[LIN 200] - Midterm Exam Guide - Ultimate 42 pages long Study Guide!

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LIN 200
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE
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LIN 200: Language in the USA
Themes:
- Role of language in transformation
- Language history
- The language problem
- Linguistic heterogeneity
- Linguistic discrimination
Lecture 1: What is Linguistics?
Defn. Language: arbitrary conventional system of sounds used for communication within a
linguistic community.
- Arbitrary: no connection between sounds and meaning
- Conventional: speakers agree on words
- System: governed by rules
- Sounds: language is primarily spoken as some do not have a writing system
- Communication: exchange of information by members
Defn. Linguistics: the scientific study of language as a system.
Sound Level: Phonetics
Defn. Phonetics: the physical production and perception of sounds [of speech].
Defn. Phonology: describes the way sounds function [within a given language].
- Segments
- Patterns of sound changes
Suprasegmental Level: Phonetics
- Change in pitch (loudness), speed, and quality
Word Level: Morphology
Defn. Morphology: the study of the structure of word forms.
Ex. Plural of octopus? Octopuses, octopi, octopodes
Ex. Meaning of unlockable? (unlock-able or un-lockable)
Lexical Level
Defn. Lexicon: words people use in different situations.
Ex. Truck vs. Lorry
Sentence Level: Syntax
Defn. Syntax: the study of rules (grammar), or patterned relations.
Ex. I gave him the box vs. I gave the box to him.
Ex. S-V-O vs. S-O-V.
Meaning Level: Semantics
Defn. Semantics: the study of meaning of words, phrases, sentences, and texts.
Ex. What does Olga is a beautiful dancer mean?
Context Level: Pragmatics
Defn. Pragmatics: the study of how speakers interact in conversation and how speakers
structure narratives.
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Ex. Can you pass me the salt?
Lecture 2: Descriptive vs. Prescriptive Grammar
- No language is primitive all languages are complex
- No language can be more advanced than another
o Difference in sound systems, morphology (meaning), and vocabulary
Ex. Hawaiian only distinguishes between sex and generation.
Ex. My car needs washed vs. My car needs to be washed (difference in syntax).
MUSE: Mainstream U.S. English
- Linguists view: grammatical rules > descriptive rules
o They seek to describe how these rules work in both (non)standard varieties of
language
o They are interested in both standard and vernacular varieties; there is no
scientific basis for standard > vernacular
o Vernacular languages are just as systematic as standard language varieties
- Language Teachers view: prescriptive rules: what you should/nt say; standard dialect
Prescriptive Rules
- Do not split infinitives: rule comes from the fact that you cannot split Latin infinitives
o English: to walk
o Latin: ambulare
- Do not use double negatives: comes from math/logic
- Do not end sentences with prepositions: comes from Latin, no one ever did it
- Assume that some language varieties are privileged compared to others
Descriptive Rules
- No English word can start with [smr] (phonological rule)
- Subject-Verb-Object pattern (syntactical rule)
- Pluralizing a word (morphological rule)
Defn. Language Variety: a term linguists use to describe language, dialects, or ways of speaking
without having to make political or social claims about the status of the variety.
Defn. Dialect: it is a way of speaking the language that is distinct from other ways of speaking in
terms of accent, lexicon, or some other aspect.
- Different dialects of the same language are mutually intelligible (speakers can
understand each other), and different languages are not.
Defn. Idiolect: individual variety of language, which incorporates all linguistic features that the
person knows and uses.
- Based on: native language and personal factors: usage, physical characteristics, places
where people live, and languages learned
Defn. Linguistic Variation: the differences in the ways people speak make up.
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