ENG 204 - University Of Maiduguri

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UNIVERSITY OF MAIDUGURI
Maiduguri, Nigeria
CENTRE FOR DISTANCE
LEARNING
ARTS
ENG 204 – ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LINGUISTICS
ENG 204:
UNIT: 2
ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND
LINGUISTICS
UNIT: 2
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CDL, University of Maiduguri, Maiduguri
ENG 204 – ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LINGUISTICS
Published
UNIT: 2
2009©
All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in
any form, by mimeograph or any other means without prior
permission in writing from the University of Maiduguri.
This text forms part of the learning package for the academic
programme of the Centre for Distance Learning, University of
Maiduguri.
Further enquiries should be directed to the:
Coordinator
Centre for Distance Learning
University of Maiduguri
P. M. B. 1069
Maiduguri, Nigeria.
This text is being published by the authority of the Senate,
University of Maiduguri, Maiduguri – Nigeria.
ISBN:
978-8133-
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CDL, University of Maiduguri, Maiduguri
ENG 204 – ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LINGUISTICS
UNIT: 2
P R E F A C E
This study unit has been prepared for learners so that they can
do most of the study on their own. The structure of the study unit
is different from that of conventional textbook. The course writers
have made efforts to make the study material rich enough but
learners need to do some extra reading for further enrichment of
the knowledge required.
The learners are expected to make best use of library facilities
and where feasible, use the Internet. References are provided to
guide the selection of reading materials required.
The University expresses its profound gratitude to our course
writers and editors for making this possible. Their efforts will no
doubt help in improving access to University education.
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CDL, University of Maiduguri, Maiduguri
ENG 204 – ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LINGUISTICS
UNIT: 2
Professor M. M. Daura
Ag Vice-Chancellor
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CDL, University of Maiduguri, Maiduguri
ENG 204 – ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LINGUISTICS
UNIT: 2
HOW TO STUDY THE UNIT
You are welcome to this study Unit. The unit is arranged to
simplify
your
study.
In
each
topic
of
the
unit,
we
have
introduction, objectives, in-text, summary and self-assessment
exercise.
The study unit should be 6-8 hours to complete. Tutors will
be available at designated contact centers for tutorial. The center
expects you to plan your work well. Should you wish to read
further you could supplement the study with more information
from the list of references and suggested readings available in the
study unit.
PRACTICE EXERCISES/TESTS
1. Self-Assessment Exercises (SAES)
This is provided at the end of each topic. The exercise can
help you to assess whether or not you have actually studied and
understood the topic. Solutions to the exercises are provided at the
end of the study unit for you to assess yourself.
2. Tutor-Marked Assignment (TMA)
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ENG 204 – ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LINGUISTICS
UNIT: 2
This is provided at the end of the study Unit. It is a form of
examination type questions for you to answer and send to the
center. You are expected to work on your own in responding to the
assignments. The TMA forms part of your continuous assessment
(C.A.) scores, which will be marked and returned to you. In
addition, you will also write an end of Semester Examination,
which will be added to your TMA scores.
Finally, the center wishes you success as you go through the
different units of your study.
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ENG 204 – ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LINGUISTICS
UNIT: 2
INTRODUCTION TO THE COURSE
The course aims at introducing the students to the basic concepts in linguistics
with special reference to English.
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ENG.
204:
ENGLISH
LINGUISTICS
UNIT: 2
LANGUAGE
AND
UNITS: 2
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGES
PREFACE
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INTRODUCTION TO THE COURSE
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TOPIC:
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THE FORM OF LANGUAGE
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SOLUTION TO EXERCISES
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TOPIC 1:
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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TOPIC:
THE FORM OF LANGUAGE
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INTRODUCTION -
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OBJECTIVES
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IN-TEXT
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1.3.2 THE CLASS MEANING OF WORDS
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1.3.3 THE CHANGING MEANING OF WORDS
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1.3.1 THE SYSTEM OF ENGLISH
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SUMMARY -
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REFERENCE
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1.0. TOPIC:
UNIT: 2
THE FORM OF LANGUAGE
1.1 INTRODUCTION
You are welcome to this study unit. You will be introduced to the system of
English and the class meaning of words.
1.2
OBJECTIVES
At the end of this topic, you should be able to:
i.
Define what language is
ii.
Describe the class meaning of words
iii.
Understand the changing meaning of words
1.3
IN-TEXT
1.3.1 THE SYSTEM OF ENGLISH
What is language? It is a series of sounds, usually strung together in groups,
which convey meaning to listeners. Let us examine a more formal definition
of language .
Language is a system of arbitrary, local symbols which permit all people in a
given culture, or other people who have learned the system of that culture, to
communicate or to interact.
Let us expand the definition. What is meant by System? Every language
operates within its own system that is, within its own recurring patterns or
arrangements which are meaningful to its speakers. The sounds which are
used to form words, which, in turn, are used in speech utterances are always
arranged in particular ways or design which convey the same meaning to all
speakers of the language. Let us examine some examples in English.
When I say the words, ‘the man’, you know I’m talking of one man and of a
man previously mentioned. ‘The men’, on the other hand, conveys the
meaning of more than one man.
When you hear ‘arrive’ you know it would fit into the place used for verbs in a
sentence. ‘Arrival’, on the other hand, would fit into the slot used for what we
generally call a noun, wouldn’t it?
To continue, in English, word order is an important part of the system. Compare
the two sentence: ‘The cat bit the lady’… ‘The lady bit the cat’. The forms of
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the words are exactly the same, aren’t they? But-what a difference in the
meaning!
