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linguistics research

By shelleyeden Feb 10, 2014 1185 Words
   Some Preliminaries about Language
IV. Define the following terms:
1. Linguistics: Linguistics is generally defined as the scientific study of language. 2. Phonology: The study of how sounds are put together and used in communication is called phonology. 3. Syntax: The study of how morphemes and words are combined to form sentences is called syntax. . 4 Design features: it referred to the defining properties of human language that tell the difference between human language that tell the difference between human language and any system of animal communication. 5. Psycholinguistics: The study of language with reference to the workings of mind is called psycholinguistics. 6. Language: Language is a system of arbitrary vocal symbols used for human communication. 7. Phonetics: The study of sounds which are used in linguistic communication is called phonetics. 8. Morphology: The study of the way in which morphemes are arranged to form words is called morphology. 9. Parole: it referred to the actual phenomena or data of linguistics. V. Answer the following questions as comprehensively as possible. Give examples for illustration if necessary: 1. Language is generally defined as a system of arbitrary vocal symbols used for human communication. Explain it in detail.   First of all, language is a system, because Elements of language are com­ bined according to rules. Secondly, language is arbitrary because there is no intrinsic connection between form and meaning, or between the sign and what it stands for. Different languages have different words for the same ob­ject in the world. This fact is a good illustration of the arbitrary nature of language. This also explains the symbolic nature of language: words are just Symbols; they are associated with objects, actions, ideas, etc. by conven­ tion. Thirdly, language is vocal because the primary medium is sound for all languages, no matter how well developed their writing systems are. The term "human" in the definition indicates that language is possessed by human beings only and is very different from the communication systems of other living creatures. The term “communication" means that language makes it possible for its users to talk to each other and fulfill their commu­ nicative needs. 2. What are the design features of human language? Illustrate them with examples. 1) Arbitrariness

  As mentioned earlier, the arbitrary property of language means that there is no logical connection between meanings and sounds. For instance, there is no nec­ essary relationship between the word elephant and the animal it symbolizes. In addition, different sounds are used to refer to the same object in different languages, and even within the same language, the same sound does not refer to the same thing. However, language is not entirely arbitrary. There are words which are created in the imitation of sounds by sounds, such as crash, bang in English. Besides, some compound words are also not entirely arbitrary. But the non-arbitrary words are quite limited in number. The arbitrary nature of language makes it possible for language to have an unlimited source of expressions.   2) Productivity

  Language is productive or creative in that it makes possible the con­ struction and interpretation of new signals by its users. This is why they can produce and understand an infinitely large number of sentences, including sentences that they have never said or heard before. They can send messages which no one else has ever sent before. Productivity is unique to human language. Most animal communication systems appear to be highly restricted with respect to the number of different signals that their users can send and receive.   3) Duality

  The duality nature of language means that language is a system, which consists of two sets of structure, or two levels, one of sounds and the other of meanings. At the lower or the basic level, there is the structure of sounds, which are meaningless, discrete, individual sounds. But the sounds of language can be combined according to rules into units of meaning such as morphemes and words, which, at the higher level, can be arranged into sentences. This duality of structure or dou­ ble articulation of language enables its users to talk about anything within their knowledge. No animal communication system has duality or even comes near to possessing it.   4) Displacement

  Displacement means that language can be used to refer to things which are present or not present, real or imagined matters in the past, present, or future, or in far-away places. In other words, language can be used to refer to contexts removed from the immediate situations of the speaker. Animal calls are mainly uttered in response to immediate changes of situation.   5) Cultural transmission

  Human beings were born with the ability to acquire language, but the details of any language are not genetically transmitted or passed down by instinct. They have to be taught and learned, but animal call systems are genetically trans­ mitted. 3. How do you understand the distinction between a synchronic study and a diachronic study? The description of a language at some point in time is a Synchronic study; the de­ scription of a language as it changes through time is a diachronic study. A synchronic study of language describes a language as it is at some particular point in time, while a diachronic study of language is the study of the historical development of language over a period of time. 4. Why does modern linguistics regard the spoken form of language as primary, not the written?   First, the spoken form is prior to the writ­ ten form and most writing systems are derived from   The spoken form of lan­ guage. Second, the spoken form plays a greater role than writing in terms of the amount of information conveyed and it serves a wider range of purposes finally, the spoken form is the medium through which we acquire our mother tongue. 5. What are the major distinctions between langue and parole?   The distinct, ion between langue, and parole was made by the famous Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure early this century. Langue refers to the abstract linguistic system shared by all the members of a speech community, and parole refers to the realization of langue in actual use. Langue is the set of conventions and rules which language users all have to follow while parole is the concrete use of the conventions and the application of the rules. Langue is abstract; it is not the language people actually use, but parole is concrete; it refers to the naturally occurring language events. Langue is relatively stable, it does not change frequently; while parole varies from person to person, and from situation to situation.   6.(1) What if there were no language?

   (2) What if there were only one language the world over?    (3) What can we learn from this Bible story?
  Language is powerful as a tool of human communication.   7. (1) What measures do you suggest for protecting dialects as well as languages?    (2) Do you think that someday people all over the world will speak only one language, or someday no dialect will exist?   8. Can our pets learn human languages? Why or why not?   No. They are genetically not endowed with the

9. What role does body language play in language commun

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