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Lecture 2

What Is Linguistics
Definition of linguistics
Branches of linguistics
Important distinctions in linguistics

Linguistics is the scientific study of
= Looking at patterns and systems in
Branches of linguistics
Phonetics is the study of speech
(Refer to handout)
Phonology studies the sound system of
languages. The aim of phonology is to
demonstrate the patterns of
distinctive sounds found in a language,
and to make as general statements as
possible about the nature of sound
systems in the languages of the world.
The object of study in phonology is
Morphology studies the formation of
words, that is, how words are formed
from smaller units of meaning
morphemes. Morphemes are the
minimal units of meaning. They can be
used to derive words and to give
grammatical information about a
Languages differ in their degree of dependence on
morphological components.

English: Boy: Im a student.
Girl: Im a student.
Boys: Were students.
Girls: Were students.
French: Garon: Je suis tudiant.
Fille: Je suis tudiante.
Garons: Nous sommes tudiants.
Filles: Nous sommes tudiantes.

Syntax studies the rules that govern the
formation of sentences from words. These
rules specify word order, sentence
organization, and the relationship between
word order, word classes and other
sentence elements.

Emma loaded the groceries into the car.
Emma loaded the car with groceries.

Semantics is the study of meaning.
Its not only concerned with the
meaning of words, but also that of
morphemes and of sentences.
Pragmatics is the study of meaning in
It deals with specific utterances in
specific situations.
linguistics and psychology

Sociolinguistics language and society

Applied linguistics - linguistics and language

Psycholinguistics studies the correlation between
linguistic behavior and the psychological
processes thought to underlie that behavior: (a)
the mental process that a person uses in
producing and understanding language, and (b) how
humans learn language.
cognitive linguistics
the study of language development in the child

Sociolinguistics studies all aspects of the
relationship between language and society.
It includes studies on the social functions
of language and the social characteristics
of its users. = change in language due to
social conditions.

Applied linguistics
In the broad sense, applied linguistics is
concerned with the application of linguistic
theories and findings to the clarification and
solution of language problems which have arisen in
other areas of experience.
But the most well-developed branch of applied
linguistics the teaching and learning of foreign
= This is what we are doing!

This is a branch that studies language variation
and use in relation to the cultural patterns and
beliefs of man, as investigated using the theories
and methods of anthropology.

Did English and German diverge from a common
ancestral language? If they are related, how far
back in time did they begin to differ?
= Etymology

Competence and performance
Competence---- a persons knowledge of his language,
the system of rules which he has mastered so
that he is able to produce and understand an
indefinite number of sentences, and to recognize
grammatical mistakes and ambiguities.
Performance---the actual realization of language
knowledge, language seen as a set of specific
utterances produced by language speakers, as
encountered in a corpus.
D. H. Hymes: communicative competence
M. A. K. Halliday: Linguistic potential and actual
linguistic behavior

Formalism or formal
The study of the abstract forms of
language and their internal relations.
It fixes on the forms of languages as
evidence of the universals without
considering how these forms function in
communication and the ways of social life
in different communities.
Representative: Noam Chomsky,
Transformational-generative grammar
(universal grammar)
Colour code the linguistic wheel
correctly on the worksheet.
Using the information given produce
your own poster to illustrate aspects
of Linguistics and your understanding
of it.
Finish this off for homework!