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COURSE COVERAGE

• DEFINITIONS OF LANGUAGE
• DEFINITIONS OF LINGUISTICS
• BASIC ASPECTS OF LANGUAGE
• CHARACTERISTICS OF LANGUAGE
• UNITS OF LANGUAGE
• THE STUDY OF LANGUAGE
• THE SCOPE OF LINGUISTICS
• THE USE OF LANGUAGE
• THE ACQUISITION OF LANGUAGE

1 Linguistics 2012/YN
What is language?
• a systematic means of communicating by the use of
sounds or conventional symbols;
• speech: (language) communication by word of mouth;
• terminology: a system of words used to name things in
a particular discipline;
• linguistic process: the cognitive processes involved in
producing and understanding linguistic
communication;
• the mental faculty or power of vocal communication;
• lyric: the text of a popular song or musical-comedy
number.
(http://communicationnation.blogspot.com/2007/06/
what-is-language.html, retrieved December 18, 2007)


2 Linguistics 2012/YN
What is language
• A language is a system, used to communicate,
comprised of a set of symbols and a set of rules (or
grammar) by which the manipulation of these symbols
is governed. These symbols can be combined
productively to convey new information, distinguishing
languages from other forms of communication.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language, retrieved
December 18, 2007)
• The human use of spoken or written words as a
communication system. Language can also include a
system of communication based on signs, gestures, or
inarticulate sounds.
(http://www.edgateway.net/pub/docs/pel/glossary.ht
m, retrieved December 18, 2007)

3 Linguistics 2012/YN
What is language
• Language is many things: a system of
communication, a medium for thought, a
vehicle for literacy expression, a social
institution, a matter for political controversy, a
factor in nation building.
(William O’Grady & Michael Dobrovolsky)
Linguistics 2012/YN 4
What is linguistics
The scientific study of language and its
structure (Concise Oxford of English
Dictionary)
The systematic study of language
(Aitchison)
The study of human language (Fromkin,
et al.)



5 Linguistics 2012/YN
Basic Aspects of Language

• Sound (the study of sound of a language is
called phonetics and phonology)
• Meaning (the study of meaning of words is
called semantics)
• Form (the study of word form is called
morphology)
• Structure (the study of phrase/sentence
structure is called syntax)
6 Linguistics 2012/YN
Language Facts (1)
• Whenever humans exist language exists
• Uses sounds and signals
• Language has discrete sounds
• Arbitrariness (There is no relationship
between sound and meaning in most words)
• Duality (layers of units): Every language has a
class of vowels and a class of consonants
• Displacement: It can present things that
happen in past

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Language Facts (2)
• Creativity (productivity)
• Patterning
• Structure Dependence
• There are no primitive languages
• All languages change through time
• There are similar grammatical categories
• Every language has semantic universals

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Units of Language (1)
• Phoneme is any of the distinct units of sound
that distinguish one word from another
• Morpheme is a meaningful morphological unit
of a language that cannot be further divided
• Word is a single distinct meaningful element
of speech or writing, used to form sentences
with others

9 Linguistics 2012/YN
Units of Language (2)

• Phrase is a meaningful unit of grammatical
organization next below the sentence in rank.
• Clause is a unit of grammatical organization
next below the sentence in rank, and in
traditional grammar said to consist of a
subject and predicate.
• Paragraph is a distinct section of a piece of
writing, indicated by a new line, indentation,
or numbering
• Discourse is a text or conversation

Linguistics 2012/YN 10
Scope of Language Studies
11 Linguistics 2012/YN