1.1 Why Study Language The importance of studying language: The question can be examined from two sides: the positive side (point 1 and 2) and the negative one(point 3) 1.To know the facts about language (p.1-2) 2.To solve the problems in the other fields which are closely related with language (p.2) 3.To avoid conflicts between different racial, ethnic, socio-economic groups (p.1) ……
1.2 What Is Language 1.2 What Is Language 1. human speech /language is human-specific. 2. the ability to communicate by this means 3. a system of vocal sounds to which meaning is attributed 4. the written representation of such a system
1.3 Design Features of Language 1.3.1 Arbitrariness Saussure: The forms of linguistic signs bear no natural relationship to their meaning. (1) Arbitrary relationship between the sound of a morpheme( a word) and its meaning Desk and the specific object Onomatopoeic words ： “Ouch” and “ 哎哟 ”
(2) Arbitrariness at the syntactic level （ a ） He came in and sat down. （ b ） He sat down and came in. （ c ） He sat down after he came in. (a) and (c) are different in forms, but they convey the similar meaning. This says the arbitrariness at the syntactic level. (a) and (b) are different both in forms and meanings. This shows a sentence form communicates a certain meaning, so syntax is not so arbitrary than words.
（ 3 ） Arbitrariness and convention (non- arbitrariness) Language is both arbitrary and conventional. Arbitrariness makes language potentially creative, and conventionality of language makes learning a language laborious. The conventionality of language is more worth noticing than its arbitrariness.
1.3.2 Duality Language structure is of two levels, the meaningless sounds ( the secondary level ) and the meaningful sound combinations ( the primary level ) eg. In Chinese, a, o, e, ……b, p, m, ……are meaningless, but if they are combined together by following certain rules, the combinations will carry meanings.
Language is hierarchical ( language is stratified) ↓Sounds ↓Syllables ↓Morphemes ↓Words ↓Sentences / utterances ↓Texts / discourses
1.3.3 Creativity Creativity means language is resourceful because of its duality and its recursiveness. The creativity of language partly originates from its duality, the duality of language enables the speaker to combine the basic linguistic units to form an infinite set of sentences, most of which are never before produced or heard. Language is creative in another sense, that is, its potential to create endless sentences. The recursivness of language provides a theoretical basis for this possibility. eg: He bought a book which was written by a teacher who taught in a school which was known for its graduates who ….
1.3.4 Displacement Displacement means language can go over the limits of time, space, and talk about the real or imagined world. We can talk about things at present, in the past or in the future; We can talk about things happening before us, or happenings in a distant place; We can talk about things in the world we live in, we can do so also in an imagined world.
1.4 Origin of Language The creation by God The bow-wow theory: the imitation of natural sounds or onomatopoeic words The pooh-pooh theory: the instinctive sounds of pain, anger, and joy uttered by the primitive people in the hard life The yo-he-ho theory: the rhythmic grunts produced by the primitive people in working, gradually developed into chants and then into language.
1.5 Functions of Language The classification by Jakobson and the Prague school structuralists: Referential ( to convey message and information); 所指功能（指示功能） Poetic (to indulge in language for its own sake); 诗歌功能 Emotive (to express attitudes, feelings and emotions); 表情功能 Conative (to persuade and influence others through commands and requests); 意动功能 Phatic (to establish communion with others); 沟通功能 Metalingual function ( to clear up intentions and meanings). 元语言功能 They six correspond to the following communication elements as context, message, addresser, addressee, contact and code respectively.
The classification by Halliday: A. the metafunctions of language: Ideational （概念功能） Interpersonal （人际功能） Textual （篇章功能） B. the classification of children’s language Instrumental （工具功能） Regulatory （控制功能） Informative （信息功能） Interactional （交往功能） Personal （个人功能） Heuristic （启发功能） imaginative （想象功能）
The classification in this book course 1.5.1 Informative (ideational function) 1.5.2 Interpersonal Function 1.5.3 Performative 1.5.4 Emotive Function 1.5.5 Phatic Communion 1.5.6 Recreational Function 1.5.7 Metalingual Function (thematic function)
1.6 What Is Linguistics The scientific study of language. A major branch of human and social sciences as well. A subject of both practical and theoretical importance As a science, it now has a set of established theories, methods and sub- branches.
1.7 Main Branches of Linguistics 1.7.1 phonetics It studies speech sounds, including the production of speech, that is how speech sounds are actually made, transmitted and received, the description and classification of speech sounds, words, and connected speech, etc. Phones ( speech sounds ) are the subject for phonetic study.
1.7.2 Phonology It studies the rules governing the structure, distribution, and the sequencing of speech sounds and the shape of syllables. Phonemes are the subject for phonological study. It is the smallest linguistic unit of sound that can signal a difference in meaning.
The difference between Phonetics and Phonology Phonetics studies the speech sounds that the human voice is capable of creating whereas phonology studies a subset of those sounds that constitute language and meaning. The first focuses on chaos while the second focuses on order.
1.7.3 Morphology It studies the internal structure of words and the rules by which words are formed. Words can be broken into smaller meaningful units called phonemes. Morphemes is of two types: A: Morphemes which derive new words by changing the meaning or the part of speech; B: Morphemes which only refine and give extra grammatical information about the already existing meaning of a word. Languages differ in their degrees of dependence on the morphological components. Latin : depending more on morphological markers English : depending more on word order The dog bit the man. The man bit the dog.
1.7.4 Syntax It studies how words are grouped into sentences both grammatically and lexically meaningful. * I eggs and eat for drink coffee breakfast. I eat eggs and drink coffee for breakfast. * We will went to Beijing tomorrow. ( lexical but not grammatical) * Sincerity shook hands with the black apples. ( grammatical but not lexical)
1.7.5 Semantics It studies the meaning of language out of context, in isolation, without considering the non-linguistics factors. ( non-linguistic factors: time, place, people, and the relation of the speaker and the hearer, and the other background information) When we talk about the meaning of language, we mean the meaning on the three different levels: the meanings of morphemes, the meanings of words, the meanings of sentences. Some key concepts in semantics: semantic components, denotation of words, sense relations between words such as antonymy and synonymy, sense relations between sentences such as entailment and presupposition ….
1.7.6 Pragmatics It studies the meaning of language within context, or taking the non-linguistic factors into account. Key concepts in pragmatics: reference, force, effect, and cooperative principles. Conversation includes sequential organization, repair of errors, role and speech acts. Organization of conversation embraces taking turns, opening, maintaining and closing a conversation, establishing and maintaining a topic etc.