Examining another feature of the ‘system’, we find that in English, adjective
don’t ‘agree’ with nouns. We say ‘the boys are tall’ and ‘the tall boys’; ‘the girl
is tall’ and ‘the tall girls’. In the native language of your students, changes may
occur because of gender (masculine or feminine) or because of number
(singular or plural).
This system of meaningful arrangements of forms in speech which the
youngest native speaker knows by the time he reaches six or seven may differ
in important respects from any other language system in the world.
1.3.2 THE CLASS MEANING OF WORDS
When a dictionary lists the functions of words it does at least two things: It
describes their lexical role (usually either by listing approximate synonyms or
by listing uses in the sentence), and it classifies the words according to what is
traditionally called a part of speech system. This second kind of
characterization is essential… for when words are used their function is
always dual. They bear in themselves a lexical meaning, but what they do in
the sentence results from something further, the fact that they are members of
classes… In some words, lexical meaning is perhaps dominant, in others classmeaning certainly is, but in none is class-meaning absent. It is now a
commonplace to demonstrate the two kinds of meaning by nonsense verse, in
which clear signals of sentence structure and form-class meaning are given,
but certain words are arbitrarily invented, and therefore lack lexical meaning;
what is left is class-meaning. In the following stanza from Jabberwocky the
structural signals determine the class membership of the invented words
(leaving one doubtful case).
“Twas briling, and the slighty toves
did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrable
If you have had any grammatical training you can say that slighty, mimsy, mome
and perhaps brillig, outgrabe are adjeeties, though you cannot give their meaning
in the sense of listing approximate synonyms; you can say if outgrabe is not an
adjective it is the past tense of a verb. You can say that toves, wabe, borogoves and
raths are nouns; and that gyre and gimble are verbs (though you do not even
know how to pronounce them). If you are ignorant of even these grammatical
terms, you can put the same points in a clumsier way by being able to
construct proportions like the toves: one tove: I gyre: he gyres: we gyed etc. and so
state restrictions on the environment of certain invented words e.g. that wabe
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and borogove may directly follow the but gyre and gimble, as far as the evidence
goes, many not.
1.3.3 THE CHANGING MEANING OF WORDS
It is certainly a rather sterile pursuit to attack what we know (for what
dictionaries could tell us) are thoroughly established words. Despite strong
opinion to the contrary. It is futile to try to step words from being used in a
sense different from that in which they were used at some earlier period such
as ‘etymological fallacy’ betrays, in any case, a lamentable ignorance of the
nature of language. We are still occasionally told that it is incorrect to use
tremendous in the sense of ‘huge’ because the word ‘really’ means ‘that which
causes trembling’, the ‘really’ means ‘that which causes trembling’, the ‘really’
deriving its force from the fact that tremendous comes from the gerundive
considerations are taken as the basis of ‘correctness’, then the correct meaning
of like a body. One could not share, the word’s derivation shows that at one
time it meant ‘to come to the shore’
1.4
SUMMARY
Language can be defined as a system of arbitrary use of symbols with
acceptable word order and specific class meaning of words. Words are used
and accepted only when the class meaning is correct. Meanings of words also
change with time.
1.5
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISES
1.
What is meant by system in language?
2.
Mention two important features of the system of your own language.
3.
What is meant by word-order? Why is it so important in English? Give
examples.
4.
Do changes occur in your own languages because of gender or
number? Give examples.
1.6
REFERENCE
Halliday M.A.K. and Hasan, T. 1976. Cohesion in English. London, Longman.
1.7
SUGGESTED READINGS
Close, R. A. (1974). A University Grammar of English workbook. London,
Longman.
Lyons, J. (1970b). New horizons in linguistics. Pengium Books.
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TOPIC 2:
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGES
2.0
TOPIC:
LINGUISTICS
2.1
INTRODUCTION -
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OBJECTIVES
2.3
IN-TEXT
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2.3.1 WHAT IS LINGUISTICS?
2.3.2 LINGUISTICS THEORY
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2.3.3 LINGUISTICS MODEL
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2.3.4 TRADITIONAL GRAMMAR
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2.3.5 SYSTEMIC GRAMMAR
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2.0
TOPIC:
LINGUISTICS
2.1
INTRODUCTION
Language can be seen and studied from different perspectives. That is to say
that there are different views about language by different scholars. Ever since
the study of modern linguistics began in 1913 with the work of Ferdinand de
Saussure, there have been controversies concerning many issues in linguistics
but particularly concerning a general theory of language which can be used as
a framework for linguistic analysis. Many linguists have put forward different
theories, improving on past ones, yet it is difficult to ‘agree on a single theory’
of language. Linguists such as Chomsky and his followers have advanced a
theory of language as a social-psychological phenomena.
Bloomfield and others see language as a social behaviour. Dell Thymes,
Edward Sapir and others see language as communication while Ferdinand de
Saussure and others view language as a network of signs.
2.2
OBJECTIVES
At the end of this topic you should be able to:
1.
Define linguistics
2.
Differentiate between a model and a theory
3.
Be conversant with some grammatical theories
2.3
IN-TEXT
2.3.1 WHAT IS LINGUISTICS
Linguistics can be defined as the scientific study of language. Linguistics has
its objective to study human language. It employs scientific methods to
describe language with a view to understanding the nature and working of
language.
A recent introduction to linguistics includes in its discussion “the
characteristics which would nowadays be associated with science”. Linguistics
is the “observation of events prior to the setting-up of a hypothesis, which is
then systematically investigated via experimentation and a theory developed –
this is the standard procedure in linguistics.
Three steps you must take for a successful scientific study of language.
i.
