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Title: A Course on Linguistics for Students of English Fen


1
A Course on Linguistics for Students of
English Feng Yujuan School of Foreign
Language, SWUN
2
1. General Introduction 2. Language and society
(social linguistics) 3. Language and culture
(cross-cultural communication) 4. Applied
linguistics 5. Computational and statistic
linguistics 6. Modern theories and school of
linguistics 7. Phonetics and phonology 8.
Morphology, syntax and semantics 9. Second
language acquisition 10.Pragmatics 11.Psycholingui
stics
3
The Goals for this Course
  • To get a scientific view on language
  • To understand some basic theories on linguistics
  • To understand the applications of the linguistic
    theories, especially in the fields of language
    teaching learning (SLA or TEFL), cross-cultural
    communication
  • To prepare for the future research work.

4
The Requirements for this course
  • Class attendance
  • Classroom discussion
  • Fulfillment of the assignment
  • Examination

5
Reference Books
  • ???,???,(2002),???????????,??????????
  • ???,(2001),?????,????????
  • ???,???,(2002),???????,???????
  • ???,(1995),???????,???????????
  • ???,Maurice Cogan Hauck,(2001),
    ???????,?????????
  • H.G.Widdowson, (2000), linguistics, Shanghai
    Foreign Education Press

6
Chapter 1. Introduction
7
What is language?
  • what a person says (e.g. bad language,
    expressions)
  • the way of speaking or writing (e.g.
    Shakespeares language, Luxuns language)
  • a particular variety or level of speech or
    writing (e.g. language for special purpose,
    colloquial language)
  • the abstract system underlying the totality of
    the speech/writing behavior of a community (e.g.
    Chinese language, first language)
  • the common features of all human languages (e.g.
    He studies language)
  • a tool for human communication. (social function)

8
Sapirs definition (1921)
  • Language is a purely human and non-instinctive
    method of communicating ideas, emotions and
    desires by means of voluntarily produced symbols.

9
Who is Sapir
  • American anthropologist and linguist Edward Sapir
  • Sapir-Whorf hypothesis people do no perceive the
    world freely but rather do so through language,
    which will distort the reality and thus influence
    and control their thought.
  • LINGUISTIC DETERMINISM / LINGUISTIC RELATIVITY

10
Halls definition (1968)
  • Language is the institution whereby humans
    communicate and interact with each other by means
    of habitually used oral-auditory arbitrary
    symbols.

11
Chomskys definition (1957)
  • From now on I will consider language to be a set
    of (finite or infinite) sentences, each finite in
    length and constructed out of a finite set of
    elements.

12
Who is Chomsky?
  • Chomsky is strongly against Bloomfields
    behaviorist psychology and empiricism and adopts
    cognitive psychology and rationalism. He believes
    that language is somewhat innate, otherwise there
    are important facts that can never be adequately
    explained.
  • TG Grammar

13
Language can be generally defined as
  • a system of arbitrary vocal symbols used for
    human communication.

14
Language is a system
  • Systematic rule-governed, elements in it are
    arranged according to certain rules cant be
    combined at will. e.g. bkli, I apple eat.

15
Language is arbitrary
  • Arbitrary no intrinsic connection between the
    word and the thing it denotes, e.g. pen by any
    other name is the thing we use to write with.

16
Language is symbolic in nature
  • Symbolic words are associated with objects,
    actions ideas by convention. A rose by any other
    name would smell as sweet Shakespeare

17
Language is primarily vocal
  • Vocal the primary medium is sound for all
    languages writing system came much later than
    spoken form.

18
Language is human-specific
  • Human-specific different from the communication
    systems other forms of life possess, e.g. bird
    songs, bee dance, animal cries.

19
The design/defining features of human language
(Charles Hockett)
  • Arbitrariness
  • Productivity/Creativity
  • Duality
  • Displacement
  • Cultural transmission
  • Interchangeability

20
Arbitrariness
  • No logical (motivated or intrinsic) connection
    between sounds and meanings.
  • Onomatopoeic words (which imitate natural sounds)
    are somewhat motivated ( English rumble,
    crackle, bang, . Chinese putong, shasha,
    dingdang )
  • Some compound words are not entirely arbitrary,
    e.g. type-writer, shoe-maker, air-conditioner,
    photocopy

21
Duality (double articulation)
  • Lower level----sounds (meaningless)
  • Higher level----meaning (larger units of meaning)
  • A communication system with duality is considered
    more flexible than one without it, for a far
    greater number of messages can be sent. A small
    number of sounds can be grouped and regrouped
    into a large number of units of meaning (words),
    and the units of meaning can be arranged and
    rearranged into an infinite number of sentences.
    (we make dictionary of a language, but we cannot
    make a dictionary of sentences of that language.)

