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Main Branches of Linguistics. Introduction. Core of linguistics – study of language structure at different levels No other field describes language so systematically & completely Language plays a part in many areas of human life

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  • Core of linguistics – study of language structure at different levels
  • No other field describes language so systematically & completely
  • Language plays a part in many areas of human life
  • Link of linguistics with many areas has led to the growth of many branches of linguistics
intro contd
Intro (contd…)
  • Like other sciences Linguistics has pure aspects – theories & description and analysis of different levels of language
  • It also has practical aspect – application of knowledge in learning & teaching of languages, correction & improvement of speech disorders, appreciate the use of language in literature
intro contd1
Intro (contd..)
  • Applied linguistics covers practical application of theories, concepts and analyses provided by linguistics
  • All applications are based on a thorough description of languages.
intro contd2
Intro (contd…)
  • Corder (1973, p.148) says:

Whether it is speech therapy, psychiatry, literary criticism, translation..what all these fields of application have in common is the necessity for descriptions of the various languages involved.

intro contd3
Intro (contd…)
  • Language is related to the inner world of man’s mind & to the outer world of society and social relationships.
  • Each of these aspects has led to the study of ‘Psycholinguistics’ & ‘Sociolinguistics’
  • recent branch of linguistics developed in the sixties
  • study of interrelationship of psychological & linguistic behaviour
  • uses linguistic concepts to describe psychological processes connected with the acquisition and use of language
  • Earlier it covered acoustic phonology and language pathology
  • Nowadays it is influenced deeply by the development of Generative theory and the most important area is language acquisition
  • It has raised and partly answered questions such as: how children acquire mother tongue
  • How children grow up linguistically and learn to handle the registral and stylistic varieties of their mother tongue effectively.
  • How much of the linguistic system that they finally command are they born with and how much do they discover on the basis of their exposure to language
  • Psycholinguistics related to mental phenomenon - so mental processes articuled in language behaviour
  • It studies processes of thought, concept formation and their articulation in language.
  • This reveal about structures of human psychology and language.
  • Cognitive psychology: It explores how meanings are understood by human brain, how syntax and memory are linked & how messages are ‘decoded’ and stored
  • Psycholinguistics studies influence of intelligence, motivation, anxiety etc. on the kind of language understood and produced.
  • Psychological reasons may lead to errors – they influence comprehension and production
  • State of mind influences perception of speech sounds or graphic symbols
  • Example: Children mistake one letter for another (Dyslexia) – Psycholinguistics can offer some corrective measures for this
  • concerned with learning of language at various stages: early acquisition of a first language by children and later stages of acquisition of first and other languages
  • Psycholinguists try to answer questions such as whether the human brain has an inborn language ability.
  • Whether this ability is structured in such a way that certain grammatical and semantic patterns are embedded in it which can explain the learning capability.
  • Whether a universal grammar present in the mind of every human being which is transformed in particular situations to produce different languages
  • Significance of Psycholinguistic studies – helpful in language teaching (understand error production & individual differences among learners, devise appropriate syllabi)
  • Neurolinguistics: It studies the psychological basis of language and language disorders (aphasia, loss of memory etc.)
  • Idea of logic – Some ancient philosophers held that since human mind is rational and capable of thinking logically, language, too, is logically ordered and rational.
  • Others said that just as irrationality is present in human mind, irregularity and anomaly is present in human language.
  • The debate continues
psycholinguistics acquisition of language
Psycholinguistics -Acquisition of language
  • Much of the psycholinguistics influenced by generative theory and the so-called mentalists.
  • Children master most of the structures by five or six.
  • The generative approach argued against the earlier behaviourist assumptions that language development could be explained in terms of imitation and selective reinforcement
psycholinguistics acquisition of language1
Psycholinguistics -Acquisition of language
  • Psycholinguists argue that imitation is not enough; it is not merely by mechanical repetition that children acquire language
  • They also acquire it by natural exposure
  • Nature & Nurture both influence language acquisition in children
psycholinguistics acquisition of language2
Psycholinguistics -Acquisition of language
  • Children learn first not items but systems
  • Every normal child develops this abstract knowledge of his mother tongue or a foreign tongue to some extent.
  • Generative approach argues that this is possible only if certain features of competence are present in the brain of the child right from the beginning
psycholinguistics acquisition of language3
Psycholinguistics -Acquisition of language
  • These innate features ‘pre-structure’ it towards language learning
  • To develop these innate features into adult competence, a child needs to be exposed to human language – it must be stimulated in a proper way to respond
  • David Crystal observes that the basis on which it develops its linguistic abilities is not describable in behaviourist terms
  • Recent developments aim to give psychological reality to the description of language
  • Chomsky regards linguistics as a sub-field of psychology.
  • Chomsky says in his book ‘Language and mind’

that the most important contribution of

linguists would be the study of human mind

  • The bonds between psychology and linguists become stronger by the extent to which language is influenced by and itself influences such things as memory, motivation, attention, recall & perception
  • Psycholinguistics is language and the mind
  • Sociolinguistics is language and community