2Can you answer these questions? What is the difference between a ‘knight’ and ‘knave’?What do you eat with your ghoti?How many words are there in the sentence The cats talked and the dogs walked 7, 6 or 2?Do sentences grow on trees?Can Colourless green ideas sleep furiously?Who taught you to speak?Linguistics can help us to find the answers…
3Can you answer this question? Q. What is the difference between a knight and a knave?A. TimeWhy?‘Knave’ and ‘knight’ both meant ‘boy’ once. They now mean opposing things. Meanings of words and pronunciation change over time.
4Historical Linguistics Etymology is the study of the historical development of words, which is part of Historical Linguistics.
5Can you answer this question? Q. What do you eat with ghoti? A. Chips Why?If we take the [gh] from ‘laugh’, the [o] from "women" and the [ti] from ‘nation’ the word ghoti can be pronounced fish. We spell some words in English in ways which bear no resemblance to the way they are pronounced.Ghoti was invented by the playwright George Bernard Shaw to show the apparent illogicality of English spelling.
6Phonetics and Phonology These are the areas of Linguistics that deal with the study of the sound system of a language (Phonology) and the scientific study of speech processes (Phonetics).
7Can you answer this question? Q. How many words are there in the sentence ‘The cats talked and the dogs walked’ 7 or 6?A. BothWhy 7?It all depends what you mean by word because the word ‘word’ is ambiguous. If the question means ‘How many word forms’ then the answer is 7 (sometimes this is referred to as 7 word tokens).
8Can you answer this question? Q. How many words are there in the sentence ‘The cats talked and the dogs walked’ 7 or 6?A. BothWhy 6?If we mean ‘how many different word forms’, then the answer is 6 since there are two ‘the’s (sometimes referred to as word types).
9Can you answer this question? Q. How many of the words in the sentence would you expect to find in the dictionary?A. 6 or 2Why 6?The dictionary is not a list of actual word forms but of ‘dictionary words’. We will find ‘cat’ and ‘dog’ but not ‘cats’ and ‘dogs’; we will find ‘walk’ and ‘talk’ but not ‘walked’ and ‘talked’. ‘-s’ and ‘-ed’ are not in the dictionary at all, thus 6: CAT, DOG WALK, TALK, the, and
10Can you answer this question? Q. How many of the words in the sentence would you expect to find in the dictionary?6 or 2Why 2?But if we mean how many actual word forms the answer will be 2 (the, and). Look it up and see!
11Can you answer this question? Q. Do sentences grow on trees? A. Yes Why?Sentences are structured strings of words.One way to show that sentences have structure is to identify which words go together to form units. So ‘on trees’ is a unit (Where do sentences grow?); so is ‘grow on trees’ (What do sentences do?) and so is ‘sentences’ (what grow on trees?).
12Syntax Sentences also grow on trees like this… S NP VP N V PP P NP N
13SyntaxKeySSentenceNNPNounNoun PhraseVVPVerbVerb PhrasePPPPrepositionPreposition PhraseThe relations of words in sentences is from a branch of Linguistics called ‘Syntax’
14zzz Can you answer this question? Q. Can colourless green ideas sleep furiously?A. Yes and no!Why yes?Yes… because this sentence is grammatically correct – that is the nouns, verbs, adjectives are in the right place for an English sentence.
15zzz Can you answer this question? Q. Can colourless green ideas sleep furiously?A. Yes and no!Why no?No…because you can’t make sense of it in the ‘real world’. This demonstrates that it is not grammar alone that makes a sentence sensible, but the context in which it is created. In the ‘real world’ a colour can’t be colourless and an idea can’t be green.The world of the imagination is another matter, however!
16SemanticszzzThe branch of linguistics dealing with meaning is called Semantics.
17Can you answer this question? Q. Who taught you to speak? A. You did Why?You might think that it is your parents who taught you how to speak, but you have really taught yourself. Certainly your parents offer you the ‘model’ of the language or languages you are going to learn but you came into the world equipped with a kind of ready-made language processor that helped you to sort out how the language you were hearing actually worked.
