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An Introduction to Linguistics «?????» by Hu Yining


An Introduction to Linguistics by Hu Yining About the course Linguistics is a university course for English majors in their 3rd or 4th year and ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: An Introduction to Linguistics «?????» by Hu Yining

An Introduction
to Linguistics
????? by Hu
  • About the course
  • Linguistics is a university course for English
    majors in their 3rd or 4th year and it involves
    many fields of research (e.g. psychology,
    sociology, philosophy), so its not surprising if
    you find it difficult at the beginning.
  • Its a must for language students to learn
    something about linguistics and very important
    for those who want to do further study after
  • The course will be given mainly in English, but
    in Chinese when necessary.

  • A few requests
  • Attend the course regularly since its a
    compulsory course .
  • Not an optional one. No absence from class
    without reasonable reasons.
  • Take notes, remember the terminal words and
    facts, and do the revision.
  • Continuous assessment will be given for the
    course, so fulfill all the assignments
    satisfactorily including the Further Reading
    part at the back of the textbook (P.275-298).

  • A list of reference books
  • 1.????? (???), ???, ????????
  • 2.????? ???, ??????????
  • 3.?????????(???)???, ??????????
  • 4.???????? ???,??????????
  • 5.?????????(???)????, ?????????
  • 6.????????? ???,?????????
  • 7.??? H.G.Widdowson, ?????????
  • 8.?????(???) Stuart C. Poole ????? ?????

  • Chapter 1
  • Language and Linguistics
  • The Nature of Language (P.1P.13)
  • What is language?
  • As human beings, we can feel the existence of
    language everywhere. However, very few of us know
    the true nature of language. There is remarkable
    uncertainty as how language really functions in
    human communication. Great efforts have been made
    to define the nature of language from different
    points of view (See the 4 ones on P.1).

  • Some additional ones
  • Language is the most frequently used and most
    highly developed form of human communication we
  • -- David
  • ????????????????,?????????,????????,?????????????

  • -- ???

  • Unfortunately, a perfect and satisfactory
    definition has yet to come.
  • Despite the differences in their views, many
    linguists have agreed to accept the view that
    Language is, in essence, a system of symbols
    designed for the purpose of human communication.
  • (??????,?????????????????????).
  • They have come to a general agreement about the
    following important features that are typical of
    the nature of human languages.

  • The defining properties of human language
  • Design features(????) The possession of
    language most clearly distinguishes man from
    other animals.
  • Human language has five features
  • 1. Creativity(???)-We all have the ability to
  • construct and understand an indefinitely
    large number of sentences in our native
    languages. (????????????,?????????????????????????

  • 2. Arbitrariness(???)-- Except the
  • very few onomatopoeic words (e.g.
  • cuckoo, mew, bang, ding-dong, ping-pang),
  • there is no necessary relationship
  • between the sign/sound and what the
  • sign/sound means (e.g. a dog, un chien,
  • ? )(??????????,?????
  • ??????????????????
  • ??????????????????.)

  • 3. Duality of structure (or double
  • This property is usually claimed to be unique to
    humans. Each human language is organized into two
    basic systems a system of sounds and a system of
  • Higher level - Language is a combination of
    meaningful units (such as morphemes, words).
  • Lower level -- Language is a sequence of segments
    which lack any meaning in themselves, but which
    combine to form units of meaning (such as
    letters, phonetic symbols.)

  • ( Why is duality regarded as an important
    feature of human language?
  • Because i. A far greater number of messages
  • can be sent
  • ii. No animal communication
    possesses it. )
  • 4. Displacement(???????) -- Human language can
    cope with any subject what ever, and it does not
    matter how far away the topic is in time and
    space. (???????????????????????????????).

  • 5.Cultural transmission (??????/???????)
  • -- The details of the linguistic system must
  • be learned anew from the beginning by each
  • speaker. Without the environment of language
  • and communication, language cant be acquired
  • (???????,??????? ??????
  • ??,??????,????????).

  • 1.1.1 Language Is Systematic (P.2)
  • --- This property is usually claimed to be unique
    to humans. Each human language is organized into
    two basic systems a system of sounds and a
    system of meanings. This is called the duality of
  • --- Human language operated on two levels of
    structure. At one level, elements have no meaning
    themselves. They have meaning when combined to
    form units at another level.
  • --- In the meaning system, these units of meaning
    can be arranged in an infinitive number of ways
    to express both simple and complicated ideas.

  • A language offers its speaker the opportunity to
    talk about anything. The number of words in a
    language is relatively finite but their possible
    combination can be infinite.
  • The syntax of a language may deal with the
    ordering of words, which actually is the rules
    for the formation of sentences and parts of
    sentences such as phrases and clauses.
  • (Have a look at the exercises at the back of this
    part on P. 3.)

  • 1.1.2 Language Is Symbolic (P.3-5)
  • People use signs to communicate, which means
    that language involves signs.
  • The way in which people communicate through signs
    and images, or the study of it is referred to as
    semiology or semiotics.
  • Roland Barthes and others extend semiology to
    include complex cultural forms of communication
    such as painting, music, films, theatre, dance,
    clothing, advertising, architecture, literature,
    and even food.

  • Traditionally, signs are divided into natural
    signs and conventional signs. According to
    Traugott Pratt, signs can be categorized into 3
    major types
  • (1) Icon (????)---When an object and its sign are
    related by a physical resemblance, we say the
    sign is an icon (???,????,????).
  • (2) Index(????)---When an object and its sign are
    associated to each other by physical proximity,
    we call the sign an index (?????????,????????).
  • (3) Symbol (????)---When a sign and the object it
    signifies are associated by social convention,
    the sign is called a symbol (????,????,??,??,????

