By Vivian Watkins,2014-06-24 10:24
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    0. Introduction to the course:

     0.1 Course name:

    Introduction to linguistics

     0.2 Text book:


    A New Concise Course on

    Linguistics for Students of English



     0.3 Why linguistics


     0.4 Course assessment and


1. Introduction:

    Linguistics & language

     What is linguistics?

1.1.1 linguistics:

     Scientific study of language

    1) Purpose: scientific study of the nature,

    functions, and structure of language;

    attempting to reveal the laws governing

    language origination, existence,

    operation and development.

    2) Object: language itself (the only true

    object of study in linguistics is the

    language, considered in itself and for

    its own sakeFerdinand de Saussure)

    1.1.2 linguistics and philology

     philology: scholarly study of literary

    text, different from linguistics both in

    object and method

    1.1.3 categories of linguistics

    1) according to the object of study:

specific/general linguistics

    general linguistics: studying the general laws and features assumedly common to all languages, providing basic concepts, theories, descriptive models and methods applicable in any linguistic study.

    2) according to the perspectives of description:

    diachronic/synchronic linguistics

    3) according to the aims of study: theoretical/applied linguistics: applied linguistics: application of linguistic findings to the solution of such practical problems as the recovery of speech ability. In a narrow sense applied linguistics refers to the application of linguistics theories and principles to language teaching, especially the teaching of foreign and second language.

    4) according to the incorporation with other disciplines:



    anthropological linguistics



    mathematical linguistics

    computational linguistics

    1.1.4 the general branches of linguistics

    The following are presumably the

    branches in the area of general


    ; Phonetics

    ; Phonology

    ; Morphology

    ; Syntax

    ; Semantics

    ; Pragmatics

    1.1.5 some important distinctions in


    1) Prescriptive vs. descriptive

    As modern linguistics is supposed to be

    scientific and objective in language

    description, is descriptive in nature.

    2) Synchronic vs. diachronic

    Modern linguistics gives priority to synchronic description of languages, because unless the various states of a language in different historical periods are successfully studies, it would be difficult to describe the changes that have taken place in its historical development.

    3) Speech and writing

     the spoken language, prior to writing

    ---the natural or the primary medium of

    human language.

    ---the way in which everyone acquires

    his mother tongue.

    ----plays a greater role than writing in

    terms of the amount of information


    ---authentic, reveals the true nature of


    Modern linguistics regards the spoken

    language as the natural or the primary

    medium of human language

    4) Langue and Parole

     Langue: the abstract linguistic system

    shared by all the members of

    a speech community

    Parole: the realization of langue in

    actual use

    langue parole

    Social Individual

    Abstract Actualized

    Static Variable

    Substantial Subordinate

     Linguists are supposed to

    ---discover the regularities governing

    the actual use of language and make

    them the subjects of the study

    ---abstract langue from parole to study 5) Competence and performance


    the ideal language user’s

    knowledge of the rules of his



    the actual realization of this

    knowledge in linguistic


competence performance

    internalized specific utterance of a

    conception native speaker

    internalized actual use of language


    abstract rule system process of speaking

    and writing

Langue/parole &

    competence/performance: compared:


    Both have made a distinction between

    the abstract language system and the actual use the language. Their purpose is to single out the language system for seriously study.


    --Saussure took a sociological view of

    language and his notion of language is a matter of social conventions. --Chomsky looks at language from a psychological point of view and to him competence is a property of the mind of each individual.

    6) Traditional grammar and modern


    F. de Saussure’s book “Course in


    General Linguistics” in the early 20

    century has marked the beginning of modern linguistics.

    --modern linguistics is descriptive

    while traditional grammar is


    --modern linguistics regards the spoken

    language as primary, not the written.

    Traditional grammar tended to

    emphasize, maybe overemphasize

    the importance of the written word.

    ---modern linguistics differs from

    traditional grammar also in that it

    does not force languages into a

    Latin-based framework, but tries to

    set up a universal framework ,

    containing features shared by most

    of the languages.

     What is language

     1.2.1 definition (p.8)

     Language is a system of arbitrary

    vocal symbols used for human







    1.2.2 design features

    1) Arbitrariness (任意性)

     The arbitrary nature of language is a sign of sophistication and makes it possible for language to have an unlimited source of expressions. 2) Productivity (creativity) 产出性

    It refers to the creative capacity of language users to produce and

    understand an indefinitely large number of sentences they have never learnt before.

    3) Duality (结构二重性)

    Language is organized in two sets of structures, or two levels, the level of sounds or the level of meaning.

    The first articulation-----------sounds /s / /i / /t / /p /

    The second articulation: spit (carrying meaning)

    This duality of structure or double

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