22
Productivity/creativity
  • Peculiar to human languages,users of language
    can understand and produce sentences they have
    never heard before, e.g. we can understand
    sentence like A red-eyed elephant is dancing on
    the hotel bed, though it does not describe a
    common happening in the world.
  • The bee dance does have a limited productivity,
    as it is used to communicate about food sources
    in any direction. But food sources are the only
    kind of messages that can be sent through the bee
    dance bees do not talk about themselves, the
    hives, or wind, let alone about people, animals,
    hopes or desires

23
Displacement
  • Language can be used to refer to things, which
    are not present real or imagined matters in the
    past, present or future, or in far-away places.
  • A gibbon never utters a call about something he
    ate last year

24
Cultural transmission
  • Language is culturally transmitted (through
    teaching and learning rather than by instinct).
  • Animal call systems are genetically transmitted.
    All cats, gibbons and bees have systems which are
    almost identical to those of all other cats,
    gibbons and bees.
  • A Chinese speaker and an English speaker are not
    mutually intelligible. This shows that language
    is culturally transmitted. That is, it is pass on
    from one generation to the next by teaching and
    learning, rather than by instinct.
  • The story of a wolf child, a pig child shows that
    a human being brought up in isolation simply does
    not acquire human language.

25
Interchangeability
  • any human being can be both a producer and a
    receiver of messages.

26
Functions of language
  • Phatic establishing an atmosphere or maintaining
    social contact.
  • Directive get the hearer to do something.
  • Informative give information about facts.
  • Interrogative get information from others.
  • Expressive express feelings and attitudes of the
    speaker.
  • Evocative create certain feelings in the hearer
    (amuse, startle, soothe, worry or please)
  • Performative language is used to do things, to
    perform actions.

27
The origin of language
  • The divine-origin theory Language is a gift of
    God to mankind. (Babel)
  • The invention theory imitative, cries of
    nature, the grunts of men working together.
  • The evolutionary theory the result of physical
    and psychological development.

28
2. What is linguistics?
  • Linguistics is the scientific study of
    language.
  • A person who studies linguistics is known as a
    linguist.

29
Four principles of linguistic studies
  • Exhaustiveness/adequacy
  • Consistency
  • Economy
  • Objectivity

30
  • Exhaustiveness/adequacy the linguist should
    father all the material relevant to his
    investigation and give them an adequate
    explanation.
  • Consistency there should be no contradiction
    between different parts of the total statement.

31
  • Economy other things being equal, a shorter
    statement or analysis is preferred to a longer or
    more involved one.
  • Objectivity a linguist should be as objective as
    possible in his description and analysis of data,
    allowing no prejudice to influence his
    generalization.

32
The scope or major branches of linguistics
  • Theoretical linguistics
  • Phonetics
  • Phonology
  • Morphology
  • Syntax
  • Semantics
  • Use of linguistics
  • Applied linguistics
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Psycholinguistics

33
  • Phonetics phonetics is the branch of linguistics
    which studies the characteristics of speech
    sounds and provides methods for their
    description, classification and transcription.
  • articulatory phonetics the study of the speech
    organs and how they move to produce speech sound.
  • acoustic phonetics the study of the physical
    properties of speech sound.
  • auditory phonetics the study of the perception
    of sounds by the human ear.

34
  • Phonology phonology is the branch of linguistics
    which studies the sound patterns of languages. It
    identifies the set of speech sounds for each
    language, how they are arranged to form
    meaningful units, and the function of each sound.

35
  • Morphology morphology is the branch of
    linguistics which studies the form of words. It
    identifies the smallest meaningful units in a
    language which are called morphemes and looks
    into the ways the morphemes are arranged to form
    words.
  • free morpheme / bound morpheme

36
  • Syntax syntax is the branch of linguistics which
    studies the rules governing the combination of
    words into sentences.

37
  • Semantics semantics is the branch of linguistics
    which studies the meaning of language.

38
  • Pragmatics pragmatics is the branch of
    linguistics which studies language in context and
    linguistic communication.
  • The context of situation in which a sentence is
    used contributes a lot to its meaning, meaning
    that cannot be accounted for in pure semantic
    analysis. In this sense, pragmatics can be
    defined by this formula PRAGMATICS MEANING
    SEMANTICS

39
  • Sociolinguistics sociolinguistics is the branch
    of linguistics which studies all social aspects
    of language and its relation with society, such
    as social background, social norms, social
    changes, etc.

40
  • Psycholinguistics psycholinguistics is the
    branch of linguistics which studies the relation
    between language and psychology.

41
  • Applied linguistics findings in linguistic
    studies can often be applied to the solution of
    such practical problems as the recovery of speech
    ability. The study of such applications is
    generally known as applied linguistics.