18Working out the rulesHave you ever heard a child say ‘I didded it’ or ‘I bringed it’? What do you think is going on here? They won’t have heard their parents saying these words, so where did they come from?
19Language AcquisitionThis is the branch of Linguistics that studies the ways in which children learn language.
20Want to find out more?These examples are based on the "The collected works of the phantom linguist" which can be visited at:
21So what precisely is Linguistics? "Linguistics is the science of language. It is the subject whose practitioners devote their energy to understanding why human language is the way it is. They study the history, acquisition, structure, and use of as many languages as possible - It would be nice to study them all, but life's too short."(Crystal:
22So what precisely is Linguistics? Application of linguistic analysis can be extremely broad. For example:Speech and language impairment • language learning and teaching • language in new technologies • writing systems • dictionaries • translation • multilingual societies • communication between different social, cultural, ethnic groups • endangered languages • linguistic input to computer systems •…and many more!
23Sounds interesting but what career will it lead to? Careers that would relate directly to Linguistics include the following:• speech and language therapyteaching• information technology• translation and interpreting• publishingpublic relations• research• dictionary writing
24Sorry not interested in those! Don’t worry - Linguistics will provide you with many skills desirable in a variety of jobs and careers:• numeracy• logical thinking• data analysis• communication and presentation• critical thinking• working with others• use of IT
25Give me some examplesHere are some of the jobs that Linguistics graduates have gone onto:• advertising• journalism• TV presenting• voice coach• speech therapist• accountancy• forensics• counselling/social work
26But will Linguistics make me ‘special’? There are some particular skills that are associated with Linguistics that makes it ‘special’:• respect for accuracy• confidence in learning new systems• attention to form• understanding of human behaviour• good grasp of the language needed to describe language
27But will Linguistics make me ‘special’? Linguistics also requires a certain amount of hard thinking which might involve:• recognition and use of evidence• speculation• critical and logical thinking• building complex systems
28But will Linguistics make me ‘special’? Finally Linguistics might help you to become a more self-aware person by posing a number of questions such as:• How do I understand language?• How does language operate in my and other societies?• How might the language I use shape me as a person?
29What does the UU Language & Linguistics Course look like? BSc(Hons) Language and Linguistics includes:• Morphology and Syntax (Structure)• Phonetics and Phonology (Sound)• Semantics and Pragmatics (Meaning)• Language Acquisition• Sociolinguistics (Language and society)• Psycholinguistics (Language and the mind)Clinical Linguistics• Conversation and Discourse (Language in use)
30Language and Linguistics Course look like? What might yourLanguage and LinguisticsCourse look like?Language and Linguistics may be combined with a minor subject in the School of Communication.The subjects you can choose from are:• AdvertisingCommunicationCounsellingPublic RelationsFor all the possible combinations, seethe School of Communication website
31So what do students think of Linguistics? Some examples from first year students:I learnt a great amount ranging from the way we learn and develop our speech to the phonetic alphabetThe course was completely new, therefore everything was new and interestingThanks to syntax I understand how a sentence is madeFascinating – helps understanding of different languages
32So what do students think of Linguistics? Some other things students say they have gained:greater analytical skillsgreatly aided my understanding of English, also helped my library research skillsI learnt the phonetic alphabet which is quite useful in pronunciationI thought it was really interesting and helped loads with grammar
33Any famous Linguists? Yes, there are a few. Have you heard of them?: J.R.R. Tolkein - professor of Philology Historical Linguistics & author of...?Lord of the RingsNoam Chomsky - revolutionised Linguistics but is also noted for his radical ...?PoliticsJacob Grimm - philologist and co-author of ... ?Grimm's Fairy TalesAlexander Graham Bell - Linguist and inventor of …?the telephone
34Tell me more,more, more…! More ‘Why Study Linguistics’ links: ‘The collected works of the phantom linguist’:Linguistics courses:Produced by the Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies