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Anna Moro

Linguistics Introduction 9/11/2013 8:32:00 AM What is linguistics?  Scientific study of language  The study of how language is organized and used  Descriptive vs. prescriptive grammar o Prescriptive – what someone should or shouldn’t say What is language?  Ability to communicate feelings, ideas, thoughts, information is possible because of language  Language is a “modular system” o Speakers understand and product language using several subsystems or modules at the same time What is language?  Key subsystems (English language has 14 vowel sounds)  Phonetics o Production & interpretation of sounds  Phonology o Patterning of sounds  Morphology o Words (the structure of units that form words)  Syntax o Sentences (the structure of larger units)  Semantics o Meaning  Discourse o Organization of language beyond the sentence Language is … very creative, and productive. Speakers produce new words, expressions, sentences out of existing units (that other speakers of that language will understand).  Rule-governed creativity o Language used governed by rules and constraints (what’s possible and what’s not possible) o Production and interpretation of new forms is not arbitrary (saying ‘that doesn’t sound right’ even if you don’t know why) Creativity in language  Creating verbs from expressions of time o She summered in Muskoka. o He wintered in Florida. o They honeymooned in Hawaii. o *They midnighted in New Orleans. o *He nooned at the bistro. o *She two o’clocked at the office.  Rule-governed creativity: sound combinations o Frip/plad/drad/blosk  Non-existent English terms; possible o *rfip/rplad/rdrad/rblosk  Non-existent; not possible Linguistic Competence  Grammatical Competence o Knowledge that enables speakers to create and understand words, phrases, sentences (the units)  Communicative competence o Knowledge that speakers have about the appropriate use of words, phrases, sentences (context, purpose) Grammar in linguistics  Core areas of grammar***************************** Language Myths 1. Only some languages have grammars  all languages have a system of sounds and rules governing how sounds pattern (phonetics &
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