What is Linguistics?
A scientific study of Language
What is not Linguistics?
Not a way to solve the problems of language users
problems/difficult with word, punctuation,...
not an informal interest in language
scabble, crosswords, dictionaries
using a language is not
interest in learning languages - not
What is Language?
Characteristics of language
1. Duality of Structure or Patterning
Two levels of patterning
1. phonemes to words
Meaningless units to arbitrary signs
Compounding of sounds into words
2. sentences
new meaningful larger units
Compounding of words into sentences
2. Creativity or Productivity
Ability to produce new messages on any topic at any time
Never heard of before - a sentence
Novel utterances
3. Interchangeability
Male/ female both send / receive massages
4. Cultural Transmission
Not genetically transmitted
5. Displacement
Able to refer to events remote in space and time
6. Specialization
Able to speak while doing other works
7. Arbitrariness
No natural or inherent connection b/w a written word (sound) and its reference (symbols)
8. Redundancy
two markers to show - question, etc
9. Discreteness
phonemes, syllables, morphemes, words....
10. Reflexiveness
communication systems to discuss the system itself
What is Scientific?
A linguists explains the observed data of natural languages alive or dead by constructing hypotheses, theories and laws
Dimensions of linguistics
1. Descriptive
establishing the facts of a particular language system
2. Diachronic
The study of language change
Historical development of the language through time
3. Synchronic
The study of language states, regardless of their history
4. Theoretical
establishing general principles for the study of all languages
5. Comparative
focus on similarities and differences b/w languages
6. Applied linguistics
application of the concepts and methods to other areas -- language teaching, translation, testing....
Levels of linguistic analysis
1. Phonetics
The articulation and perception of speech sounds
2. Phonology
The patterning of speech sounds
The study of the organization of the units of the sounds of speech into syllables
3. Morphology
The formation of Words
The study of words
4. Syntax
The formation of phrases and sentences
Deals with the combination of words into phrases, clauses and sentences
5. Semantics
The interpretation of words and sentences
The study of meaning in all its aspects
Interdisciplinary fields of linguistics / David Crystal (1987)
1. Anthropological linguistics
Lang variation and use in relation to the cultural patterns and beliefs
2. Applied linguistics
applies equally to several other fields
3. Biological linguistics
biological conditions for lang devlopment
4. Clinical linguistics
analysis of lang disorders
5. Computational linguistics
fields of computer translation
6. Educational linguistics
teaching and learning lang
7. Ethnolinguistics
ethnic types and behaviour
8. Geographical linguistics
regional distribution of lang/dialects, geographical factor in the environment
9. Mathematical linguistics
mathematical properties of lang, as algebra, statistics...
10. Neurolinguistics
brain's control over the processes of speech and understanding
11. Philosophical linguistics
in the elucidation of philosophical concepts
12. Psycholinguistics
linguistics behaviour - memory, attention
13. Sociolinguistics
interaction b/w lang and structure and functioning of society
14. Statistical linguistics
Statistical or quantitative properties of lang
15. Theolinguistics
used by biblical scholars, theologians, religious belief
Historical Context
1. Traditional Approach
5th -19th C
Subordinate to logic and philosophy
only language of the great writers of that time "Pure, perfect, correct use"
Prescriptive in nature
What people ought to use
2. Structural Approach
19th -1950s
Pairs of concepts
Diachronic vs synchronic
langue vs parole
significant vs signife
syntagmatic vs paradigmatic
Autonomous science
each language was treated with respect
written, also spoken language
what native speakers actually used
Use of Meaning in the description of grammatical categories - rejected
to see description more scientific and more objective
3. Cognitive Approach
1957 - now
Generative grammar
Transformational Generative linguistics
Syntactic structures (1950s)
Language Acquisition of Device
a branch of cognitive psychology