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EngL 3601: Analysis of the English Language and Culture.

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1 EngL 3601: Analysis of the English Language and Culture

2 What is Linguistics? Linguistics is the scientific study of language Linguists are interested in language as: – a human phenomenon – a form of human communication – a way to study the human brain & mind – a tool to influence human thought – a system to shape and reinforce cultures/societies Linguistics is descriptive, not prescriptive

3 Linguistic Assumptions ● Language is a innate human phenomenon ● Distinction between the underlying system & individual linguistic acts ● Distinction between linguistic competence and linguistic performance ● No language system is more complex, logical, beautiful, etc than any other ● Primacy of speech/signing over writing ● Diversity is normal

4 Ways linguists examine language ● Biologically (neurolinguisitcs, psycholinguistics, phonetics) ● Sounds (phonetics, phonology) ● Structure & Rules (phonology, morphology, syntax) ● Meaning (morphology, semantics, pragmatics, sociolinguistics) ● Socially Uses (pragmatics, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics) ● Historical Changes

5 Brief history of linguistics ● Classical Studies – Grammar – Rhetoric – Philosophy ● Lexicography ● Grammarians ● Philology – study of changes in language through history via texts – relationships between languages

6 Brief history of linguistics (cont) ● De Saussure – lange vs parole – focus upon spoken language ● Bloomfield – corpus approach – descriptive grammars for individual lang ● Chomsky – rule-based approach – language universals – ling competence vs. performance ● Labov – connection between society and lang

7 Language... ● is arbitrary – no link between sign and signified ● is consistent – once established, must follow the rules ● is discrete – bigger parts are made up of smaller parts that are put together in a variety of ways

8 Language... ● is productive – can create new linguistic segments that follow rules; theoretically, no limits ● allows for displacement – can discuss things that aren't immediately there ● changes over time – new words, different syntax, etc

9 Language... ● is diverse – languages, dialects, registers, idiolects ● is a mental phenomenon – brain figures out rules ● language areas and aphasias ● sign vs speaking; learning L2 ● is a social phenomenon – need stimulus to learn; communication – social identity

10 How we'll proceed ● Phonetics & Phonology ● Morphology ● Syntax ● Semantics ● Pragmatics ● Language Acquisition ● Language Families ● History of English Language ● Language Diversity ● Sociolinguistics ● Literacy, Literature, etc.

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