Explicitness
When you are conducting a scientific, any statement you make must be
clearly and carefully expressed. Terms and concepts must be well-
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defined. For example, to casually define a sentence “as a group of
words that express a complete thought” or “as containing only a
subject and a predicate” cannot be accepted. In other words, no aspect
of the research should be unambiguous.
ii.
Systematicness
Any research you are conducting must be systematic. When you are
using a linguistic data, every variable must be taken into account. When
the variables are many, statistical analysis must be used. The steps you
take in your research must be logical. Every data you build must be in
stages that are related. For example, if you wan to give an account of
the grammatical units, you short from the morphene, to the word,
group, clause and finally the sentence.
iii.
Objectivity
When conducting a scientific research, you must not bring in
sentiments or personal experiences. All findings must be derived from
the data obtained in the course of your research.
2.3.2 LINGUISTIC THEORY
Any linguistic theory insofar as it is scientific must be developed on the basis
of individual generalization from the events that have first been observed and
systematically described and that the construction to a theory is subsequent to
and determined by a description of linguistic data.
2.3.3 LINGUISTIC MODEL
A linguistics model as defined by David Crystal (1971) is a detailed and
systematic analogy constructed in order to help visualize some aspects of the
structure or function of a language that are not directly observable and whose
significance might otherwise be missed.
A linguistic model is an intermediary between the general concept of theory
and the highly specific concept of hypothesis. A linguistic model is an attempt
to represent language from a particular perspective.
2.3.4 TRADITIONAL GRAMMAR
Modern structural linguistics can be said to begin with the posthumous
publication of Ferdinand de Saussure under the tittle of cours de linguistics
Generale in 1916. Behind de Saussure, stretching back over 2,000 years, lies the
era of traditional grammar. To write an account of pre Saussrean grammar
with any hope of doing justice to this long, rich and varied tradition would be
an immense task. Assuming that we limited our aim to tracing development of
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linguistic studies in the West, we would have to go back to the Greek Scholars
of the fourth and fifth century B.C. to find the origins of the grammar that
most of us learned at school.
The linguistic analysis carried out by the Greeks between the fourth century
B.C and the second century. A.D included most of the basic concepts which
still constitute the layman’s conception of ‘grammar’. The classification of
words according to gender (masculine, feminine and neuter) was carried out
by Protagoras and the fifth century Sophists. The Stoics classified the patterns
of infletion established and the distinction between the active and passive
voices between transitive and intransitive verbs, and defined the function of
nominative and the ‘oblique’ cases. The Alexandrians classified all Greeks in
terms of cases, gender, number, tense, voice and mood. Dionysius Thrax
classified the words of the Greek language into eight parts of speech-noun,
verb, participate, article, pronoun, preposition, adverb and conjunction. The
Greek model was largely followed by the later Roman grammarians. The
grammars of Donatus (c. A.D. 400) and Priscian (c. A.D. 500) were used as
teaching grammars through the middle ages and as the seventeenth century.
The traditional categories were then taken over by the perspective
grammarians like John Wallis, Robert Lowrth and Liindley Murray, thus
helping to preserve an unbroken tradition of grammatical analysis which has
lasted from the time of Aristotle to the present day.
A study of traditional grammar would not be complete without the account of
the work of the medieval scholars who brought about many advances in the
analysis of Latin. The scholastic philosophers, or modistae, were interested in
grammar as a tool of analyzing the structure of reality, and they deliberately
attempted to relate the categories of grammar to those of logic, epistemology
and metaphysics. The ideas of medieval ‘speculative’ grammar – ‘speculative’
in the sense of providing a mirror of the world – were revived in seventeenth
century France by teachers of Port Roval, who believed that the structure of
language is a product of reason, and that all the language of the world are
varieties of the same underlying logical rational system. these philosophical
presuppositions, in the famous Port Roval Grammaire Generale et Raisonnee
of 1660, bear some resemblance to the theory of language currently being
developed by Noam Chomsky.
Coming closer to our own time, a writer on the history of linguistics would
have to devote many pages to an account of nineteenth century comparative
philology. Towards the end of the eighteenth century, a number of scholars
including British civil servant Sir William Jones drew attention to the
similarities between many words in Sanskrit and their equivalents in Latin,
Greek, Celtic Germanic and certain other European and middle eastern
languages suggested that all these languages were derived from a single source.
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As a result of this observation linguistics became deeply interested in the
Indo-European family of languages, and many attempts were made to
reconstruct the forms of Proto-Indo-European, believed to be the common
ancestor.
It will be apparent then, that ‘traditional grammar’ although it can be criticized
from the view point of view of modern ideas of what constitutes scientific
precision and objectivity, is far richer and far more diversified than one would
suppose on the basis of the rather disparaging references which have been
made to it by many modern linguistics. Two types of traditional grammar, not
always clearly distinguished in the literature, are usually taken as the point of
departure for a discussion of modern theories: (a) the ‘scholarly’ or
‘compendious’ reference grammars of the late nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries, for example those of Kruisinga, Poutsma, Sweet, Curne and
Jespersen, and (b) the school grammars, by such writers as Nesfield and
Lindley Murray, which were essentially a simplification of the work of the
scholarly grammarians. The widespread criticisms of traditional grammar
voiced recent years relates in part to the methods employed by the scholarly
grammarians, but is mainly concerned with the shortcomings of the simplified
versions of scholarly grammar intended for use in the schools. A great deal of
this criticism fails to take into account the special circumstances for which the
specified grammars were designed.