  • One has to learn symbolic signs as part of the
    culture. Accordingly, language belongs to this
    type of signs. Language is mainly symbolic.
  • Words are associated with objects, actions, and
    ideas by social convention.
  • The symbolic nature of language is more important
    and complicated than any other types of signs,
    and more embracing and representative of all the
    features of all signs.
  • Without the symbolic signs of language, we can
    not talk about anything as we like.

  • In todays multimedia world, there are many
    instances of meaning being expressed by different
    types of signs working together. Typical examples
    can be found in commercial advertisements on TV
  • (Have a look at the exercises at the back of this
    part on P. 5.)

  • 1.1.3 Language Is Arbitrary (P. 6-7)
  • The forms of linguistic signs bear no natural
    resemblance to their meaning. The link between
    them is a matter of convention, and conventions
    differ radically across languages.
  • Arbitrariness does not imply that the choice of
    the signifier is left entirely to the speaker.
    The individual does not have the power to change
    a sign in any way once it has become established
    in the linguistic community.

  • The understanding of arbitrariness is not easy.
    Words are arbitrary in form, but they are not
    random in their use. One thing we should note
    that although the link between form and meaning
    is arbitrary, there exists certain relationship
    between them.
  • (Have a look at the exercises at the back of
    this part on
  • P. 7.)

  • 1.1.4 Language Is Primarily Vocal (P. 7)
  • The relationship between writing and speaking
  • 1. The primary medium of language is sound.
    No matter how well developed are their writing
    systems, all languages use sounds.
  • 2. Writing is based on speaking. Writing
    systems are attempts to capture sounds and
    meanings on paper. Writing can influence speaking

  • Why do we say that language is primarily
  • Because
  • 1) Children learn to speak before they learn to
    read and write
  • 2) Children automatically learn a language as
    they grow up. There is normally no tutoring, but
    with writing, the learning process is different.
    The development of reading proficiency depends to
    a great degree upon the pedagogical skills or
  • 3) The spoken form came earlier than the written
  • human history. The written form of any
  • is always much more recent than the spoken.

  • 4) Writing is based on speech. Writing system
    represents some levels of the spoken language,
    such as distinct words, syllables, or sounds.
  • 5) People use spoken language more often than
    writing. People use the spoken form more
    frequently than writing as a basic form of
    verbal communication.
  • (Have a look at the exercises at the back of this
    part on P. 10.)

  • 1.1.5 Language Is Human Specific (P. 10.)
  • There are certain characteristics of human
    language that are not found in the communication
    system of any other species.
  • Attempts to teach animals more complicated
    systems have ended in failure.
  • Human children can acquire language with ease,
    and without intensive and directed instruction.
    Yet, animals lack the capacity to learn. They do
    not have the mental capacity to be
    communicatively creative.

  • The differences between human language and animal
  • Language has the ability to refer to things far
    removed in time and space.
  • Humans have the ability to produce and understand
    an indefinite number of novel utterances
    (creativity/openness/productivity). No animal can
    communicate creatively with another animal.
  • Learning is much more important as a factor in
    human language than in animal communication.
    Human languages have very much in common, but
    they differ from one another on many specific

  • Language is complex in its structure. Human
    language structure and language use are vastly
    more complex than any known animal communication
  • Animal communication systems are closed, whereas
    human languages are open-ended. People can talk
    about anything they can observe or imagine.
  • Humans can perform acts with language just as
    they can with objects of different kinds.
  • (Have a look at the exercises at the back of this
    part on P. 12.)

  • 1.1.6. Language Is Used for Communication
  • Language is used for communication. Language is
    the result of our communication needs. Its
    attractiveness comes from its social utility.
  • Human beings communicate in ways different from
    those used by any species. Through language we
    can do things animals can not do.
  • It is by the use of language that we can transmit
    our social heritage from one generation to the

  • Two-way communication occurs frequently when the
    sending and receiving functions are performed
    with equal frequency by two or more persons.
  • With the growth in foreign travel, the migration
    of people to other countries, and expansion of
    international trade, there has been an increase
    in intercultural communication across national
    and ethnic borders.
  • (Discuss the exercises at the back of this part
    on P. 13.)

  • 1.2 The Functions of Language (P.1420)
  • The term communication can be used to cover most
    of the function of language. But the function of
    language is varied, in terms of using the
    language to chat, to think, to buy and sell, to
    read and write, to greet people, etc.
  • Language functions in our society as a principal
    means of communication. It also functions as
    social control. It is not only a psychological
    phenomenon, but also a social fact.

  • Language is not a self-contained system, but
    entirely dependent on the society in which it is
    used. We must study meaning with reference to an
    analysis of the functions of language in any
    given culture.
  • Malinowski distinguishes three major functions of
  • language
  • the pragmatic(???,???) function language as a
    form of action
  • the magical function language as a means of
    control over environment

  • the phatic(???,???) functionlanguage as a means
    to help establish and maintain social relations.
  • We can categorize the functions of language into
    general functions and metafunctions (???,????).
    General functions refer to the particular
    individual uses of language while metafunctions
    refer to the larger, more general purposes
    underlying language use.

  • 1.2.1 General Functions of Language
  • Language enables humans to do many things, thus
    serving different functions in the society.
  • Finch lists the following 7 general functions of
  • Physiological Function (????-???????)
  • Language can help get rid of nervous or physical
    energy. This function is also known as the
    emotive or expressive function of language.

