Spoken language

Language and Orthography
Instructor: Tsueifen Chen
Spoken language vs. Written language
Spoken language
Written language
Spoken language
Spoken language is a form of human
communication in which words derived
from a large vocabulary (usually at least
10,000) together with a diverse variety of
names are uttered through or with the
mouth. All words are made up from a
limited set of vowels and consonants. The
spoken words they make are stringed into
syntactically organized sentences and
Spoken language continues…
Many spoken languages are written.
However, even today, there are many
world languages that can be spoken but
have no standard written form. Such
languages can be expressed in writing
using the
International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).
Spoken language continues…
Africa, Asia and the Pacific are the regions
where there are many small language groups,
although there is also a large number of small
indigenous groups in Latin America. Most of
these small languages are not written. The
same is true of some larger groups in Africa
and Asia, numbering in a few cases more than
one million speakers.
(From http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/ev.phpURL_ID=28301&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html)
Spoken language continues…
Even from the point of view of syntax, spoken
language usually has its own set of
grammatical patterns which sometimes may
be quite different from that in written
e.g. I am loving it. (McDonald’s)
I don’t see nobody. (I see nobody.)
I don’t know nothing about it. (I know
nothing about it.)
Written language
A written language is the representation of a
language by means of a writing system. Written
language is an invention in that it must be taught
to children, who will instinctively learn or create
spoken or gestural languages.
A written language exists only as a complement to
a specific spoken or gestural language, and no
natural language is purely written. However,
extinct languages may be in effect purely written
when only their writings survive. (explain extinct
vs. dead language)
Exercise: Differences between Spoken and
Written language
Group exercise—please discuss with your
group members and list some of the
differences between spoken and written
Languages of the world
Languages in the world are mainly
categorized as alphabetic, syllabic, or
logographic-phonetic, according to the
relationship between a script and the
structure of its language (DeFrancis, 1989).
Languages of the world continue…
Alphabetic languages: use letters to
represent sounds, not meaning.
Syllabic languages: each character
represents a syllable.
Logographic-phonetic (or morpho-syllabic):
each character represents a morpheme or
semantic unit.
(From http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Writing_system )
What is alphabet?
An alphabet is a standardized set of
letters — basic written symbols or
graphemes — each of which roughly
represents a phoneme in a spoken language.
An alphabets are a phonemic system. Although
this is commonly defined as a system that
represent 'sounds', it really involve more
abstract symbols that denote phonemes.
Alphabetic language continues…
For instance, t, usually represents the
phoneme /t/ in English, and d usually
represents the phoneme /d/.
The word tip has 3 phonemes /t/ /ı/ /p/.
‘What is alphabet’ continues…
There are dozens of alphabets in use today,
the most common being Latin, deriving from
the first true alphabet, Greek.
The Roman alphabet is the alphabet used for
many modern-day languages. It came from the
Greek alphabet. The earliest alphabet was in
Egypt. It was first used to write Latin. Many
languages are written with it today. It is also
called the Latin alphabet.
Alphabetic language continues…
A purely phonemic system would encode phonological
information fairly faithfully, rather than maintaining
the structure or combinations of symbols to convey
information or relationships involving word meanings.
Systems that do just that are morphophonemic. The
English alphabet is a morphophonemic system, in that
though its letters (or graphemes) basically represent
phonemes, these often do not change even when
pronunciation differs in meaningfully related words.
From http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Writing_system
Examples of Alphabetic language
The modern English alphabet is a
Latin-based alphabet consisting of
26 letters. Of the 26 letters, 5
letters, a, e, i, o, u, represent vowels,
and 21 letters represent consonants.
Examples of Alphabetic language
Finnish alphabet
The Finnish alphabet is based on the Latin
alphabet, and especially its Swedish
extension. Officially it comprises 28
A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V,
X, Y, Z, Å, Ä, Ö
Examples of alphabetic language
Russian alphabet
The modern Russian alphabet (русский
алфавит) is a variant of the Cyrillic
alphabet and contains 33 letters.
Syllabic language
What is syllabic language?
Ans. A writing system whose characters
represent syllables is syllabic language.
A syllable consists of a vowel and at least one
consonant, though various combinations are
possible, including single vowels.
Examples of syllabic language
The Japanese language is written with a
combination of three scripts: Chinese
characters called kanji (漢字), and two syllabic
scripts made up of modified Chinese
characters, hiragana (ひらがな or 平仮名) and
katakana (カタカナ or 片仮名).
Example of syllabic language continues…
The Japanese language uses two syllabaries
together called kana, namely hiragana and
katakana (developed around AD 700). They
are mainly used to write some native words
and grammatical elements, as well as foreign
words, e.g. hotel is written with three kana,
ホテル (ho-te-ru), in Japanese. Because
Japanese uses many CV (consonant + vowel)
syllables, a syllabary is well suited to write
the language.
Morpho-syllabic language
What is a logographic language?
 What is morpho-syllabic language?
Ans. A writing system whose symbols
represent morphemes or semantic units is
logographic language.
Morpho-syllabic language continues…
A logogram, or logograph, is a grapheme
which represents a word or a morpheme
(the smallest meaningful unit of language).
Most Chinese characters represent both a
syllable and a morpheme, and thus the
characters used to write languages such as
Mandarin can be described as
Morpho-syllabic language continues…