Both the scholarly and the pedagogic grammarians have been blamed for their
too-ready acceptance of ‘national’ and ‘imprecise’ definitions for the parts of
speech and other grammatical categories. It should be realized that there is
often more than one way of defining a category in linguistics; for example, the
definition of a noun may be morphological, functional or notional. By
morphological definition we mean, one which is based on the classification of
the physical forms of language. A functional definition is one based on the
relation of words to other words in a sentence with reference to such concepts
as ‘subject’, ‘object’, ‘complement’ etc. and national definition is one based on
our understanding of the relationship of words to the actual, real world
phenomena which they donate. Thus, a noun may be defined morphologically
as word that fits into an inflexion series built on the contrast between singular
and plural numbers (boy, boys) and between common and possessive cases (boy,
boy’s, boys, boys’) and no other contrast (Sledd 1959). It may be defined
functionally as a word that can serve as subject of a verb, and notionally as the
name of a person, place of thing. None of thee definitions are complete as
they stand, but they all draw attention to different characteristics of nouns that
are relevant at different points in the description of a language.
In many classroom grammars, nouns and verbs are defined notionally and the
other parts of speech are defined functionally, on the basis of the definition of
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noun and verb: thus, we may say that an adjective is a word that modifies a
noun; an adverb is a world that modifies a verb; a pronoun is a word that
replaces a noun; a proposition is a word relating other parts of speech; an
interjection stands alone with no relationship to other parts of speech. Formal
definitions may then be added to the notional an functional definitions, for
example, it might be stated that a large subclass of adjectives fit into an
inflexional series like tall, taller, tallest and that most verbs fit into a pattern sing,
sings, sang, sung, singing or play, plays, played, playing. The triple basis of definition
may appear complicated, but in the classroom it seems to work quite well.
Most linguistics now acknowledges that it is possible to formulate simple
water-tight definitions of basic categories like noun and verb, sentence, clause
and word. It is perfectly feasible, however, to impact knowledge of word
classes by listing typical examples, and this is in practice is how many students
learn to identify nouns and verbs and other grammatical categories. For
example, the teacher or textbook writer might give a partial definition
followed by a list of examples. The leaner studies the examples, discovers for
himself what they have in common, and arrives inductively at an
understanding of what a noun is, or a verb. He is not dependent for this
knowledge on the ‘definition’, what in most cases simply serves as a useful
reminder.
A more serious criticism concerns the excessively diffuse, ‘atomistic’ nature of
many traditional reference grammars. Much of the work of the traditional
scholarly grammarians suffered from the lack of a coherent theoretical
framework, or model, which ideally should underlie the analysis and give the
unity and shape to the way in which the result are presented. Because in
writing a grammar, we normally progress form more general to more detailed
statements, a process which involves an increasingly detailed subdivision of
the word class – there is a tendency for the broad patterns of the language to
be obscured as the grammarian accumulates more and more facts. It is
therefore important that the grammarian accumulates more and more facts. It
is therefore important that the grammarian should work within clearly-defined
framework of analysis which will bind all the details together into a unified
whole. Without such a framework continually examined, in the light of a
general theory of language, it is difficult to access what degree of importance
should be attached to each of the data being studied. Often on referring to a
traditional reference grammar we find that the author devotes lengthy
explanations to points of details, but to outline the main constructions clearly.
Moreover, when the arrangement of chapters follow the traditional division
into parts of speech, much important grammatical information – for example,
the facts concerning interrogative, negative or passive sentences – tends to be
given in a diffuse, compartmentalized manner.
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The aims and methods of traditional grammar have been widely criticized in
recent years, mainly by linguistics wishing to promote one or other of the
currently more fashioned theories. It is possible, however, that this criticism
has been overdone. Much have been made of comparatively trivial
shortcomings, and the considerable achievements of the traditional
grammarians have been belittle or ignored. Teachers who wish to maintain a
balanced view of linguistics should not be overlook the fact that traditional
grammar has many useful virtues. The traditional handbooks provided the
array of terms and distinctions which most of us used in learning to talk about
our own language, and which many educated people continued to find
serviceable throughout their lives. The scholarly reference books, moreover,
contain a great deal of material which can be expected to appear, with only
slight modifications, in any description of English. The current trend in
linguistics studies, involving an attempt to describe the abstract system of rules
that underlines the surface forms of utterances, has led to a marked revival of
interest in the methods of traditional grammar.
2.3.5 SYSTEMATIC GRAMMAR
Systematic grammar is a linguistic theory developed since the 1960s by the
British linguist called M.A.K. Halliday (1961) in which grammar is seen as a
network of “Systems” of interrelated contracts; particular attention is paid to
the semantic and pragmatic aspects of analysis and also to the way intonation
is used in the expression of meaning. Even though the success of present day
systematic grammar is often attributed to M.A.K. Halliday, yet the brainchild
of the idea which later metamorphosised into systematic grammar was J.
R.Firth – the first professor of linguistics in the University of London. Fifth’s
pupil was Halliday, whose work has been described as NEO-FIRTHIAN but
is mostly known now as “systemic grammar” Halliday further emphasises the
plane of “choice” relation, viewing language in general, and grammar in
particular, sees language as a whole system of choice of option with complex
relation between them.
The main idea of systemic grammar is that language has social perspective and
therefore language must be described into terms of context of situation.
Context
Linguistic context
Social context
In order to have a clear understanding of the term with regards to context,
let’s consider the term phonetically transcribed as/b:d/ which
authogrpahcially be written as “board” or “bared”. From the linguistic
context/concept, /b :d/ could mean a noun when it is a “board of directors”, “a
board for carpentry work”, “toboard a plane” while the same /b :d/ as in “board”,
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from the social perspective mean “to retire” or “to drill a bore-hole”. From the
foregoing, systemic grammar believes that all languages function in a context
of situation.
