Exam notes.docx - Linguistics Linguistics is the scientific...

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Linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of a language. Language can be 1) a means of communication; 2) a symbolic system; 3) a marker of a social group to which a speaker belongs; 4) an important aspect of culture; or 5) a code that must be cracked by the language learner. Linguistics looks at the structure and function of language at the following levels: Phonetic/phonological level – describes sounds of words Morphological level – smallest meaningful elements of a word Syntactic – word order and grammar Semantic level - meaning Pragmatic level – how language is actually used Linguists make assumptions about language by observing speakers and base it on living speech. In order to understand language change it is important to understand the social and historical contexts in which it occurs. Sociolinguistics is the study of the relationship between language and society in its historical dimension. 1 Language Change First humans appeared 40 000 years ago, written language began in 3000 BC. Sociolinguists believe that changes in language are closely related to changes in society and are in a constant process of change. Language change affects all levels of language including Phonetic, morphological, syntactic, semantic and pragmatic. Language change is when languages adapt and reflect the new realities of their speakers as they live through changing times. Are is now used instead of art. Language contact can give rise to language shift – where a linguistic community changes from the habitual use of one language to another. Language shift affects minority languages as minority languages do not usually have the same social, political and economic advantages
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Phonological changes are sound changes that occur in languages usually to make words easier to pronounce. Spelling often remains a clue to earlier pronunciation. The B in limb used to be pronounced. Ferre to bear can still be seen in ferry. Languages can be written down and written forms can be standardised . This means that over time written form develops certain norms of spelling, punctuation and grammar that are considered “correct”. Semantic change is when the meaning of words and linguistic expressions changes over time becoming broader, narrower or shifting completely. The alteration of meaning occurs because words are constantly used and what is intended by speakers is not exactly the same each time If a different intention for a word is shared by the speech community and becomes established in usage then a semantic change has occurred. - Broadening means that the meaning of a word is expanded to refer to ‘more’ than it did previously .For example, ‘tweet’ (which used to mean the chirping sound that a bird makes) has now been broadened to include a ‘post’ made on the social media application Twitter.
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  • Summer '19
  • scientific study of a language

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