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The Forms of Language.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Ivan Kalmar

January 31, 2013 The Forms of Language Outline~ - Levels of linguistic (language) form - Discourse analysis: text and context - Syntax: sentence structure - Morphology: words and their structure - Phonology: the sound system o Phonemes o Allophones The levels of Language - Texts (studied in discourse analysis) - Sentences (studied in syntax) - Words (studied in morphology) - Phonemes (studied in phonology) - Phones (studied in phonetics) Text - Any meaningful item or items perceived as a unit - A meaningful item or items understood as not forming part of a larger item - “to be or not to be” – a text - Hamlet – a text - Linguistic and non-linguistic texts Context - In language and in other semiotic systems - The meaning and function of each item depends on the context - Context: what’s outside the actual text but is relevant to it Syntax - The structure of sentences - Linguists often use “grammar” to mean “syntax” - Linguists describe how people speak: they do not prescribe how to talk “correctly” - If a normal native speaker says it in a normal circumstances, then it is grammatical - Sentences with “bad grammar” are typically grammatical in the linguist’s sense - The judgment of “badness” or “correctness” is a social issue Morphology - The structure of words - Morpheme: smallest unit of language that carries meaning o Con text o Sipp ed o Care full y o Shoe s o Anti dis establish ment ari an ism o Morphemes are not the same as syllables! Morphemes and Allomorphs - Allomorph: variant of a morpheme - Found in specific positions within the word - Example: the “plural morpheme” o Variants (allomorphs) o (written –s or –es, but) pronounced “s”, “z” or “iz” o Note that the plural morpheme is always spelled s but not always pronounced the same o Describe the position of each variant (allomorph)
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