In systemic grammar, there are no hard rules but systems. At every point of
language usage, the language user makes his choices of expression depending
on the situation he finds himself. That is to say systemic grammar is not
particular about relies but it is more concerned about situation. For example,
when one says:
“Get the king house for me”
The expression above is acceptable in systemic grammar depending on the
situation. It is however, wrong in transformational grammar to say so. This is
because transformation grammar “Get” mean “to take” or “to move”. Therefore
it is not grammatical to say “Get the king house for me”. Since transformational
grammar like traditional grammar is rule governed, one has to follow the rules
by saying the sentence.
“Book the king house for me”
Systemic grammar operates on a rank and scale. This can be seen in the
diagram below:
 Most grammatical
 More grammatical
 Less grammatical
 Least grammatical
Unlike the traditional grammar where the description of the group is paid little
attention, systemic grammar recognizes and gives adequate description and
definition to the five grammatical units. Namely:
a. Sentence
b. Clause
c. Group
d. Word
e. Morpheme
Systematic grammar has been proved more effective when it comes to
linguistic analysis. For example, the definition of the sentence by Traditional
Grammar as a group of a word consisting solely of subject and predicate or as
a unit of information has been proved to be problematic. Systemic grammar’s
definition of a sentence as “the largest grammatical unit made up of one or more
clauses” is believed by many linguists to be better and simple. It is simple
because we know what the grammatical unit of English are (as above) and we
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know the position occupied by the sentence in the hierarchy as the largest unit
of grammar.
Halliday approaches language not from within, as it were, but from outside.
He begins with the questions: why is language structured in the way it is and
not some other way? Moreover, his answer is because it reflects the function
which language is required to serve as a means of social communication. He
distinguishes three major functions.
2.3.6 TRANSFORMATIONAL – GENERATIVE GRAMMAR
Syntax is concerned with the relationship of words in sentences, the ways in
which they are put together to form sentences. We begin by making
fundamental distinction between two kinds of sentences: Kernel sentences and
transform. Kernel sentences are basic elementary sentences of the language, the
stuff from which all else is made. Transforms are the ‘all else’ structures drawn
from the kernel to produce all the complication of English sentences.
An English kernel sentences consists of a noun phrase followed by verb
phrase. We indicate this with the formula S-NP+VP.
The arrow means consists of or rewrite as. We can read
S – NP+VP as ‘Rewrite S as NP+VP’.
S, NP, and VP are terms referring to particular forms or structures. Most
structures have several possible uses or functions. The term subject and predicate
refer to functions. The subject function is one possible use of an NP. The
predicate functions is one possible use of a VP.
The terms noun phrase and verb phrase are used here to include single words as
well as groups of words. The men, David, I are all noun phrases. Landed, landed
the plane, landed the plane smoothy are all verb phrases…
The kernel is the part of English that is basic and fundamental. It is the heart
of the grammar, the core of the language. All other structures of English can
be thought of as deriving from this kernel. All the more complicated sentences
of English are derivations from, or transformation of, the K-terminal strings.
For example, the question ‘Can John go?’, Given the K-terminal string for any
sentence like ‘John can come’, we can make it into a corresponding question
by applying the rule for question making. Such a rule is called a transformation
rule. It tells us how to derive something from something else by switching
things about, putting things in or leaving them out, and so on. Thus we derive
‘Can John go?’ and ‘Did John go?’ from ‘John can go’ and ‘John went’. But we
cant derive ‘John can go’ and ‘John went’ from anything. There are no
sentences underlying them. They are basic and fundamental, a part of the
kernel.
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It is in term of kernel sentences that all grammatical relations are defined. The
kernel gives all the grammatical relations of the language. These grammatical
relations ar then carried over into transforms, so that they will hold among
words which are arranged in many different ways and which may actually be
widely separated.
For example, the sentence ‘The dog barked’ indicates a certain relationship
between the noun dog and the verb bark. We find exactly the same relationship
in such transforms as ‘The barking dog frightened me’, ‘The barking of the
dog kept us awake’, ‘I hate dogs that are always barking’. The relationship
shown between dog and sad in the kernel sentence ‘The dog is sad’ carried over
in the transforms ‘The sad dog wailed’, ‘The dog’s sadness was apparent’, ‘I
don’t like dogs that are too sad’.
This grammar by Noam Chomsky is primarily concerned with an ideal
speaker/listener in a completely homogeneous community who knows his
language perfectly and is unaffected by such grammatical irrelevant conditions
as memory limitation, and errors in applying his knowledge of the language in
actual performance (Chomsky, 1965).
Chomsky Proposes 2 types of knowledge:
Competence is the speaker/listeners knowledge of his language. It is the
internalized set of grammatical rules-whenever you use the correct rules of
language, it is competence.
Performance is the actual use of the language in a particular situation.
Performance is mainly convenience with all the limitations. Once you remove
all the extraneous features from performance, you come up with competence
Chomskyi’s data is competence because he believes competence is innate. All
human beings have the intuitive knowledge of languages and he calls it
language acquisition device (LAD).
For T.G.G. to be adequate
1. It must generate all sentences in a language. This means that given the
rules, T.G.G must account for all sentences.
2. It must generate a description of a grammatical pattern i.e. the
relationship between constituents.
S
NP
Det N
VP
V
NP
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Det V
The boy kicked the ball
The boy kicked the ball.
Organisation of T.G.G.
There are several versions/models of T.G.G but the model to be discussed in
the one commonly referred to as the standard theory of T.G.G. In this model,
a grammar is said to consist of 3 major components.
