Linguistic Performance: The way that they produce and comprehend language. The observable
realization of the potential: our performance is what we do with our linguistic competence.
Linguistic Competence: A person’s unseen potential to speak a language, which is stored in the
lexicon and mental grammar
Phonology: The distribution of speech sounds.
Morphology: Facts about word formation
Syntax: How words combine to form phrases and sentences
Semantics: Meaning in sentences
Lexicon: Consists of the collection of all the words that you know: what functions they serve. What they
refer to, how they are pronounced, and how they are related to other words
Mental Grammar: Stored form of rules that you know about your language. This is what a linguist is
actually trying to understand
Grammar: A language system that is the set of all the elements and rules about phonetics, phonology,
morphology, syntax and semantics that make up a language.
Descriptive Grammars: Contains the rules that someone has deduced based on observing
speakers’ linguistic performance. This is the linguist’s description of the rules of language as it is spoken.
Prescriptive Grammar: The socially embedded notion of the “correct” or “proper” ways to use a
Design Features of Language: Descriptive characteristics of language designed by Hockett
Mode of Communication: The means by which messages are transmitted and received Ex:
Gestures or Voice
Semanticity: The property requiring that all signals in a communication system have a meaning or a
function. Ex: The word “Pizza” should mean the same thing to the people you say it to. Or if someone says
a word that you don’t know, you wouldn’t just assume it is meaningless.
Pragmatic Function: Communication systems must serve some useful purpose. Ex: To stay alive, ask
for food, influence others’ behaviour and finding out more about the world
Interchangeability: The ability of individuals to both transmit and receive messages
Cultural Transmission: Aspects of language that we can only acquire through communicative
interaction with other users of the system.
Arbitrariness: Arbitrary refers to the fact that the meaning is not in any way predictable from the form;
nor is the form dictated by the meaning. The words of a language represent a connection between a group
of sounds or signs, which give the word its form (its sound) and a meaning, which the form can be said to
Linguistic Sign: Form + Meaning = Linguistic Sign Sound Symbolism: Certain sounds occur in words not by virtue of being directly imitative of some
sound but rather simply by being evocative of a particular meaning. Ex: Words meaning small. The use of [i]
is small words creates a situation in which an aspect of the form i.e., the occurrence of [i] is influenced by
an aspect of the meaning i.e., smallness.
Discreteness: The property of language that allows us to combine together discrete units in order to
create larger communication units. Ex: He is fast is composed of small discrete units like [h], [i], [I], [z], [f],
[ae], [s], and [t]
Displacement: The ability of a language to communicate about things, actions, and ideas that are not