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《英语语言学纲要》笔记(1)Chapter 1 Introduction: Language and Linguistics

2008年12月08日  所属:英语语言学  来源:完美学社  作者:英语语言学纲要

《英语语言学纲要》课件要点(1)。

Linguistics
Chapter 1 Introduction: Language and Linguistics
 What is language?

 Different definitions of language
 Language is a system whose parts can and must be considered in their synchronic solidarity. (de Saussure, 1916)
 [Language is] a set (finite or infinite) of sentences, each finite in length and constructed out of a finite set of elements. (Chomsky, 1957)
 Language is a purely human and non-instinctive method of communicating ideas, emotions and desires by means of voluntarily produced symbols.
 Each of the definitions above has pointed out some aspects of the essence of language, but all of them have left out something. We must see the multi-faceted nature of language.
 As is agreed by linguists in broad terms, language can be defined as a system of arbitrary vocal symbols used for human communication.

 Features of human language

 Creativity
 Language provides opportunities for sending messages that have never been sent before and for understanding brand new messages.
 The grammar rules and the words are finite, but the sentences are infinite. Every speaker uses language creatively.
 Duality
 Language contains two subsystems, one of sounds and the other of meanings.
 Certain sounds or sequences of sounds stand for certain meanings.
 Certain meanings are conveyed by certain speech sounds or sequences of speech sounds.
 Arbitrariness
 The relationship between the two subsystems of language is arbitrary.
 There is no logical connection between sound and meaning.
 Displacement
 There is no limit in time or space for language.
 Language can be used to refer to things real or imagined, past, present or future.
 Cultural transmission
 Culture cannot be genetically transmitted. Instead, it must be learned.
 Language is a way of transmitting culture.
 Interchangeability
 All members of a speech community can send and receive messages.
 Reflexivity
 Human languages can be used to describe themselves.
 The language used to talk about language is called meta-language.

 Functions of language – three meta-functions

 The ideational function
 To identify things, to think, or to record information.
 The interpersonal function
 To get along in a community.
 The textual function
 To form a text.

 Types of language

 Genetic classification
 Typological classification
 Analytic language – no inflections or formal changes, grammatical relationships are shown through word order, such as Chinese and Vietnamese
 Synthetic language – grammatical relationships are expressed by changing the internal structure of the words, typically by changing the inflectional endings, such as English and German
 Agglutinating language – words are built out of a long sequence of units, with each unit expressing a particular grammatical meaning, such as Japanese and Turkish

 The myth of language – language origin

 The Biblical account
 Language was God’s gift to human beings.
 The bow-wow theory
 Language was an imitation of natural sounds, such as the cries of animals, like quack, cuckoo.
 The pooh-pooh theory
 Language arose from instinctive emotional cries, expressive of pain or joy.
 The yo-he-ho theory
 Language arose from the noises made by a group of people engaged in joint labour or effort – lifting a huge hunted game, moving a rock, etc.
 The evolution theory
 Language originated in the process of labour and answered the call of social need.

 What is linguistics?

 Linguistics is the scientific study of language.
 Observing & questioning
 Formulating hypotheses
 Verifying the hypotheses
 Proposing a theory
 Branches of linguistics
 Internal branches: intra-disciplinary divisions
 Phonetics
 Phonology
 Morphology
 Syntax
 Semantics
 External branches: inter-disciplinary divisions
 Pragmatics
 Psycholinguistics
 Sociolinguistics
 Applied linguistics
 Computational linguistics
 Neurolinguistics
 Features of linguistics
 Descriptive
 Dealing with spoken language
 Synchronic


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