1. The syntactic component
2. The semantic component
3. The phonological component
The Syntactic component
This component consists of
a.
The base sub-component which contains the P.S. rules and a lexicon
The P.S. rules are finite set of rules that generate infinite set of
sentences. The lexicon is a complete listing of all the lexical items of
the language together with the lexical insertion rules. the lexical
insertion, rules are rules that guide our selection of lexical items. The
lexical items are marked with features e.g. man is +
human
b.
+
adult
+
male
+
singular
+
animate
we can therefore say - the man eats
Within rhe transformational sub-component within the syntactic
component we have processes of structural changes and these involve
the use of transformational rules –all sentences go through
transformations. This sub-component relates the deep structure to the
surface structure. A sentence in the deep structure goes through certain
transformations (Tneg, Tpassive, T contraction, T question etc.) before
it comes out as a surface structure.
Example:
The boy kicks the ball (deep structure)
Can now be transformed to
The boy kicked the ball (surface structuree).
The surface structure sentence has gone through a transformational
change called past tense.
Chomsky is mainly concerned with the syntax of a language. It is the
output of the syntactic component that forms the input of the semantic
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and phonological components. Because all the important activities of a
language take place in the syntactic component, it is said to be creative.
Semantic component
The semantic component is the 2nd of the 3 major components of grammar in
the standard model of T.G.G. The function of this is to assign semantic
interpretation to the deep structures generated by the base component. It does
this by the aid of the rules known as semantic projection rules which it
contains. In view of the fact that it simply interprets the deep structure output
of the base sub-components of the syntactic component it is said to be
interpretive.
Phonological component
Its function is to assign phonetic form (sound) to the surface structure output
of the syntactic component. It does so with the aid of the phonological rules it
contains. Like the semantic component, the phonological component is
interpretive because it merely interprets the surface structure output of the
syntactic components.
T.G.G is therefore a mentalistic phenomenon because its objective is to
discover and understand the rules that underlie language behaviour.
2.4
SUMMARY
The grammatical theories discussed here are not the only ones. Many schoilars
have looked at language from different perspectives and have developed their
theories.
2.5
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISES
1.
Discuss the inadequacies of traditional grammar in the modern world
of language study.
2.
Discuss the creativity of the syntactic component of TBG.
2.6
REFERENCE
Rundle B. 91979). Grammar In Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bolunger, D. (1975). Aspects of Language. Harcourt Brace: Jovanovich Inc.
Mathews, P.H. (1977). Dictionary of Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University
Press.
2.7
SUGGESTED READINGS
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Lyons J. (1968). Introduction To Theoretical Linguistics. Cambridge. Cambridge
University Press.
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TOPIC 3
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGES
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TOPIC:
THE STRUCTURE OF LANGUAGE
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IN-TEXT
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3.3.3 MORPHOLOGY
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3.3.5 PHONOLOGY
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3.6
REFERENCES
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3.7
SUGGESTED READINGS
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3.3.1 SYNTAX
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3.0
TOPIC:
THE STRUCTURE OF LANGUAGE
3.1
INTRODUCTION
Language is very complex. This makes its study very difficult without
submissions. There are several levels of linguistic descriptions usually called
the structure of language. They are phonology, grammar/syntax,
lexis/morphology and semantics.
3.2
OBJECTIVES
At the end of the topic, you should be able to:
i.
identify all the branches of language.
3.3
IN-TEXT
3.3.1 SYNTAX
Syntax the study and rules of the relation of word to one another as
expressions of ideas and as part of the structures of the sentences. It is the
study and science of sentence construction. The study of the rules governing
relations between items of language is the study of syntax; and to it, recent
development in linguistics have given great impetus. It has now been realized
that the structure of sentences is far more complex and important than early
linguistics recognized. Syntax is mainly concerned with the organization of
meaningful elements within the sentence. The upper limit of syntax is
sentence. It is true that larger units than this are conceivable – paragraphs,
texts etc. but the principles of organization that operate at these levels are
quite different from those that operate within sentences.
For Example:
1. John hopes to run
2. John hopes to dissolve
3. John hopes running
Sentence 1 is normal English sentence while sentence 2 is odd. It says
something peculiar; outside science fiction we cannot make sense of the
situation it purports to describe. Sentence 3 does not describe an odd
situation. It is odd simply by virtue of the fact that it violates a rule of English
syntax to the effect that verbs such as ‘hope’ do not occur with the-ing form
of the verb (the gerund) as object.
4. John looked out the window. Two and two are four
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Sentence 4 is an odd thing to say, although it could ont doubt be contextualise
in such a way as to make it possible. But there is no aspect of the structure of
either sentence which renders them incompatible with each other. So the
study of the connection of sentences, interesting though it is, is not part of
syntax.
3.3.2 Grammar/Lexis
Grammar is the science of the structure of a language and the rules and
principle of its generally accepted use.
In grammar, we can always fully describe the distinction between classes of
items, for example, grammar and account for the whole of the contrast
between ‘active’ and ‘passive’ as terms in the English ‘voice’ system. But we
cannot always, in grammar describe fully the distinctions between items,
because, while some items operate as terms in systems, being reducible as it
were to one-member classes, others do not.
‘this/that/ and ‘who/wose/what/which/ each form a grammatical system in
which the items themselves are terms; these are ‘fully grammatical’ items and
we can account for the whole of the contrast between them in grammar. ‘this’,
for example, can be defined as ‘not that’, or better as ‘not “that”’ and ‘not”
(plural)”, ‘that’ and ‘(plural)’ being the other terms in the two systems in which
‘this’ operates. But we cannot, in grammar’ distinguish between the items
‘table’, ‘desk’ and ‘bench’. ‘table’ doe not equal ‘not desk’ or ‘not desk or
bench’. There is no set of items (x) such that ‘table’ can be identified as ‘not
(x)’; in other words there is no system in which ‘table’ is a term.
