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Summary_Handout_01 - Ling 1000 6.0 01 Introduction to...

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Unformatted text preview: Ling. 1000 6.0 01 Introduction to Linguistics 1. Language and Linguistics Language is a representational system that is used to convey meaning or thought. Shared properties of all natural human languages include the following: 0 characterized by an arbitrary sound-meaning relationship (or, arbitrary gesture-meaning relationship in the case of signed languages) - a creative and productive system 0 governed by systematic rules and constraints 0 variable across groups of speakers and subject to change over time The goal of linguistics is to describe and explain a native speaker’s knowledge of language. This knowledge is referred to as linguistic (or grammatical) competence. A formal description of a speaker’s grammatical competence is called a linguistic grammar. 2. Components of a Linguistic Grammar Knowledge of language can be characterized as the set of principles, rules and constraints governing the combination, pronunciation and interpretation of a set of basic lexical forms that speakers of a language memorize. Grammar in this sense involves knowledge of at least the following basic properties: 0 the articulatory and acoustic properties of human speech sounds - the rules and constraints that govern variation in the pronunciation of speech sounds - the rules and constraints that govern the formation of words 0 the rules and constraints that govern the manner in which words can be combined to form phrases and sentences - the rules and constraints that govern the interpretation of words and sentences Each of these properties forms the basis of a separate area of linguistic study, phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics, respectively. 3. Descriptive Grammar vs. Prescriptive Grammar In the study of language, a distinction is made between descriptive grammar and prescriptive grammar. A descriptive approach to language study attempts to describe systematic properties of actual usage. Prescriptivism, on the other hand, is characterized by a list of rules that attempt to limit variation and change by establishing a normative pattern of perceived proper usage. Rules of this type do not form part of a speaker’s tacit knowledge of their language (since they must be learned through overt instruction rather than merely being acquired) and for this reason are not included in the linguistic description of a language. 4. Types of Linguistic Grammar Linguistics as a discipline is concerned with describing both the variety of structural differences between individual languages as well as the systematic features that are common to all languages. A description of the set of linguistic features of a specific language (eg. English, French, Vietnamese, Zulu, Navajo etc.) is referred to as a reference grammar. A description of the set of linguistic properties that is characteristic of all languages is referred to as universal grammar (or UG). 0 Associated Reading Chapter 1 pp. 3-27 ...
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