42
Some important distinctions in linguistics
43
Speech vs writing
  • Speech ---- primary medium of language
  • Writing ---- later developed

44
Descriptive vs prescriptive
  • Descriptive ---- describe/analyze linguistic
    facts observed or language people actually use
    (modern linguistic)
  • Prescriptive ----lay down rules for correct
    linguistic behavior in using language
    (traditional grammar)

45
Synchronic vs diachronic
  • Synchronic study---- description of a language at
    some point of time (modern linguistics)
  • Diachronic study---- description of a language
    through time (historical development of language
    over a period of time)

46
Langue vs parole (F. de Saussure)
  • Langue ---- the abstract linguistic system shared
    by all members of the speech community.
  • Parole ---- the realization of langue in actual
    use.
  • Saussure takes a sociological view of language
    and his notion of langue is a matter of social
    conventions.

47
Competence and performance (Chomsky)
  • Competence ---- the ideal users knowledge of the
    rules of his language
  • Performance ---- the actual realization of this
    knowledge in linguistic communication
  • Chomsky looks at language from a psychological
    point of view and to him competence is a property
    of the mind of each individual.

48
Linguistic potential and Linguistic behavior
(Halliday)
  • The linguistic competence versus performance
    distinction is one between what a person know
    and what he does
  • While the linguistic potential versus actual
    linguistic behavior distinction is one between
    what a person can do and what a person does

49
Chapter 2 sociolinguistics
50
  • 1. Sociolinguistics language and society
  • 1.1 What is Sociolinguistics?
  • A sub-field of linguistics that studies the
    relation between language and society, between
    the uses of language and the social structures in
    which the users of language live.

51
  • 1.2 What are dialect and accent respectively?
  • Dialect refers, strictly speaking, to difference
    between kinds of language which have differences
    of vocabulary and grammar as well as
    pronunciation.
  • Accent refers solely to differences of
    pronunciation

52
  • 1.3 What is standard dialect?
  • Standard dialect is the variety of language which
    usually used in print, normally taught in school
    and to non-native speakers learning a language.
    It is also the variety which is normally spoken
    by educated people and used in news broadcasts
    and other similar situations.
  • Standard English (dialect)/ RP (received
    pronunciation)

53
  • Take the pronunciation of non-prevocalic /r/ in
    British dialect as an example
  • rat rich
  • carry sorry
  • cart car
  • these words formerly had an /r/ sound, as the
    spelling shows,, but in these accents /r/has been
    lost except where it occurs before a vowel. Thus,
    the /r/ sounds at the end of words (car) or
    before a consonant (cart) can be referred to as
    non-prevocalic /r/

54
  • Table Attitudes towards the use of
    non-prevocalic /r/ upper middle class in New
    York City
  • Age /r/ used
  • 819 48
  • 2039 34
  • 40 9

55
  • 2 language varieties
  • 2.1 varieties of language influenced by social
    factors
  • 2.1.1 Language and Social Class (sociolect)
  • speaker A speaker B
  • I done it yesterday. I did it yesterday.
  • He aint got it He hasnt got it
  • It was her what said it It was her that said it

56
  • What happens if we wish to negate the following
    sentence
  • I can eat anything.
  • There are two possibilities in the standard
    variety of English
  • I cant eat anything.
  • I can eat nothing.
  • There are other varieties of English, where there
    is a third possibility where we can negate both
    elements
  • I cant eat nothing.

57
  • A survey was taken in Detroit, and it was found
    that there was a clear relationship between
    employment of double negation and social class
  • UMC 2
  • LMC 11
  • UWC 38
  • LWC 70

58
  • 2.1.2 Language and Ethnic Group
  • Ethnic-group differences may be correlated with
    phonological or grammatical features, as well as
    or instead of with lexical differences.
  • An example of BVE (Black Vernacular English)
  • A fifteen-year old black boy You know, like some
    people say if youre good your spirit goin t
    heaven n if you bad, your spirit goin to
    hell. Well, bullshit! Your spirit goin to hell
    anyway. Ill tell you why. Cause, you see,
    doesn nobody really know that its a God. An
    when they be sayin if you good, you goin t
    heaven, thas bullshit, cause you aint goin to
    no heaven, cause it aint no heaven for you to
    go to.

59
  • Contrast between BVE and standard English
  • 1) All the white children studied used some s in
    the appropriate verb forms, and the average score
    for the group as a whole was 85 percent s usage.
    On the other hand, only 76 percent of the black
    children used any s, and the overall average
    score for s usage was only 13 percent.

60
  • 2) the absence or invariance of the verb to be
  • BVE Standard English
  • He busy right now. Hes busy right now.
  • Sometimes he be busy. Sometimes hes busy.
  • 3) question inversion in BVE
  • A. I asked Mary where did she go.
  • B. I asked Mary where she went.
  • A. It aint heaven for you to go to.
  • B. There is no heaven for you to go to
  • A. Cant nobody do nothing about it.
  • B. Nobody can do anything about it.

61
  • 2.1.3 Language and gender
  • It is known from linguistic research that in many
    societies the speech of men and women differs.
  • In South Africa, research has been carried out,
    comparing the speech of male and female
    high-school pupils of the same age in the same
    town
  • boy /b
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