous or physical energy. our expression of fear and affection, our involuntary verbal reactions to beautiful things. • Phatic Function Language can serve the function of creating or maintaining social relationship between speakers.
  18. 18. • Recording Function Language allows us to record things we wish to remember. • Identifying Function Language also allows us to identify an enormous array of objects and events and make sense of the world around us.
  19. 19. • Reasoning Function Language can help us think. Language is a tool of thought. • Communicating Function Language is a means of communicating ideas and facts. Pleasure Function Language allows us to derive pleasure from it.
  20. 20. The Origin of Language • Many scholars have done a wide range of studies in the origin of language. • Some have looked at the problem of whether primitive man had the physiological capacity to speak.
  21. 21. • Some hold that with the development of the human society, man learned to use tools by hand and tools promoted the development of speech, because learning involved language.
  22. 22. • Various theories have been suggested with regards to the origin of language. The majority of these theories can be grouped under three broad categories. • creation (or divine origin) • evolutionary development • invention
  23. 23. Creation (or divine origin) • The divine origin theorists propose that in the beginning there was one language from one source, which later became corrupted into many languages.
  24. 24. Evolution • The evolutionary theory believes that language evolved as an adjunct to early communication (pointing, gesturing, grunting, imitation of animal sounds, etc.).
  25. 25. Invention • Invention theory sees the origin of language in the imitation of natural sounds. • They pointed to onomatopoetic words and suggested that these form the basis of language, or at least the core of the basic vocabulary. • It was out of the natural cries that man constructed words.
  26. 26. Language Families • Since the end of the 18th century, scholars have been comparing groups of languages to see whether there were any relationships between them. • Why have some languages in the world disappeared? • Usually, there are two main ways of classifying languages: • Genetic Classification • Typological Classification
  27. 27. Genetic Classification • This is a historical classification. • Languages have diverged from a common ancestor.
  28. 28. Typological Classification • a comparison of the formal similarities which exist between languages. • group languages into structural types on the basis of phonology, vocabulary, or grammar.
  29. 29. Language Families • According to Crystal (1987), there are at least 29 languages families in the world. AfroAsiatic AustroAsiatic EskimoAleut Japanese Algonquian Altaic Austronesian AztecTanoan Hokan Ge-PanoCarib Khoisan Na-Dené Niger-Congo Penutian Sino-Tibetan Korean NiloSaharan Thai AndeanEquatorial Caucasian Australian Aboriginal Dravidian IndoEuropean MacroChibchan OtoManguean Uralic Indo-Pacific Macro-Siouan Palaeosiberian
  30. 30. Linguistics • Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching & Applied Linguistics defines linguistics as the study of language as a system of human communication. • Chomsky defines linguistics as principally concerned with the universals of the human mind. He considers linguistics as a branch of cognitive psychology.
  31. 31. Linguistics • The study of language in the western world goes back many centuries to Greek and Roman antiquity and biblical times. • In the twentieth century, • speech sounds (phonetics and phonology)  grammar (morphology and syntax)  meaning (semantics)  the study of texts (discourse analysis). • Linguists have of course always been aware of the fact that in language all aspects are involved, namely, psychology, society, cognition.
  32. 32. Langue and parole One of Saussure’s central ideas Langue: the underlying system shared by all the speakers. Parole: the actual act of speaking
  33. 33. Prescriptive and descriptive • Prescriptivism prescribes rules. • Descriptive linguistics describes data observed. • Speech and Writing • Linguists regard speech as primary, not the written.
  34. 34. Synchronic and diachronic • One of Saussure’s ideas • The diachronic study: the study of the historical development of a language. • The synchronic study: the study of a particular state of a language at some point of time.
  35. 35. Syntagmatic and paradigmatic • One of Saussure’s ideas • Paradigmatic relation: contrasts which produce distinct and alternative terms. • Syntagmatic relation: the relations between units which combine to form sequences.
  36. 36. Competence and performance • This distinction was discussed by Chomsky (1965). • Competence: language ability, knowledge of the native language, grammaticality • Performance: actual language use
  37. 37. Form and Function • The functional approach centers on linguistic explanation based on language's function in context. • The formalist approach places a higher value on formal syntactic analysis.
  38. 38. Linguistic Inquiry • Several schools of thought have emerged round a few prominent linguists such as Firth, Halliday, Hjelmslev and Chomsky, major centers of linguistic study like Prague School, Geneva School, Copenhagen School, and leading concepts such as structuralism, functionalism, tagmemics, systemic functional grammar, transformational generative grammar, speech act theory.
  39. 39. Thank you for your attention

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