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An Introduction to Linguistics. What is linguistics? Definition of language The structure of language Linguistics and related disciplines. Introduction to linguistics.

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an introduction to linguistics
An Introduction to Linguistics
  • What is linguistics?
  • Definition of language
  • The structure of language
  • Linguistics and related disciplines
introduction to linguistics

Introduction to linguistics

Linguistics is the scientific discipline with the goal of describing language and speech in all relevant theoretical and practical aspects and their relation to adjoining desciplines (Bussman, 1998:693).

In another word, linguitics deals with human language as a sign system.

definition of language
Definition of Language
  • Language is a system of arbitrary vocal symbols used for human communication.
  • Vehicle for the expression or exchanging of thoughts, concepts, knowledge, and information as well as the fixing and transmission of experience and knowledge.
  • Language can be described as :
  • System
  • Arbitrary
  • Vocal
  • Symbol
  • Human
  • Communication
language as system
Language as System

Language must be systematic, for otherwise it could not be learned or used consistently.

Language contains two systems; they are sound and meaning.

“we saw the bank”

*we saw the nbka.

*we the bank saw.

language as arbitrary
Language as Arbitrary
  • Arbitrary does not mean that everything about language is unpredictable, it means that we cannot predict exactly which specific features we will find in a particular language if we are unfamiliar with that language or with a related language.


  • I could have gone and Peter could have gone.
  • I could have gone and Peter could have.
  • I could have gone and Peter too.
  • The boy ran
  • The boy didn’t run
  • The boy ran the boy
  • The boy ran ran the boy.
language as vocal
Language As Vocal
  • The term vocal refers to the fact that the primary medium of language is sound, and it is sound for all languages, no matter how well developed are their writing system.
language as symbol
Language as Symbol
  • Symbol refers to the fact that there is no connection or at least in a few cases only minimal connection, between the sound that people use and the object to which these sounds refer.
language as human
Language as Human
  • The term human in the definition refers to the fact that the kind of system that interest us is possessed only by human beings and is very different from the communication system that other forms of life possess.
language as communication
Language as Communication
  • Language is used for communication and allows people to say things to each other and express their communicative needs.
  • Language is the cement of society, allowing people to live, work, and play together, to tell the truth but also to tell a lie.
  • Laguage also functions to communicate general attitudes toward life and others called “phatic communion” (among speakers).
  • How do you do!
  • where have you been all my life?
  • How’s everybody?
the structure of language
  • Morphology (the words of language)
  • Syntax (the sentence patters of language)
  • Semantics (the meaning of Language)
  • Phonetics (the sounds of language)
  • Phonology (the sound patterns of language)
linguistics and related disciplines
  • Linguistics and Anthropology.
  • Linguitics and Philosophy.
  • Linguistics and psychology.
  • Linguistics and teaching.
linguistics and anthropology
Linguistics and Anthropology
  • The tie with the anthropology is historical one that much linguistic endeavor grew out of necessity for understanding the language “primitive” people.
  • Today the relationship between anthropology and linguistics is less close than in the past. Language appears as the relationship between language and culture, and the relationship between language and society (sociolinguistics) the study of language in its social contex.
linguistics and philosophy
Linguistics and Philosophy
  • The tie of linguistics and philosophy is how the linguists are interested in question of meaning after passing through a period in which they almost totally disagreed the study of meaning.
  • Vico is as sad as the book he reads. (sounds strenge)
  • Tom doesn’t beat his wife, because he loves her. (achieve ambiguity)
linguistics and psychology
Linguistics and Psychology
  • Linguists shares an interest with psychologist in the “human” properties of language, in language learning, and in “creativity’.
  • Psycholinguistics deals with the acquisition of language by the children, speech perception, language processing, and linguistic functioning in various condition, for exampple in deafness and in various pathologies.
linguistics and teaching
Linguistics and Teaching
  • The tie with teaching is the contribution of some understanding of language to this teaching; for example of native language, of reading, of foreign language, and so on.