By Eric Henderson,2014-05-21 23:56
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14.How is modern linguistics different from traditional grammar?

    Traditional gram-mar is prescriptive; it is based on "high "(religious, literary) written lan-guage . It sets grammatical rules and imposes the rules on language users. But Modern linguistics is descriptive; It collects authentic, and mainly spoken language data and then it studies and describes the data in an objective and scientific way.


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    4. What makes modern linguistics different from traditional grammar? (现代语


    Traditional grammar is prescriptive?规定性?; it is based on "high "(religious,

    literary) written language. It sets models for language users to follow. But Modern linguistics is descriptive?描述性?; its investigations are based on authentic and

    mainly spoken language data. It is supposed to be scientific and objective and the task of linguists is supposed to describe the language people actually use, whether it is "correct" or not.

    5. Is modern linguistics mainly synchronic?共时性? or diachronic?历时性??


     (The description of language at some point in time is a synchronic study; the description of a language as it changes through time is a diachronic study.) Modern linguistics is mainly synchronic, focusing on the present-day language. Unless the various states of a language are successfully studied, it will not be possible to describe language from a diachronic point of view.

    6. Which enjoys priority in modern linguistics, speech or writing? Why?

     Modern linguistics gives priority to the spoken language for the following reasons:

     First, speech precedes writing. The writing system is always a later invention used to record the speech. There are still some languages that only have the spoken form.

     Then, a larger amount of communication is carried out in speech than in writing.

     Third, speech is the form in which infants acquire their native language. 7. Saussure 是如何区分语言langue和言语parole的?

    (The distinction between langue and parole was made by the famous Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure early this century. Langue and parole are French words.) Langue refers to the abstract linguistic system shared by all the members of a speech community, and parole refers to the realization of langue in actual use. Langue is the set of conventions and rules which language users all have to follow while parole is the concrete use of the conventions and the application of the rules. Langue is abstract; it is not the language people actually use, but parole is concrete; it refers to the naturally occurring language events. Langue is relatively stable, it does not change frequently; while parole varies from person to person, and from situation to situation.

    8. Chomsky的语言能力competence和语言使用performance各指什么?

    (American linguist N. Chomsky in the late 1950’s proposed the distinction between competence and performance.)

    Chomsky defines competence as the ideal user’s knowledge of the rules of his language. This internalized set of rules enables the language user to produce and understand an infinitely large number of sentences and recognize sentences that are ungrammatical and ambiguous. According to Chomsky, performance is the actual realization of this knowledge in linguistic communication. Although the speaker’s

    knowledge of his mother tongue is perfect, his performances may have mistakes because of social and psychological factors such as stress, embarrassment, etc… Chomsky believes that what linguists should study is the competence, which is systematic, not the performance, which is too haphazard (偶然的).

    9. How is Saussure’s distinction between langue and parole similar to Chomsky’s distinction between competence and performance? And what is their difference?

    Both Saussure and Chomsky make the distinction between the abstract language system and the actual use of language. Their purpose is to single out one aspect of language for serious study.

     They differ in that Saussure takes a sociological view of language and his notion of langue is a matter of social conventions, and Chomsky looks at language from a psychological point of view and to him competence is a property of the mind of each individual.

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