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A Course on Linguistics for Students of English

A Course on Linguistics for Students of English

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A Course on Linguistics for Students of English

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  1. A Course on Linguistics for Students of English

  2. 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.

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

  4. Reference Books • 戴炜栋,何兆熊,(2002),《新编简明英语语言学教程》,上海外语教育出版社。 • 胡壮麟,(2001),《语言学教程》,北京大学出版社。 • 刘润清,(1995),《西方语言学流派》,外语教学与研究出版社。 • 刘润清,文旭,(2007),《新编语言学教程》,外语教学与研究出版社。 • Fromkin,V. & R. Rodman, (1998), An Introduction to Language the sixth edition, Orlando, Florida: Holt, Ranehart & Winston, Inc.

  5. Chapter 1. Introduction

  6. 1. What is language?

  7. Language can mean • what a person says (e.g. bad language, expressions) • the way of speaking or writing (e.g. Shakespeare’s language, Luxun’s 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) • a set of rules. (rule-governed)

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

  9. Hall’s definition (1968) • Language is “the institution whereby humans communicate and interact with each other by means of habitually used oral-auditory arbitrary symbols.”

  10. Chomsky’s 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.”

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

  12. Language is a system • Systematic---- rule-governed, elements in it are arranged according to certain rules; can’t be combined at will. e.g. *bkli, *I apple eat.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

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

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

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

  18. 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…

  19. 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. • A gibbon call system is not productive for gibbon draw all their calls from a fixed repertoire which is rapidly exhausted, making any novelty impossible. • 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

  20. 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.

  21. 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 • There is something special about the bee dance though. Bees communicate with other bees about the food sources they have found when they are no longer in the presence of the food. In this sense, the bee dance has a component of displacement. But this component is very insignificant. For the bees must communicate about the food immediately on returning to the hive. They do not dance about the food they discovered last month nor do they speculate about future discoveries.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

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

  25. 许国璋先生认为把语言定义成交际工具不够科学,至少不够严谨.他对语言的定义做了如下概括:语言是一种符号系统.许国璋先生认为把语言定义成交际工具不够科学,至少不够严谨.他对语言的定义做了如下概括:语言是一种符号系统. • 当它作用于人与人之间的关系的时候,它是表达相互反应的中介; • 当它作用于人与客观世界的关系的时候,它是认知事物的工具; • 当它作用于文化的时候,它是文化的载体.

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

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

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

  29. Theoretical linguistics • Phonetics----speech sound (description, classification, transcription): articulatory phonetics, acoustic phonetics, auditory phonetics. • Phonology----sound patterns of languages • Morphology----the form of words • Syntax----the rules governing the combination of words into sentence. • Semantics----the meaning of language (when the meaning of language is conducted in the context of language use----Pragmatics)

  30. Use of linguistics • Applied linguistics----linguistics and language teaching • Sociolinguistics---- social factors (e.g. class, education) affect language use • Psycholinguistics----linguistic behavior and psychological process • Stylistics----linguistic and literature

  31. Some other applications • Anthropological linguistics • Neurolinguistics • Computational linguistics (e.g. machine translation)

  32. Some important distinctions in linguistics

  33. 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)

  34. 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)

  35. Speech vs writing • Speech ---- primary medium of language • Writing ---- later developed

  36. 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.

  37. Competence and performance (Chomsky) • Competence ---- the ideal user’s 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.

  38. Traditional grammar vs modern linguistics • Traditional grammar ---- prescriptive, written, Latin-based framework • Modern linguistics ----- descriptive, spoken, not necessarily Latin-based framework

  39. Chapter 2 Phonology • Language is primarily vocal. The primary medium of human language is sound. Linguists are not interested in all sounds, but in speech sounds----sounds that convey meaning in human communication.

  40. Phonetics ----A branch of linguistics which studies the characteristics of speech sounds and provides methods for their description, classification and transcription, e.g. [p] bilabial, stop.

  41. Three branches of phonetics • Articulatory phonetics----from the speakers’ point of view, “how speakers produce speech sounds” • Auditory phonetics----from the hearers’ point of view, “how sounds are perceived” • Acoustic phonetics----from the physical way or means by which sounds are transmitted from one to another.

  42. Articulatory phonetics

  43. Speech organs: three important areas • Pharyngeal cavity ---- the throat; • The oral cavity ---- the mouth; • Nasal cavity ---- the nose.

  44. The diagram of speech organs • Lips • Teeth • Teeth ridge (alveolar) • Hard palate • Soft palate (velum) • Uvula • Tip of tongue • Blade of tongue • Back of tongue • Vocal cords • Pharyngeal cavity • Nasal cavity

  45. Orthographic representation of speech sounds ---- A standardized and internationally accepted system of phonetic transcription is the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). The basic principle of the IPA is using one letter to represent one speech sound. • Broad transcription ---- used in dictionary and textbook for general purpose, without diacritics, e.g. clear [ l ], [ pit ] • Narrow transcription ---- used by phonetician for careful study, with diacritics, e.g. dark [ l ], aspirated [ p ]

  46. Some major articulatory variables ---- dimensions on which speech sounds may vary: • Voicing---- voiced & voiceless • Nasality ---- nasal & non-nasal • Aspiration ----- aspirated & unaspirated

  47. Classification of English speech sounds ---- English speech sounds are generally classified into two large categories: • Vowels • Consonants Note: The essential difference between these two classes is that in the production of the former the airstream meets with no obstruction of any kind in the throat, the nose or the mouth, while in that of the latter it is somehow obstructed.

  48. Classification of consonants ---- English consonants may be classified according to two dimensions: • The manner of articulation • The place of articulation

  49. The manner of articulation • stops/plosives: [p], [b], [t], [d], [k], [g]; • fricatives: [f], [v], [s], [z], [W], [T], [F], [V], [h]; • affricates: [tF], [dV]; • liquids: [l](lateral), [r]; • nasals: [m], [n], [N]; • glides/semivowels: [w], [j].

  50. The place of articulation • bilabial: [p], [b], [m], [w]; • labiodental: [ f ], [v]; • dental: [W], [T]; • alveolar: [t], [d], [s], [z], [n], [l], [r]; • palatal: [F], [V], [tF], [dV], [ j ]; • velar: [k], [g], [N]; • glottal: [h].