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An Introduction to Linguistics. Some Approaches to the Study of Language  Ancient Indian thinkers paid a good deal of attention to the nature of language;

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Presentation on theme: "An Introduction to Linguistics. Some Approaches to the Study of Language  Ancient Indian thinkers paid a good deal of attention to the nature of language;"— Presentation transcript:

1 An Introduction to Linguistics

2 Some Approaches to the Study of Language  Ancient Indian thinkers paid a good deal of attention to the nature of language; Panini ’ s Ashta:dhya:yi: is a significant work in the tradition.  Saussure ’ s concept of language (Early 20 th Century)  Austin ’ s use-theory of language (1962)  Chomsky ’ s biolinguistic assumptions (1957 onwards)

3 Saussure ’ s Concepts about Language  Diachrony vs. Synchrony  Langue vs. Parole  Signifier vs. Signified  Associative vs. Syntagmatic Relation

4 Diachrony vs. Synchrony  Diachrony Studying a language at two different points of time; relating two different stages of a language  Synchrony Studying a language as a complete system at a particular point of time

5 Langue vs. Parole  Langue The ‘ system ’ of a language exists in a speech community, in the collectivity; it is shared by all the speakers of that speech community  Parole An individual ’ s use of the system of ‘ langue ’

6 Signifier vs. Signified

7 Signifier-Signified Relationship  Signifier The sound/utterance which is related to a ‘concept’  Signified The ‘concept’ which is related to the sound/utterance  The signifier and the signified are not separable; together, they form a sign.  The relation between the signifier and the signified is not natural, but arbitrary. Thus, languages are different from one another

8 Language as a Form  Language is a form shaping both thought and utterance simultaneously.

9 Associative vs. Syntagmatic Relation  Associative Relation  A sign is associated with other signs of a language by similarity and difference. The associated signs are in a set of choices.  Syntagmatic Relation  A sign occurs with other signs in a chain (e.g. in a phrase or in a sentence).  Language is organised by selecting from a set of choices of signs to a chain of signs.

10 Some examples of the relations 1)The old man 2)The young man 3)The tall man  In (1), the sign old is in syntagmatic relation with the and man  As (2) and (3) show, the sign old in (1), is associated with young and tall, and is substitutable by them.  The associative relations are not visible in a construction; they are related in absentia; the syntagmatic relations are in presentia.  Concept of sign applies to every unit of a language, such as a phoneme, a morpheme, etc.

11 Austin ’ s Use-theory of Language (How to Do Things with Words)  Language does not merely refer to things; it is used in the society to perform certain communicative functions.  The use theory of language attempts to arrive at a restricted set of conditions for the language use.  Using language means doing things

12 Utterance types  Constative vs. Performative  Constative Constative utterances are statements; their function is to describe some event, process or state-of-affairs; and they (or the propositions expressed by them) have the property of being either true or false.  Performative Performative utterances, by contrast, have no truth value; they are used to do something, rather than to say something is or is not the case. They refer to the fact of their own successful performance.

13 Speech Acts Locutionary,Illocutionary and Perlocutionary Acts  Locutionary act Uttering noise you know have meaning  Illocutionary act Utterance invokes a conventional force. Doing something in saying something. Some examples :  Asking a question  Making a promise  Making an appeal  Perlocutionary act Utterance brings about an effect on the hearer. Doing something by saying something. Some examples:  Warn someone  Persuade someone

14 Generative Grammar and Chomsky ’ s Biolinguistic Assumptions Language is a biological endowment  It is innate  It interacts with other cognitive systems

15 Innateness  As a part of our brain, there is a Faculty of Language (FL).  A human child is born with innate biological abilities to learn any human language.  A child does not “learn” language but it matures by being exposed to the linguistic environment, in the same way as the vision matures. In both the cases the innate biological abilities mature.

16 Some Speculations about FL  FL is relatively a recent biological development.  The basic nature of the FL is symbolic; it has no direct correspondence to physical objects.  Its development may not be strictly for communication. (Chomsky, 2004)

17  FL has an Initial State: L 0  The L 0 can be modified. But, the possible modifications are highly regulated.  L 0 is modified with the exposure to the target Language.  L 1, L 2, L 3 …. are modifiable states; they correspond to different natural languages.  A natural language is an instantiation of one such modifiable states of L 0 FL: Its Initial State and Modifications

18  The set of initial properties available to the L 0 is called the set of principles.  The set of variations possible within the principles are called parameters, which allow the languages to be different from one another.  This approach in generative grammar is called the ‘ Principles and Parameters ’ (PP) approach. Principles and Parameters

19  To account for a particular language the grammar has to meet ‘ Descriptive Adequacy ’.  To account for the L 0, the Universal Grammar (UG), the grammar has to meet ‘ Explanatory Adequacy ’. Adequacies

20 The Architecture  The Faculty of Language (FL) interfaces with two other systems; they are:  Sensory Motor (Articulatory-Perceptual) system  it is expressed by the Phonetic Form (PF)  Systems of thought (Conceptual-Intentional system)  It is expressed by the Logical Form (LF) FL PF LF

21 FL should be Legible to Other Systems  For FL to be usable by the PF and LF interface systems, it should be legible to them  Language is an optimal solution to legibility conditions. (Chomsky, 2002)

22 What principles are available to the Faculty of Language?  A possible Principle:  The Structure Dependency  Language shows a hierarchical structural organisation.  So an underlying structures has to be assumed behind the linear sequence of elements.

23 Thank you


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