  • There are many emotive utterances in our daily
    life which serve no communicative purpose but
    allow us to release inner feelings (e.g. Shoot!
  • A great deal of what we say when angry is simply
    to relieve our physical and nervous energy caused
    by emotional distress (e.g. bad language, swear
    words, obscenities, and taboos).

  • Phatic Function (????,????)
  • Language can serve the function of creating or
  • maintaining social relationship between
  • We often use language simply to express our
  • willingness to be sociable. No factual content
  • involved (Different ways of greetings in
  • countries). They are just conversation-fillers.

  • In this sense, language can act as a form of
    social bonding that links people together.
    Failure to observe these social courtesies can
    cause considerable embarrassment and even bad
  • Cultures vary greatly in the topics which they
    permit as phatic communication (e.g. Lovely day,
    isnt it? ?????)
  • The phatic use of language is mainly spoken but
    there are some written equivalents (e.g. Dear
    Sir/Madam, Yours faithfully) .

  • Recording Function (????-???????)
  • Language allows us to record things we wish to
    remember. It might be a short-term shopping list
    or a long-term diary or history of some kind.
  • This function of language is represented by all
    kinds of record-keeping, such as historical
    records, geographical surveys, business accounts,
    and data banks.

  • Without language, it would be impossible for us
    to trace the history of humans and modern
    commercial life would be impossible.
  • This function is the most important function
    behind the development of language from being an
    oral medium to becoming a written one.

  • Identifying Function (????--???? ??)
  • Language also allows us to identify, with
    considerable precise, an enormous array of
    objects and events.
  • Without language, it would be very difficult to
    make sense of the world around us. Because we
    know the names of things, we can refer to them
    quickly and accurately in good order.

  • Names are made up and essentially arbitrary. To
    call a table a chair would not change the reality
    of the thing.
  • Words do not exist in isolation but are part of
    the social network.
  • Reasoning Function (???????)
  • Much of our thinking is done with words or, to be
    more exact, in words. So, language is commonly
    regarded as a tool of thoughts.

  • When we have ideas forming in our minds, we need
    to find the appropriate words to express these
  • Our ideas are coded in language. Although the
    relationship between language and the mind is
    complicated, speaking and writing are forms of
    thoughts. This is why most people feel that they
    have not really understood something until they
    have been able to express it in language. (How
    about ????,?????)

  • A problem is that the meaning of many words are
    not stable and as a consequence it is difficult
    to think with any precision. Words mean different
    things to different people and may have different
    connotations (e.g. Monday morning, ???,???).
  • In recent years, however, a number of studies
    have shown that not everything in our mental life
    depends on language.

  • Communicating Function (????)
  • As we have seen in the previous section, language
    is a means of communicating ideas and facts.
  • In human society, people need to understand and
    be understood, to have their feelings and ideas
    recognized and acknowledged.

  • We use language to express ourselves to others.
    We also need language in order to understand what
    others are communicating to us.
  • We use language for requesting, ordering,
    promising, asking for permission, and so on (e.g.
    All the Dialogue 2. parts in A New English
    Coursefunctional English).

  • All human achievements are closely related to
    successful acts of communication. Language is the
    most developed and most subtle way to perform
    communication acts, and it is the natural
    inheritance of humans.

  • Pleasure Function (????)
  • Language allows us to derive pleasure from it. A
    large part of the pleasure we derive from
    language comes from the successful exploitation
    of linguistic novelty at different levels of the
  • Advertisers (cross-talking) exploit this capacity
    just as much as poets and novelists.

  • At the simplest level there is the enjoyment of
    sound itself and the melody of certain
    combination of sounds (e.g. No Sun, no fun!
    ?????? ?!??????????).
  • Most poetry exploit this function (onomatopoeia,
    alliteration??, and assonance??).

  • Examples
  • Onomatopoeia
  • The stream is murmuring through the
  • Jane started giggling.
  • The door crashed open.
  • Heavy rain drops began pitter-pattering
  • the tent.
  • I eat what I can, I can what I cant.
  • Alliteration Promise, Problem, and Provision.
  • Presentation, Practice and
  • World-wide web.

  • Assonance fair and square near and dear
  • The rain in Spain stays mainly in plains.
  • At the syntactical level, we can gain pleasure
    from rearrangement by inversion or ellipsis of
    normal phrases or clauses order and from the
    conversion of words from one class to another.
    These changes play against our normal expectation
    from language and create a sense of novelty.

  • Examples
  • Inversion Up goes the prices of daily
    necessities, and down come the living conditions
    of people.
  • Ellipsis Got troubles?
  • I came, I saw, I conqured.

  • At the level of meaning, most creative uses of
    language provide considerable pleasure through
    the generation of puns(??), paradoxes(?????,??),
    ambiguities(????,??), and metaphors. With these
    the oddness is not necessarily syntactic but lies
    in the capacity of the language to generate a
    plurality(???????) of possible meanings.

  • Examples
  • Pun
  • No sun, no fun!
  • Try our sweet corn and youll smile from ear
  • to ear.
  • ---Fourth floor! shouted a passenger in the
  • ---Hear you are, son.
  • ---How dare you call me son ?
  • ---Sir, I called, or whatever. Ive brought you
  • up, anyway.

  • Paradox More haste, less speed.
  • Its a paradox that in such a
    rich country
  • there can be so much poverty.
  • ?????,?????
  • ???????,???????
  • ?,?????
  • ??????!
  • Ambiguity ????,????
  • ???,????
  • ?????

  • Metaphor
  • The sunshine of her smile wormed everybody
  • Its been a hard few months, but were finally
    beginning to see the light at the end of the
  • ?????
  • ????????
  • ????????
  • ?????

  • This is not an exhaustive list and we may well
    have thought of other functions.
  • It is important to bear in mind that a specific
    use of language may fulfill more than one
  • The more functions something fulfills, the more
    complex it usually is.
  • (Have a look at the exercises on P. 18.)
  • Look at the following examples of metaphor.

Every pawn (soldier) has its uses, but without
the chess board, it can only be a pawn.
I may not be a trump card, but Im definitely a
good card.
I am this bowl of tea (big-bowl tea). Which
looks plain but has a long lasting taste. I am
the pure bred (the hidden talent) are you the
one to discover me?
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  • 1.2.2 Metafunctions of Language
  • (??????/?? ??) (P.1820)
  • A metafunction is one which is capable of
    describing one or more other functions.
  • People do different things with language. They
    intend to achieve different aims and different
    purposes by talking, writing, listening and

  • Language is a system of signs developed to
    express social meanings. Function can be regarded
    as the use of language and be interpreted as a
    fundamental property of language.
  • According to Halliday, language has to have an
    ideational function, an interpersonal function,
    and a textual function.

  • Ideational Function (????)
  • We are using language as a symbolic code to
    represent the world around us. The ideational
    function, then, is the content of language and
    allows us to conceptualize the world for our own
    benefit and that of others.
  • Through this function, the language encodes the
    cultural experience and the speaker encodes his
    or her own individual experience of the things of
    the world and his or her own consciousness.

  • The ideational function is divided into
    experiential function and logical function. In a
    sense we bring the world into being
  • Interpersonal Function (????)
  • According to Halliday, the interpersonal
    component represents the speakers meaning
    potential as an intruder.

  • It is through language that the speaker intrudes
    himself or herself into the context of situation.
    He or she expresses his or her own attitudes and
    judgments and seeks to influence the attitudes
    and behavior of others.
  • The interpersonal function expresses the role
    relationships associated with the situation.

  • We gain much of our sense of identity, of who and
    what we are, from our relationships both with
    animate and inanimate things, and language is an
    essential part of that personalizing process.
  • Textual Function (????)
  • Language has the function which enables the other
    two functions to operate, namely, the function
    which represents the speakers text-forming

  • This function relates our abilities to construct
    texts out of our utterances and writings.
    Halliday calls it the textual function. We can
    see it as using language to bring texts into
  • This function expresses the relation of language
    to the verbal and nonverbal situational

  • These terms are interpreted as functional
    components of the semantics system. They are
    present in every use of language in every social
    context. A text is a product of all three. The
    three metafunctions of language are closely
    related to context and realized in the
    lexico-grammar of language.

  • They are interwoven in discourse. According to
    Halliday, every sentence in a context is
    multifunctional and has three metafunctions
    simultaneously. This is the essential nature of a
    functional theory.
  • (A quick look at the 2 questions on P. 20.)

  • Assignment
  • Collect and write down as many as possible the
  • 1. The 3 kinds of signs icon, index, symbol.
  • 2. The pleasure function of language at the three
    levels sound, syntax, and meaning.

  • 1.3 The Origin and Classification of Language
  • Mans interest in his own origin and his own
    nature has resulted in many theories on the
    origin of language.
  • A study of the history of languages show that
    many languages develop from a single one.

  • Many scientists today believe that man arose in
    many different places of the world. If this is
    the case, there were many proto-languages (????),
    from which the modern language families
  • 1.3.1 The Origin of Language
  • Biologists, anthropologists (????),
    psychologists, neurologists(????), and linguists
    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.
  • The reports show that the human vocal tract (??)
    evolved from a non-human primate form to
    facilitate efficient communication.

  • Some hold that learning to use tools and learning
    language are interrelated skills.
  • 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.

  • 1.3.2 Language Families
  • The role of intercultural contact is a real
    problem in studying many language families.
  • Both types of classification ignore the relevance
    of cultural links between languages.
  • With the passage of time and the development of
    intercultural communication, languages influence
    each other by contact and may borrow words from
    each other.

  • Sometimes languages that have no
    historical relationship can converge so that they
    seem to be members of the same family.
  • Thus, it is often very difficult to decide
    whether two languages look similar because they
    share a common origin, or because they have
    borrowed from each other.

  • However, many achievements have been made in the
    classification of languages.
  • According to Crystal (1987), there are at
  • least 29 languages families in the world.

  • 1.4 What is Linguistics?
  • Linguistics is the science of language and is
    usually defined as the systematic study of
    language or, as a discipline that describes all
    aspects of language and formulate theories as to
    how language works.
  • Linguistics is the study of language as a system
    of human communication.
  • Linguistics is principally concerned with the
    universals of the human mind.

  • For many scholars, the main purpose of
    linguistics is to develop a general theory of
    language and theories on aspects of language.
  • The primary goal of linguistics is to explain not
    only how meanings are construed but also how they
    maintain a systematic relation to the already
    linguistically construed socially defined world.

  • Tasks of Linguistics
  • As a science, linguistics demands a rational and
    scientific outlook on language. It takes an
    objective view of language and all linguistic
  • Linguists study language and reflect on it in a
    detached and unbiased way. They make no value
    judgments about languages.

  • Linguistics formulates explanations of the
    phenomena of language, and also observes and
    analyses data found in natural language according
    to the general principles of empirical
    (????)research procedures.
  • Linguistics will find out the common features of
    all languages, the range of variations among
    languages, the difference of human languages
    from animal communication.

  • Linguistics will also find out the evolution of
    language, the analysis of unwritten languages,
    the change of languages, the relation of
    language to the society.
  • Linguistics starts from such simple concepts such
    as speech sound, word, sentence, meaning, and
    text. These features each correspond roughly to
    the major areas of linguistic investigation and
    each is presented in one or the other of the
    branches of linguistics.

  • 1.4.2 Some Important Distinctions in
  • Linguistics
  • Langue and Parole (?????)
  • Langue the linguistic system itself the
    abstract system something which differs human
    beings from animals. (???????????????)
  • Parole the particular actualities of individual
    utterances the use of the language in
    utterances. (????????????????????)

  • ????????,???????,???????????????????,?????
  • You language is dirty. ???? Your parole is
  • ??,?????I hate English. Its a racialist
    language. ???????????????,??????????(parole)
  • Language is systematic, but parole is not.
    ???50????????(langue) ???????,??????????

  • e.g. Tom, donkey! ?????????????????????????
  • Tom, ?????!
  • Tom, ???????!
  • Tom, ????!
  • Prescriptive and Descriptive
  • (?????????)
  • Prescriptive
  • Prescribes rules of what is correct
  • The duty of grammarians, schoolmasters, and
    dictionary makers is to maintain some absolute
    standards of correctness

  • Any deviations from the rules are said to be
    incorrect or nonstandard
  • So, the prescriptive approach relies heavily on
    rules of grammar.
  • Descriptive
  • Claims that the linguists first task is to
    describe the way people actually speak and write
    their language, not to prescribe how they ought
    to speak or write

  • Describes data observed. They are interested in
    what is said, not what they think ought to be
  • They are observers and recorders, not judges.
  • The job of the linguist is to observe what
    language is and to explain why it is so. It is
    not his function to improve the language

  • From the linguists point of view, a language is
    what the speakers do and not what someone thinks
    they ought to do.
  • In distinguishing description and prescription,
    the linguist is not saying that there is no place
    for prescriptive studies of language. The
    linguist is merely asserting that language is
    used for many purposes.

  • Synchronic and Diachronic (?????)
  • In linguistic study, we can either look at a
    grammar at one particular point of time or study
    its development over a number of years.
  • Synchronic linguistics
  • The synchronic study of language referring to
    the description of a language at a single point
    of time.

  • The analysis of language at a single point in
    time and the knowledge of how a system works at
    any one time .
  • The priority of synchronic description is a
    characteristic of most the 20th century
    linguistic theories.

  • We rarely know very much about the historical
    development of our language. Yet, when children
    are learning the language, they come to speak it
    according to certain systematic rules.
  • It is necessary for the synchronic description to
    find out these systematic rules as they operate
    in a language at a particular time.

  • Diachronic linguistics
  • The diachronic study of language refers to the
    description of the historical development of a
  • A diachronic study of the Chinese language might
    look at its development from the time of our
    earliest records to the present day.

  • Linguistic study in the 19th century was
    primarily concerned with diachronic description.
    The dominant approach to any scientific study of
    language was historical.
  • Speech and Writing
  • Modern linguists regard the spoken language as
    primary, not the written.

  • In the past, because it was difficult to cope
    with fleeting utterances before the sound
    recording, grammarians and the traditional
    classical education overstressed the importance
    of the written word.
  • The belief in the superiority of the written
    word has continued for over two millennia.
  • It was assumed that spoken language was inferior
    to and in some sense dependent upon the standard
    written language.

  • Modern linguistics look first at the spoken word
    and regard spoken and written forms as belongings
    to different, though overlapping systems, which
    must be analyzed separately the spoken first,
    then the written.
  • Written language has a life of its own. Speech
    has the restriction of both time and space.

  • Writing overcomes this drawback of speech. People
    can send words to a remote place or keep the
    necessary records of a long time by using written
    language, which broadens the communication effect
    to a large extent in our social life.
  • Without writing, human progress would be
    extremely slow. There would be no efficient
    medium for spreading the knowledge.

  • According to Halliday (1985), the spoken language
    is no less structured and highly organized than
    the written.
  • The spoken medium displays certain properties of
    organization and is appropriate to certain
  • Speech can be produced very quickly, make rapid
    adjustments in the light of the changing context,
    and express subtle nuances (????)of interpersonal

  • Syntagmatic and Paradigmatic
  • (?????????)
  • (?)
  • Competence and Performance
  • (?????????/??)
  • Similar to Saussures distinction between langue
    and parole is the distinction between competence
    and performance, which was proposed by the
    American linguist N. Chomsky in the late 1950s.

  • The ability of human beings to produce and
    comprehend an indefinite number of novel
  • Anyone who knows a language has internalized a
    set of rules about the sequences permitted in his
    language. This internalized set of rules are
    termed as a persons competence by Chomsky.
  • Competence 1. What people should know about the
    language 2. Their ability to form new sentences
    3. their ability to tell grammatical sentences
    from ungrammatical ones.

  • Competence refers to the knowledge that native
    speakers have of their language as system of
    abstract formal relations, or, in another word,
    the rules of his language.
  • ??????????????????????????????????

  • Performance refers to what we do when we speak or
    listen, that is, the infinite varied individual
    acts of verbal behavior with their
    irregularities, inconsistencies, and errors (the
    actual realization of his knowledge of the
    language in linguistic communication).
  • Any actual utterances a speaker makes in a
    particular situation.
  • ???????????????????--??????

