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
Linguistics & language
What is 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 sake—Ferdinand 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:
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:
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:
1.1.4 the general branches of linguistics
The following are presumably the
branches in the area of general
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
---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
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
internalized specific utterance of a
conception native speaker
internalized actual use of language
abstract rule system process of speaking
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