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Introduction to language
- Definition and concept

The communication process

Componen6s of language
- semantics
- phonology
- morphology
- syntax
- pragmatics

Factors affecting language learning / acquisition


Current issues regarding language and language

i. Understand the definition and concept of language
ii. Identify aspects of language acquisition and
language learning
iii. Explain the communication process
iv. Identify the components of language
v. Explain factors affecting language learning
Definition of language

• the method of human communication, either

spoken or written, consisting of the use of words
in a structured and conventional way.
• the system of communication used by a particular
community or country
• human system of communication that uses
arbitrary signals, such as voice sounds, gestures,
and/or written symbols.
Concept of language

language is what
• Language is the expression of ideas by
means of speech-sounds combined into enables us to utter
words. Words are combined into sentences, distinct sounds, join
this combination answering to that of ideas
into thoughts.( Henry Sweet) them into words &
• A language is a system of arbitrary vocal into meaningful
symbols by means of which a social group sentences for the
cooperates. (Bernard Bloch and George L.
Trager)"A purpose of
• language is a system of signs for encoding communicating our
and decoding information." (wikipedia) ideas and thoughts
What is Communication

• Process of sending and receiving messages

i. Sender (idea)
ii. Message (encoded)
iii. Channel (transmission format)
iv. Receiver (decodes)
v. Feedback (reaction)
• Components of the communication process include a
sender, encoding of a message, selecting of a channel of
communication, receipt of the message by the receiver
and decoding of the message. Sometimes, the receiver
will send a message back to the original sender, which is
called feedback.
Communication Process
Goal of communication
To convey information

The understanding of that information

—from one person or group to
another person or group

Communication process is divided into three basic components:

A sender transmits a message through a channel to the receiver.
Phonology: The study of speech
structure within a language, including
both the patterns of basic speech units
& the accepted rules of pronunciation
Phonemes: smallest units of sound
that make up a language
Phonemes of English

The study of the sound system of

Linguist attempt to identify the phonemes
of a language and the rules (or constraints)
that govern the combination and
pronunciation of these phonemes
The study of words and how they are
Determine how sounds can be put together
to make words; govern the structure of
Morphemes : smallest units of meaning in
a language
Free morpheme: can stand on its own as a
word with meaning
Bound morpheme: cannot stand alone but
has meaning only when it is attached to
other morphemes: Prefixes – un, pre, il, &
suffixes – able, ing, s
Allomorphs : ‘s’ sometimes pronounced
/s/ (cats) & sometimes /z/ (dogs)
The study of how individual words and their most basic
meaningful units are combined to create sentences.
As words are grouped together when we communicate-
must follow rules of grammar for our language.
it is the knowledge of syntax that allows us to recognize
that the following 2 sentences, while containing different
word order & levels of complexity, have the same
- The boy hit the ball
- The ball was hit by the boy
SYNTAX: phrase structure rules

1. The dog is running

The – article, dog – noun, is –auxiliary verb,
running - main verb
S = NP + VP
NP = Art + N
VP = Aux + V
SYNTAX: phrase structure rules
2. The girl is reading a book.
S = NP + VP
NP = Art + N
VP = Aux + V + NP
NP = Art + N
SYNTAX: surface structure and deep structure
Go to bed!
Surface structure : what we actually hear =
Go to bed!
Deep structure : underlying linguistic
structure of the utterance = You go to bed.

Semantics; the study of the meaning of

words/ language.
It also deals with varieties and changes in
the meaning of words, phrases, sentences
and text.
Semantics Examples:

Multiple Meanings
• A water pill at first glance could be a pill with water in it;
but, it is understood to be a diuretic that causes a person
to lose water from his body.
• Paying a child for chores may be considered a bribe or
simply incentive.
• Some see the glass half empty and others see the glass
half full
Words Without Meanings

• Cleans like a white tornado

• Do you have tired blood
• Go for the gusto
The use of language for communication
The use of language to express one’s
intentions and to get things done in the
world (Gleason, 2009)
Includes the study of rules that govern the
use of language for social interaction (rules
governing the reasons for communicating;
rules that determine the choice of codes
used in communication)
“Can you come to the table?” (indirect
speech act: an utterance for which the
syntactic form does not match the
communicative intention)
“Yes” (not moving to the table)
“Please come to the table now?”
(go to the table)
Every utterance is a speech act
Include the study of rules of conversation –
the relation principle (Grice, 1975)
- a respond must be relevant to the topic
- quantity of information provided
- quality of that information (truthfulness)
- manner (directness)
(can be difficult for children)
Include the study of rules of conversation –
the relation principle (Grice, 1975)
Level of politeness differ in the home setting
as compared with that of the school (Bryant,
Require an understanding of people and their
social environment
Factors affecting language
learning/ acquistion

Is the child being forced to learn, or do they want to learn the


• When a child understands the importance of understanding a

language and can see how it directly applies to their life, they
learn faster.
• a contextual, theme-based curriculum can help get students more
excited to dive into language learning. When they are interested in
learning a language and they see meaningful connections to their
lives, they begin to take risks to produce language, which helps
them to acquire it faster.
Support at Home

Is another language spoken at the child’s home? What’s

their exposure level to different languages?

• exposure - important factor in language comprehension

and acquisition.
• If a child’s family only speaks one language, are they able
to provide help when the student needs it? It also matters
how much value parents place in learning an additional
• Parents who prioritize language learning are more likely to
push their child to keep trying even when it feels difficult.
Learning Environment

How does the child feel in the classroom?

• Another key factor is how comfortable students feel in

their language learning environment.
• Does their classroom feel cold and tense, or positive and
• What’s the school’s culture and beliefs about language
• student’s learning environment has an impact on their
motivation—a low anxiety language learning environment
increases the chance for acquisition.
• Noise, temperature and uncomfortable seating- can cause
us to focus our attention on other factors beside what the
speaker is saying.
• Try to control environment factors whenever possible.
• Try adjusting the fan/ a/c, finding another seat, or moving
to a quiet place to continue the conversation.
• It is hard to focus attention when we are constantly
distracted by outside forces.
Student Personality

Is the student introverted or extroverted?

• A student’s personality can affect how they learn a second

• More introverted students have been shown to take longer to
acquire a language because they’re more hesitant to make
• Extroverted students,- more likely to go out on a limb and try out
their newly learned vocabulary.
• To ensure that both personality types succeed,create an
environment where students understand that mistakes are part of
the learning process and it’s more important to speak than to be

• Students with greater cognitive abilities will make the

faster progress
• some linguists believe that there is a specific, innate
language learning ability that is stronger in some students
than in others

How old is a student when they start learning a foreign


• While students of all ages can learn a foreign language,

there is consensus that certain aspects are affected by
the age of the learner.
• It becomes harder for students to have native
pronunciation from the teen years. Some students also
find that it’s more difficult to fully acquire a foreign
language as they get older, but this isn’t true of everyone.