  • Chomsky sees the linguists task as primarily
    describing competence, the knowledge of language,
    or the underlying system of rules that has been
    mastered by the speaker-hearer because
    performance is impossible without competence.
  • According to Chomsky, a speaker has internalized
    a set of rules about his language, this enables
    him to produce and understand an infinite large
    number of sentences and recognize sentences that
    are ungrammatical and ambiguous.

  • Widdowson(1996) Competence is presented as the
    central principle of language itself. To focus on
    competence is to focus on what is essential and
  • Hymes proposed the idea of communicative
    competence in 1972.
  • Hymes argues that the speaker-listener can not
    live in a completely homogeneous speech

  • Social life will inevitably impose an influence
    upon both his outward performance and inner
    competence, since speaker-hearer possesses the
    overall underlying knowledge and ability for
    language use.
  • Thus, he proposes communicative competence to
    include both linguistic knowledge and ability for
    language use. In other words, he associates his
    communicative competence with both Chomskys
    grammatical competence and performance.

  • People insisted on following language used by the
    best authors of classical times.
  • Spoken language was regarded as formless and
    featureless. The sentences are brief and contain
    many mistakes, hesitations and silences.
  • However, as we mentioned previously, language is
    primarily vocal. No community has a written form
    only, though many have a spoken language only.
  • Then certain linguists began to doubt the
    priority of writing.

  • Functionalism and Formalism
  • The functional approach centers on linguistic
    explanation based on languages function in a
    larger context.
  • The formalist approach insists on a sharp
    division between synchrony and diachrony and
    between competence and performance.
  • The two approaches are different and have a
    number of directly conflicting claims, ranging
    from general philosophical and methodological
    principles to the particular analysis of specific
    linguistic phenomena.

  • 1.5 The Scope of Linguistics
  • Linguistics covers a wide range of topics and its
    boundaries are difficult to define. Its scope is
    getting broader and broader.
  • In linguistics, both internal and external
    factors related to language are explored, and
    units larger than the sentence are taken into

  • Generally speaking, the research of linguistics
  • Is like this
  • The research scope (range) of linguistics
  • 1. phonetics (???) 2. lexicology (???)
  • 3. grammar (???) 4. rhetoric (???)
  • The research angles of linguistics
  • 1.general linguistics (?????)
  • 2. historical linguistics (?????)
  • 3. sociolinguistics (?????)
  • 4. applied linguistics (?????)
  • 5. psycholinguistics (?????)

  • 1.5.1 Use of Linguistics
  • Phonetics(???)- the study of human speech
  • sound
  • Phonology(???)- the study of sound patterns
  • Morphology(???)-the study of form of words
  • Syntax (???)- the study of sentence structure,
  • the arrangements
    of words
  • Semantics(???)-the study of meaning (of
  • words, of

  • Psycholinguistics(?????)-Studies the
  • relationship between the language and
  • the mind
  • Sociolinguistics(?????)-Studies the relationship
    between the language and the society
  • Historical linguistics(?????)- Studies language
  • Applied linguistics(?????)- Studies language
  • usages.

  • Pragmatics (???)
  • Pragmatics studies how speakers use language in
    ways which can not be predicted from linguistic
    knowledge alone.
  • This field of study is related closely with
    semantics and the various branches of linguistics
    which link language with external world.

  • Anthropological Linguistics
  • (?????)
  • Anthropological linguistics is the study of
    language variation and use in relation to the
    cultural patterns and beliefs of human race.
  • Anthropologists have always considered
    linguistics as an important field of their
  • Anthropological linguists associate the ways of
    speaking of definite groups with the
    corresponding cultural factors to get the full
    meaning of the message they convey.

  • Psycholinguistics
  • Psycholinguistics studies how humans learn
    language and the relationship of linguistic
    behavior and the psychological process in
    producing and understanding language.
  • It involves the study of speech perception,
    memory, attention, and other processes in
    language use.
  • Language is the most interesting topic of
    psychology. If we could explain the linguistic
    patterns of man, we will stand a better chance of
    explaining his behavioral(?????) patterns in

  • Sociolinguistics
  • Sociolinguistics studies the interaction between
    language and the structure and functioning of
  • The study of the relationship between language
    and society becomes more and more important.
    Sociolinguistics is the major tie between the two
  • Sociolinguistics takes into account such factors
    as the social backgrounds of both the speaker and
    the addressee (i.e. their age, sex, social class,
    ethnic background, degree of integration into
    their neighborhood, etc.), the relationship
    between speaker and addressee, the context, and
    manner of the interaction.

  • Neurolinguistics (?????)
  • Neurolinguistics is the study of the neurological
    basis of language development and use in human
    beings. Specifically, it examines the brains
    control over the processes of speech and
  • The direct study of the human brain is difficult.
    We have to rely on less controlled methods of
    investigation, e.g. by studying brain damaged
    patients who suffer from language disorders.
  • Different parts of the brain have different
    functions. In other words, it is possible to
    localize different functions in the brain.

  • Applied Linguistics
  • Applied linguistics basically refers to the
    application of linguistic theories, methods, and
    findings to the study of language learning and
  • The applied linguistics is concerned with second
    language acquisition, curriculum and syllabus
    design, teaching methodology, communicative
    language teaching, learner and teacher roles,
    textbook writing, language testing, English for
    Specific Purposes, language planning, English as
    a global language, and a wide range of other

  • Computational Linguistics
  • ??????????????,???????????????????????????????????
  • It is the study of language using the techniques
    and concepts of computer science.
  • It often refers to the problems in machine
    translation, information retrieval (????),and
    artificial intelligence.

