Notes from live broadcast 29/07/09
Mrs Masehela made a comment at the beginning of the session that because of a large amount of students receiving their study material late, she would focus only on what is relevant for the exam during this broadcast – I really hope this is the case.
The chapters I refer to in these notes are from the prescribed book: Investigating English.
A system of signs for human communication
• there are different modes of linguistic communication- writing signs and oral.
• Language is a semiotic system.
• Semiotics: the study of signs and symbols and their meanings.
Language is a system where the individual elements ‘signs’, take their overall meaning from HOW they are combined with other elements. Think of the English language spelling patterns and compare that with another language you know. Think of the road signs and their meanings or any other sign and its meaning.
de Saussure theory of linguistic signs. pg 6
• The signifier – the sequence of sounds (word), which makes up the sign e.g. w/a/t/e/r this is the symbol. • The signified – the mental or physical reality of the sign e.g. water.
The properties of language (unique) pg 9
• Displacement – talk about things that are not in sight. • Arbitrariness – no natural relationship between a word and it’s meaning. • Discreetness – separate or distinct. Each sound functions as an individual. • Duality – distinct sounds do not convey meaning but carry meaning when combined with other sounds. (ooo, eee, aaa by themselves no meaning). • Productivity – speakers produce and interpret an infinite number of new signals, able to produce a sentence without memorising. • Cultural transmission – language is passed on from one generation to the next (mother tongue).
Words and word formation (the structure of words)
Morpheme – pg 63
• the smallest meaningful unit of a language.
e.g. –ful, -er, un-, ive.
Free morphemes – pg 65
• independent words, simple can’t be broken down.
car, sure, fine, chew, school, a, the,
Two kinds –
• content/lexical morphemes
Open group-new words can be added. They carry meaning – fine, chew.
• function/grammatical morphemes
Closed group-new words hardly ever added. When attached, work together with content – but, if, this, and.
Bound morphemes – pg 67
• can not occur unattached. (not a word on its own)
• also called affixes. e.g. –ful, un-, -s, -er.
• the base or the stem is the morpheme to which prefixes and suffixes are attached. e.g. safe, drive, tangle.
Inflectional morphemes- pg 68
• do not change the grammatical status of a word.
e.g school (noun), schools (noun), talk (verb), talked (verb) • can change quantities, tenses, plurality. [pic]
see page 69 as well.
Derivational morphemes – pg 69
• these change the grammatical class of a word
e.g. –ly slowly
verb adjective adverb
Language and meanings.
Nature of meaning.
• Language is a conduit/channel along which thoughts are transferred. • Meaning can’t be separated from language.
• can have a variety of forms called variant forms.
• when change from one to another, meaning changes as well.
Acquisition – what we are born with, learn as we grow up to about 13 years of age. Learning – what we are formally taught, from about 13 years.
• Imitation –
child imitates language they hear around them.
• Innateness –
humans born with a capacity for a language development. • Input -
motherese/caretaker speech, more time spent with.
• Cognitive –
child develops a concept first, able to remember/make sense of words of language.
Chapter 8 cont…
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