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Linguistics and Grammar. ESOL Praxis – Session #2. Aspects of Language. Here is an illustration that shows an interacting hierarchy of levels in linguistics: . Phonology.

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linguistics and grammar

Linguistics and Grammar

ESOL Praxis – Session #2

aspects of language
Aspects of Language
  • Here is an illustration that shows an interacting hierarchy of levels in linguistics: 
  • The study of sounds of a particular language and the rules governing the structure, distribution and sequencing of speech sounds.
  • Phonology is just one of several aspects of language. It is related to other aspects such as phonetics, morphology, syntax, and pragmatics.
  • Is the basis for further work in morphology, syntax, discourse, and orthography design.
  • Analyzes the sound patterns of a particular language by determining which phonetic sounds are significant, and explaining how these sounds are interpreted by the native speaker.
phonetic alphabet
Phonetic Alphabet
  • Universal alphabet representing sounds
  • The smallest linguistic unit of speech that can signal a difference in meaning.
    • How many phonemes in CATS?
    • Examples   A unit of speech is considered a phoneme if replacing it in a word results in a change of meaning. Here are some examples of phonemes:
      • pin becomes bin
      • bat becomes rat
      • cot becomes cut
consonant digraph
Consonant Digraph
  • Two consonants pronounced as a single sound.
    • Example: ch, sh, th, wh
    • In the word chat, the letters c and h appear contiguously, in this instance, ch is a digraph because the ch sequence represents a single sound in the underlying English sound system.
  • A digraph is a group of two successive letters whose phonetic value is a single sound (one phoneme.)
  • Examples   Here are some examples of digraphs:
  • \ea\ in bread
  • \ch\ in chat
  • \ng\ in sing
consonant clusters
Consonant Clusters
  • A group or sequence of two or more consonants that appear together in a syllable with no intervening vowel. (Two sounds put together
  • Example: \sp\ and \ts\ in the word spots and \spr\ in the word spray
minimal pairs
Minimal Pairs
  • Two words that differ in only one sound, or phoneme.
  • Examples (English)   Sounds which differ: /p/ and /b/
  • [lQp] ‘lap’
  • [lQb] ‘lab’
  • A group of two or more letters representing the same speech sound, or words that sound the same but are spelled differently
  • Examples
    •   Letters with the same speech sound:
      • c in cityand s in song
      • Axe and acts
  • A word that has the same spelling as another. Homographs differ from each other in meaning, origin, and sometimes pronunciation.
  • Examples
    • bow, the front part of a ship
    • bow, to bend
    • bow, a decorative knot
  • The study of words in their internal organization
  • The smallest meaningful unit in the grammar of a language. Includes all root-words, prefix, suffix and s within the context of the word.
  • Examples:
    • Unladylike: The word unladylike consists of three morphemes (un – lady – like)
      • None of these morphemes can be broken up any more without losing all sense of meaning. Lady cannot be broken up into "la" and "dy," even though "la" and "dy" are separate syllables. Note that each syllable has no meaning on its own.
    • Dogs: The word dogs consists of two morphemes (dog – s) /s/ is a plural marker on nouns
      • Note that a morpheme like "-s" can just be a single phoneme and does not have to be a whole syllable.
    • Technique: The word technique consists of only one morpheme
bound morpheme
Bound Morpheme
  • Must be attached to a root word to have full meaning (prefixes and suffixes)
    • Example: /un/ means not. /un/ has no meaning unless it is attached to a root word.
      • Unthinkable
        • /un/ (bound morpheme)
        • think (free morpheme)
        • /able/ (bound morpheme)
free morpheme
Free Morpheme
  • Base in root words that can stand alone.
inflectional morphemes
Inflectional Morphemes
  • Affixes, prefix or suffix, that can be added to a morpheme to without changing part of speech.
    • Example:
      • Happy (adjective)
      • Unhappy (adjective)
derivational morphemes
Derivational Morphemes
  • Affixes, prefix and suffix, that can be added to a morpheme to change its meaning and may change its part of speech or semantic meaning.
    • Examples:
      • amaze > amazement,
      • speak > speaker,
      • perform > performance,
      • soft > softness,
      • warm > warmth
syntax grammar
Syntax - Grammar
  • Governs the form or structure of a language; the way words are put together in a language to form phrases, clauses, or sentences.
  • The syntax of a language can be divided into two parts:
    • Syntactic classes such as noun, verb, and adjective
    • Syntactic functions, such as subject and object


    • The cat jumped on the table.
    • The flower jumped on the sound wave.
    • Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.
active voice
Active Voice
  • The subject performs action in the sentence or is the thing described by a predicate adjective.
  • Active voice is a voice that indicates a subject has the semantic function of actor.
  • Example
    • The subject Jones has the semantic function of actor.
      • Jones built the house.
    • The above active construction contrasts with the following construction in passive voice, where Jones has the semantic function of actor but house is the subject:
      • The house was built by Jones.
passive voice
Passive Voice
  • The action is performed by an unknown agent.
  • Passive voice is a voice that indicates that the subject is the patient or recipient of the action denoted by the verb.
    • The man was nudged by a passer-by.   The above example contrasts with the one below, which is in active voice:
    • A passer-by nudged the man.
  • The study of word meanings, idioms, or non-literal expressions
  • Formed by completely blocking the air and releasing the bilabials – stopped lips
  • Produced by a constant flow of air through the vocal tract. /f/ /v/
  • Produced by briefly stopping air and then releasing with some friction church
  • Sound comes through the nose /m/
  • Make a smooth sound /l/ /r/
  • A strong burst of air that accompanies either the release or closure of some consonant sound formed by obstructing airflow.
    • Example:
    • tore, the /t/ is aspirated
    • Store, the /t/ is not aspirated