  • However, machine translation is not yet very
    desirable. Translation done by machines are not
    free from errors and require much post-editing.
  • One of the key problems is the lack of a good
    linguistic theory to provide a frame of reference
    for machine translation.
  • Language is so complicated and the interests of
    the linguists are extensive that the above is not
    a final list.

  • These various branches overlap to some extent. It
    is very difficult to define each of them very
  • ( Have a good look at the questions in the
    Exercise part on P. 38.)

  • 1.5.2 Recent Developments
  • Several schools of thought have emerged round a
    few prominent linguists such as Firth, Halliday,
    Hjelmslev, and Chomsky.
  • Major centers of linguistic study Prague School,
    Geneva School, and Copenhagen School.
  • Leading concepts structuralism, functionalism,
    tagmemics(???), systemic functional
    grammar(???????), and transformational generative

  • Linguistics has been advancing in two main
    directions. One is the detailed study of the
    different branches of specializations. Each of
    the different branches in linguistics has been
    concerned with developing basic concepts and
  • The other is the study of language as a whole,
    the attempt to discover how language functions in
    social context and how the total language as a
    system of systems can be grasped.

  • Some linguists argued that language can not be
    studied any more in isolation from the user and
    the context.
  • New approaches began to develop which, under
    various labels and with new techniques of
    enquiry, attempted to relate the study of
    language to the external reality and to the
    language users psychological situation.
  • Initiated from the mid 1960s, some new fields of
    study were sociolinguistics, pragmatics, the
    ethnography (???)of speaking,systemic functional
    grammar, corpus linguistics(??????), discourse
    analysis (????), and cognitive linguistics(?????).

  • All of these new studies connect the study of
    language with the speaker-hearer, the context,
    and the topic.
  • They are more concerned with the relation between
    language and context and between language and
    language user.

  • Corpus Linguistics (??????)
  • It deals with the principles and practice of
    using corpora in language study.
  • The study of language in actual use has required
    a corpus-based research. Scholars need a corpus
    to analyze patterns of use in natural texts.
  • A corpus refers to a collection of linguistic
    data, either compiled as written texts or as a
    transcription of recorded speech.

  • A corpus enables the linguist to verify a
    hypothesis about language, e.g. to determine how
    the usage of a particular sound, word, or
    syntactic construction varies.
  • A computer corpus is a large body of
    machine-readable texts. The importance of corpora
    to language study is aligned to the importance
    of empirical (???)data.
  • Empirical data enables the linguist to make
    objective statements rather than those based upon
    individuals own subjective perception of
    language. Empirical data also allows us to study
    language varieties. Corpus linguistics should be
    seen as a subsection of the activity within
    empirical and emotional approaches to linguistics.

  • Discourse Analysis (????)
  • Traditional linguistic analysis has concentrated
    on the structure of sentences, but in recent
    years, there has been a growing interest in the
    analysis of units larger than sentences. Thus,
    discourse analysis has emerged.
  • The term discourse or text refers to all
    linguistic units with a definable communicative
    function, spoken or written.

  • It stresses the need to see language as a dynamic
    (???), social, interactive phenomenon.
  • Discourse analysts regard discourse as a form of
    language use, a communicative event, and a form
    of verbal interaction.
  • Since discourse involves the use of language, the
    communication of meaning, and social context,
    discourse analysis becomes an interdisciplinary
    (?????) enterprise.

  • So, we need to explore not only the interaction
    of the language function, and the encoding (??)
    and decoding(??) process of the language user,
    but also socio-cultural context and the role of
  • Currently, there exists 5 approaches the
    structural approach, the cognitive approach, the
    socio-cultural approach, the critical approach,
    and the synthetic (???) approach.

  • Cognitive Linguistics
  • It is a newly developed branch that studies the
    structural characteristics of natural language
    categorization(??/???), the functional principles
    of linguistic organization, the conceptual
    interface(??) between syntax and semantics, the
    experiential (?????) and pragmatic background of
    language-in-use, and the relationship between
    language and thought.
  • Language is an integral part of cognition. It
    reflects the interaction of cultural,
    psychological, communicative, and functional

  • Language can be understood in the context of a
    realistic view of conceptualization and mental
  • Language serves as a window of human cognition.
    To deal with issues in cognitive linguistics, we
    need knowledge in different approaches of a
    variety of disciplines, including cognitive
    psychology, linguistics, artificial intelligence,
    neuroscience, philosophy, and anthropology.

  • Systemic Functional Grammar
  • (???????)
  • Proposed and suggested by Firth and Halliday.
    Firth argues that language must be studied at all
    levels in its context of situation and with an
    emphasis on meaning.
  • The linguist has to study the text in relation to
    surrounding language items, and in relation to
    nonverbal constituents which have bearings on the
    utterances, such as persons, objects, and events.

  • In Hallidays view, language is a social semiotic
    and text has close relation to context.
  • Halliday identifies 3 variables of context field
    (?), tenor (??/??), and mode (??/??).
  • Systemic functional grammar, in principle,
    attempts to account for a broader range of
    linguistic phenomena.
  • According to Halliday, the description of any
    language requires 4 fundamental theoretical
    categories unit, structure, class, and system.