Here then we leave grammar, and move over to the other formal level, that of
lexis. ‘table’, ‘desk’, and ‘bench’ are Lexical Items. Contrary to what is often
assumed, it is not because an item is grammatically a word that it operates in the
language as a lexical item. Many lexical items are also words, but some of them
are not. For example, ‘turn off’, in ‘turn off the light’, is one lexical item
though two words. Similarly many items, such as ‘this’ and ‘the’ though
grammatically words, are which enters into a certain kind of choice that is
different from a grammatical choice. It operates, not in a closed system, but in
an open set. Since closed system are characteristic of grammar and open sets
of lexis we often speak of a ‘grammatical system’ and ‘lexical set’ ‘table’, ‘desk’
and ‘bench’ are not terms in a grammatical system but they are members of a
lexical set.
Lexical sets are not bounded in the way that grammatical system are. Whereas
in grammar we can say: ‘at this place in structure, these terms are possible, and
all others are impossible’ in lexis we can never say ‘only these items are
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possible’. Lexical sets in fact are bounded only by probabilities. Given the item
‘sit’ or ‘comfortable’ or ‘high’ than, say, ‘haddock’ or ‘reap’, though no one
could maintain that the latter are impossible.
This tendency to co-occurrence is the basic formal pattern into which lexical
items enter. It is known as Collocation, and an item is said to ‘collocate with’
another item or items. A lexical set is simply a grouping of items which have a
similar range of collocation. ‘chair’, ‘seat’, and ‘settee’ belong to the same
lexical set because they have a number of highly probable collocation in
common: they collocate readily, for example, with ‘comfortable’ and ‘sit’.
3.3.3 Morphology
Morphology accounts for the internal structure of the form of words. The
units of morphology are simply the abstract grammatical constructs e.g.
Farmer (Farm ER plural) Minimal
These
(Farm er
s) meaningful units are universally called morphemes. The
relationship between these units is that of simple sequence e.g. morpheme
farm precedes morpheme er precedes morphemes. The signals of these units
are called morphs or morphemic arrangements.
In order to arrive at the minimal meaningful units of a given language, one
simply studies to segment until such a time as there are no forms within the
resulting segments which have a constant meaning in a variety context. Take
the word farmers: we may try to segment this in various ways – far and mere
recur in various contexts but it is impossible to discern any meaning in
common between these forms. Farm and – er on the other hand recur in a
variety of contexts where the meaning remains constant. This relatively simple
position allows us to define morpheme as a minimal sequence of phonemes
which is used in variety of contexts with constant meaning. This means that
morpheme cannot be divided into smaller units. In other words, it is the
smallerest meaningful unit of language.
3.3.4 Semantics
This is generally defined as the study of meaning in language. Semantics
remains the most confused area of language study today. There is the
problems of meaning being elusive, difficult to catch/grasp and also the
problem of conceptualizing meanings rather than those arising from empirical
and descriptive issues.
Lets look at semantics in Transformational Generate Grammar. It looks at
semantics from the formal perspective as the word level. For example, the
formal meaning of the word wife, in relation to its features is:
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+ human
+ female
+ maturity
+ legal agreement
+ conjugal relationship
-+ pregnancy
husband
+ human
+ male
+ maturity
+ legal agreement
+ conjugal relationship
- pregnancy
So, the sentence “the wife is pregnant” is meaning in English while the
sentence “the husband is pregnant” may sound meaningless except when
seriously put in context. Like “the husband is pregnant with problems”.
The social or situational meaning of wife may be:
HAUSA
+ human
+ female
-+ maturity
+ conjugal responsibility
+ pregnancy
-+ blood relationship
YORUBA
+ human
+ female
+ maturity
ENGLISH
+ human
+ female
+ maturity
+ conjugal responsibility
+conjugal responsibility
+ pregnancy
- blood relationship
-+ pregnancy
- blood relationship
3.3.5 Phonology
Phonology is the full meaning of possible human phonetic performance.
According to Abercrombic (1967), there are innumerable different ways of
sycronizing the articulatory movement in the various state of the glottis with
the airstream mechanism, different ways of combining the resulting
movement complexes into sentence. This selection on the pattern constitute
the phonology of a language. However, there is I.P.A. (International Phonetic
Alphabet), a notation which has been extensively used for a wide range of
languages, it is intended to be a genuine general phonetic alphabet capable of
providing for any given language. Each phoneme takes a single symbol. IPA is
used in dictionaries for phonetic transcriptions.
In assigning phonetic descriptions, there are variations.
1. Variation tolerated from one repetition of an utterance to another. In
other words, variations tolerated within the norm of pronunciation of a
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given sound in a given position within one speech variety e.g. Papa would
be transcribed as /P2B2/ even though this is a repletion of Pa/Pa.
2. Variation of pronunciation of a sound according to position in which it
occurs. This subdivided into:
a. Variation which would be attributed to the phonetic influence of
neighbouring sounds; thus the /q/ in’call’ is articulated further back
than /k/ in ‘keel’ because the vowel which follows it is a back
vowel as opposed to the front vowel of ‘keel’ (Try saying ‘keel’ after
you have positioned your mouth to say ‘call’ and you will find
difficulty in pronouncing the word).
b. Another example of variation is in /1/ in ‘keel’ /k1:1/ in standard
English, when followed by a vowel is usually accompanied by a
buncing up of the part of the tongue. This gives the sound a socalled ‘dark’ resonance which is absent when /1/ is followed by a
vowel, as in leak.
