2 Linguistics and Linguists: Definition: The scientific study of languagegives a better understanding of the nature of human languageContributes to our understanding of human mindLinguists:are scientists who study the general properties of grammars - the universal properties found in all languages - and the specific properties of the grammars of individual languages
3 Definitions: Speech: is the oral expression of language Language: is a shared system of symbols and rules that allow us to represent concepts and experiences and to communicate with others. Language is arbitrary, creative and learned.Communication: is the process of sharing thoughts, ideas, attitudes, feelings and desires with others.
4 What is LANGUGE? Introduction: Whatever people may do when they come together -they talkTalk to friends, family members, strangers.., to ourselvesThe possession of language, distinguishes humans from other animals.Philosophy (myth): it is the language which is the source of human life and power
5 (Cont’d) What is LANGUGE? Introduction:To understand our humanity one must understand the language that makes us humanWhen we study human language, we are approaching what some might call “human essence,” the distinctive qualities of mind that are, so far as we know, unique to manNoam Chomsky
6 What does it mean to know a language? It means to be able to speak and to be understood by others who know that languageWhich means to be able to produce sounds which signify certain meanings and to understand or interpret the sounds produced by othersDeaf persons produce and understand signs
7 How is it possible for you to do this? Is there anything more that you know when you have acquired knowledge of a language?
8 If you know language, you know which sounds are part of the language and which are notKnowledge The way speakers of one language pronounce words from another languageE.g. French people speaking English pronounce words like (This, That) as Zis and Zatthis is because the English sound which begins these words is not part of the French sound system mispronunciation reveals the knowledge
9 If you know language, you know which sounds may start a word, end a word, and follow each othername Nkrumah; Ghanaian (Nng)English (N en)that certain sounds or sound sequences signify or represent different concepts or “meanings”i.e. you know the system which relates sounds and meaningse.g. foreign language--> sounds spoken mean nothing
10 E.g.Sounds (House) signify the concept French maison; Russian dom◊ sounds of words are only given meaning by the language in which they occur◊ particular sound sequences which seem to relate to particular conceptEx. gl (sight) in English, and not have to do with sight in another languageglitter, glossy, glance, glimpse….
11 When you know language, you would be able to combine words to form phrases, and phrases to form sentences.This is because, knowing a language means being able to produce new sentences never spoken before and to understand sentences never heard beforeE.g. different responses and say different things when someone steps on our toesThis ability is referred to it as the “creative aspect” of language useNoam Chomsky
12 When you know language, you Know what sentences are appropriate in various situationsE.g. inappropriate to say “Hamburger costs 98 cents a pound” after someone has just stepped on your toe during a discussion on the weather in Britaincan recognize and understand and produce new sentencesE.g. writing an essay, exam, letter
13 When you know language, you you must know some “rules” to form the sentencesThese rules mustbe (a) finite in length and (b) finite in numberso they can be stored in our finite brainsPermit us to form and understand an infinite set of new sentencesLanguage consists of all the sounds, words, and possible sentences. Knowledge of a language is knowledge of the sounds, the words, and the rules for their combination.
14 What you know and what you do Our linguistic ability permits us to form longer and longer sentences which is illustrated by piling up adjectiveslimit No. of adjectives to 3,5,18 in speakingVscan not limit the No. of adjectives which one could add if one wanted toi.e. there is a difference between having the necessary knowledge to produce such sentencesand the way we use this knowledge when we are performing linguisticallywhat one knows linguistic competencehow one uses this knowledge in actual behavior linguistic performance
15 Linguistic Competence and Performance You have the competence to understand or produce an infinitely long sentence.But when you attempt to use that knowledge-when you perform linguistically- there are physiological and psychological reasons why you cut off the number of adjectives, adverbs, clauses, and so on.Run out of breathAudience may leaveYou may lose track of what has been said if the sentence is too long
16 Linguistic Competence and Performance (Cont’d) In using our knowledge of language in speaking we also make mistakes –slips of the tongue, false starts, and so on. But this does not mean that we can’t recognize errors – we have the knowledge to do so.
17 What is Grammar?The elements and rules of a language constitute the grammarThe grammar is what we know it represents our linguistic competenceThere may be differences between the knowledge that one speaker has and that of another. But there must be shared knowledge because it is this grammar which makes it possible for speakers to talk to and understand one another.
18 (Cont’d) What is Grammar? Although the rules of your grammar may differ from the rules of someone else’s grammar, there can’t possibly be a mistake in your grammar because no language or variety of a language (dialect) is superior to any other in a linguistic senseEvery grammar is equally complex and logical and capable of producing an infinite set of sentences to express any thought one might wish to express◊ If something can be expressed in one language or one dialect, it can be expressed in any other language or dialect
19 What is Grammar? (Cont’d) The grammar includes everything speakers know about their languagethe sound system (PHONOLOGY)the system of meanings (SEMANTICS)the rules of sentence formulation (SYNTAX)Many think of the grammar of a language as referring solely to the syntactic rules
20 What is Grammar? (Cont’d) Laws which pertain to all languages:Represent the universal properties of languageConstitute what may be called a “universal grammar”Language Universals:Linguistic universals: is concerned with the sound systems of language.Every grammar, for ex., includes discrete sound segments, like p, n, or a, which can all be defined by a finite set of “sound properties”
21 Language Universals (Cont’d) Phonological universals: reveal that every language has both “vowels” and “consonants” and rules which determine the pronunciation of sentencesSemantic universals: pertain to common semantic properties such as “male,” “female,” “animate,” “human,” and “concrete,” which are found in all languagesSyntax universals: reveal the ways in which sentences are formed.
22 Language components: Form (Phonology – Morphology – Syntax) Content (Semantics)Use (pragmatics)Phonology: Aspect of language concerned with the rules governing the structure, distribution and sequencing of speech sound patternsMorphology: Aspect of language concerned with the rules governing change in meaning at the intraword levelSyntax: Organizational rules specifying word order, sentence organization and word relationshipsSemantics: Aspect of language concerned with the rules governing the meaning or content of wordsPragmatics: Aspect of language concerned with language use within a communication context