  • The concepts subsumed under the 4 universal
    categories can in all languages be arranged in a
    rank order from lowest to highest.
  • Its emphasis on meaning at all levels of
    linguistic analysis anticipates recent
    developments in linguistics.
  • ( Have a look at the questions at the end of this
    chapter on P. 41)

  • Chapter 2
  • Phonetics and Phonology (P.43)
  • 2.1 Production of Sounds
  • Language is primarily spoken, so language is
    closely related with speech (sound).
  • Human language displays a wide variety of sounds,
    but not all the sounds that humans are capable of
    producing occur in speech.
  • Any human is able to produce the possible speech
    sounds, regardless of racial or cultural

  • 2.1.1 Scope of Phonetics
  • Phonetics is the scientific study of speech and
    is concerned with defining and classifying speech
  • Its the study of the phonic medium of language.
  • It has 3 separate fields (branches)
  • (1). articulatory phonetics
  • (2). acoustic phonetics
  • (3). auditory phonetics
  • Articulatory phonetics (?????) studies the human
    speech organs, and the way in which the speech
    sounds are produced. It deals with the
    identification and classification of individual

  • Acoustic phonetics (?????) deals with the
    physical properties of the speech sounds It
    studies the sound waves through the use of such
    machines as a spectrograph.
  • Auditory phonetics(?????)is the study of the
    perception of sounds by the human ear.

  • The 3 branches are closely related to each other.
    Speech sounds can not be divorced from the organs
    that articulate them and a sound wave does not
    exist in isolation from the source that generates
  • All the approaches are indispensable to an
    understanding of phonetics. Phoneticians are
    concerned with an objective description of how
    speech works, measuring speech characteristics as
    accurately as possible, and providing an account
    using agreed and understood terminology.

  • 2.1.2 Articulation of Sounds
  • Voice
  • All languages have both voiceless and voiced
    sounds contrasting in their phonological systems.
  • In English, all vowels are voiced, as are some
    consonants (e.g. /d, b, g, m,./)
  • When describing individual sound segments,
    phoneticians often employ two perspectives to
    examine how sounds are articulated manner of
    articulation and place of articulation.

  • Manner of Articulation (????)(P.46)
  • classification of English consonants (28)
  • According to the manner of articulation
  • stops (6) (??) /p, b, t, d, k, g/
  • fricatives (9)(???) /f, v, s, z, ?, ?, ?, ?, h/
  • affricatives (6)(???) / ??, ??, tr, dr, ts, dz/
  • liquids (2)(??) /l, r/
  • nasals (3)(??) /m, n, ? /
  • glides (2)(???) /w, j/

  • Place of Articulation (????)(P.47)
  • classification of English consonants (28)
  • According to the place of articulation
  • bilabial (4)(???) /p, b, m, w/
  • dental (2)(???) /?, ?,/
  • alveolar (9)(???) /t, d, n, s, z, l, r, ts, dz/
  • post-alveolar(2)(???) /tr, dr/
  • palatal (5)(???) /?, ?, ??, ??, j/
  • velar (3)(???) /k, g, ?/
  • glottal (1)(???) /h/
  • labiodental (2)(???) /f, v/

  • Vowels (P. 49)
  • Two ways of classification
  • According to the position of the tongue (20)
  • front vowels (4)(???) /i, i, e, ? /
  • back vowels (5)(???) /u, u, ?, ?, ?/
  • central vowels (3)(???) / ?, ?, ?/
  • ??8????diphthongs /ei, ?u, ai, au, ?i, i?, ??,

  • According to the shape of the lips (20)
  • unrounded vowels (8)(????) /i, i, e, ? , ?, ?,
    ?, ?/
  • rounded vowels (4) (???)/u, u, ?, ?/
  • ??8????diphthongs /ei, ?u, ai, au, ?i, i?, ??,

  • 2.1.3 Characteristics of English Speech Sounds
  • Each language has its own sound patterns. English
    is no exception.
  • English has many words with the pattern
    consonant-vowel-consonant, as in the words fit,
    dig, net, sit, and rid, and many others
    containing consonants clusters, as in stream,
    glimps, task, spray, and shred.
  • However, no more than three consonants may occur
    at the beginning of a word. If three consonants
    do occur, the first must be /s/.

  • 2.1.4 The Transcription of Sounds (P.54)
  • Narrow and broad transcriptions
  • (???????)
  • broad transcription -- the system of symbols used
    generally in dictionaries and language books. (
    adequate enough )
  • narrow transcription -- the phonetic
    transcription with diacritics (not always

  • Phonetics and phonology (???????)
  • Similarity Both concern the speech sounds.
  • Difference Phonetics studies the speech sounds
  • themselves while phonology
  • the speech sounds the system,
  • function.
  • Phonetics Studies speech sounds as they are.
  • Provides the means for
  • speech sounds. Its general,
  • and classificatory.

  • Phonology studies
  • 1. the ways in which speech sounds form
  • systems and patterns in human languages.
  • (The phonology of a language is the system
  • and pattern of the speech sounds used in
  • particular language.)
  • 2. the functioning of the speech sounds

  • 2.3 Sound Patterns (P.62) (Some rules of
  • 2.3.1 Sequential Constraints/Rules (????)
  • -- Rules that govern the combination of sounds in
    a particular language. (???????????????????)
  • In English, /l/, /r/ must be followed by a vowel.
  • If three consonants cluster together, there are
    three rules
  • (1). The first phoneme must be /s/
  • (2). The second phoneme must be /p/, /t/,
  • (3). The third phoneme must be /l/, /r/,
  • /? / never begins a word in English.

  • Assimilation rule (????)
  • Rule assimilates one segment to another by
    copying a feature of a sequential phoneme.
  • e.g. input, impossible, important,
  • did you, five pence, with thanks, have to.

  • /d//j/ /?? / /f/ / ? / /f/
  • e.g. bank, trunk, sink, tank, thank, English,
    rank, monkey.

  • ??,???,???,??
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