L7J19 - Lecture 7 (19/01/11) Language Reality is...

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Lecture 7 (19/01/11) Language Reality is discontinuous Language is systematic, a word means something b/c its related to and distinct from some other word So we need to understand the system in order to understand the elements We can identify languages which are coherent systems… we know they aren’t any invariance o Meaning there is actually lots of variation – particularly regional, ex. Dialects Inter-intelligibility – do people who speak 2 different languages/dialect… are they able to understand each other o Can this be defined purely in linguistic terms? It has a lot of social and personality elements in it o Ex. Circumstances where people say “I don’t understand French” but they are able to follow conversations well (or vice-versa) What constitutes a separate language is very affected by social considerations o Ex. Everyone agrees Dutch and German are separate languages, but if we look at the variety of Germanic languages… Dutch is very similar, but given history we do not say that Dutch is a different version of German One has to make the distinction btw vernacular languages (what people speak in formal settings) and informal ways one expresses themselves (which can be very different in words and grammar) When people meet, they may not speak the same language and they choose to speak to each other in a third language that then becomes the language of communication over large areas this is called… o LINGUAFRANCA – first language of someone but then is used over a large area as a means of communication o Ex. Roman empire – Greek was the linguafranca, it was what everyone knew across the Empire and used it to communicate to each other English has become a linguafranca, interesting b/c they develop the life of their own… even though it’s based on someone’s first language, when they’re use as a linguafranca, there are some words that will be dropped, others that will become more common and apply to the language specifically as a linguafranca There have been cases where there has been a conscious social engineering to take a linguafranca and have it take a standard form o Ex. Indonesia – national language of that area, based on Malaise… when it was
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L7J19 - Lecture 7 (19/01/11) Language Reality is...

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