In the above examples, the phonemes /1/ in keel and /1/ in leak,
the /q/ is call and the /k/ in keel are positionally determined
variants of the same linquistic elements or allophones of the same
phoneme.
3. Variations of pronunciation from speaker to speaker.
3.4
SUMMARY
To study language effectively, we must study individual branches
3.5
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISES
1.
Discuss base word, prefix, suffix
2.
What are antonyms, homonyms and synonyms? Provide examples
3.
With adequate examples, define:
a. Stress
b. Tone
c. Intonation
3.6
REFERENCES
Bashir A.A. (2002). Practical English Usage. Yola Parachette Publishers
Tregido, P.S. (1979). English Grammar in Practice. London, Logman.
3.7
FURTHER READINGS
Quste R., Greenbaun, S. and Suartvik, J. (1972). A Grammar of Contemporary
English. London, Longman.
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TOPIC 4
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGES
4.0
TOPIC:
LINGUISTIC VARIATIONS
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INTRODUCTION -
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4.2
OBJECTIVES
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4.3
IN-TEXT
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4.3.1 Idiolect
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4.3.2 Dialect
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4.3.3 Registers
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4.3.4 Mother tongue
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4.3.7 Multilingualism
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4.6
REFERENCES
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4.7
SUGGESTED READINGS
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4.0
TOPIC:
LINGUISTIC VARIATIONS
4.1
INTRODUCTION
There are numerous varieties of the English language, and what is ordinarily
meant by ‘English’ is a common core or nucleus which is reached only in the
different forms of the language that are actually head or read.
4.2
OBJECTIVES
At the end of this topic, you should be able to:
i.
identify the varieties of English: idiolect, register, mother tongue,
foreign language and multilingualism.
4.3
IN-TEXT
4.3.1 Idiolect
Idiolect is a variety according to the user. By idiolect, we mean individual
features of using and speaking a language. This shows that no two individuals
use language identifiably. Different users favour the use of different forms,
phrases, cleanses of language variations may be in pronunciation. These
features, that make the differences constitute one’s idiolect.
4.3.2 Dialect
Dialect is a group of related idiolects used by a clearly identifiable speech
community. Such a dialect, though sharing basic phonological and
grammatical features with other dialects of the language, it would have
peculiar phonological, grammatical, lexical variation. For example we have the
Hausa language and we have it’s dialects in Katsina, Sokoto and Kano. The
basic linguistic features would be the same in all the dialects but there are also
some phonological, grammatical and lexical variations. Dialect is therefore a
variety according to region, for example British English and American
English.
A dialect is a geographical variety of language which stands at the periphery.
As we have said, dialects are intelligible but the intelligibility depends largely
on the distance from the centre (standard form).
4.3.3 Register
Language varies as its function varies, it differs in different situations. The
name given to a variety of language distinguished according to its use is
‘register’.
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The category of ‘register’ is needed when we want to account for what people
do with their language. When we observe language activity in the various
contexts in which it takes place, we find differences in the type of language
selected as appropriate to different types of situation. There is no need to be
labour the point that a sports commentary, a church service and school leason
are these and many more situation types would enables us to identity it
correctly. We know, for example, where ‘an early announcement is expected’
comes from, a and ‘apologies for absence were received’; these are not simple
free variants of ‘we ought to hear soon’ and ‘was sorry he couldn’t make it’
It is not the event or state of affairs being talked about that determines the
choice, but the convention that a certain kind of language is appropriate to a
certain use. We should be surprised, for example, if it was announced on the
carton of our toothpaste that the product was ‘just right for cleaning false
teeth’ instead of ‘ideal for cleaning artificial dentures’. We can often guess the
source of a piece of English from familiarity with its use: ‘mix well’ probably
comes from a recipe, although the action of mixing is by no means limited to
cookery and ‘mixes well’ is more likely to be found in a testimonial.
The choice of items from the wrong register, and the mixing of items from
different registers, are among the most frequent mistakes made by non-native
speakers of a language.
The crucial criteria of any given register are to be found in its grammar and its
lexis. Probably lexical features are the most obvious. Some lexical items suffice
almost by themselves to identify a certain register: ‘cleanse’ puts us in the
language of advertising, ‘probe’ of newspapers, especially headlines,
‘tablespoonful’ of recipes or prescriptions, ‘necline’ of fashion reporting or
dress-making instructions. The clearest signals of a particular register are
scientific technical terms expect those that belong to more than one science,
like ‘morphology’ in biology and linguistics.
Often it is not the lexical item alone but the collection of two or more lexical
items that is specific to one register. ‘Kick’ is presumably neutral, but ‘free
kick’ is from the language of football. Compare the disc jockey’s top twenty’;
‘thinned right down’ at the hardresser’s (but ‘thinned out’ in the garden); and
the collocation of ‘heart’ and ‘bid’ by contrast with ‘heart’ and ‘beat’.
Purely grammatical distinctions between the different register are less striking,
yet there can be considerable variation in grammar also. Extreme cases are
newspaper headlines and church services; but many other registers, such as
sports commentaries and popular songs, exhibit specific grammatical
characteristics.
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4.3.4 Mother Tongue
This is a child’s language of first experience. It may or may not be a language
of ones biological mother. It could be the language of social mother.
Sometimes, the society in which the child grows determines his mother
tongue. A child, for instance born in a Hausa community, may grow up using
Hausa as thus becomes his mother tongue. It is the language he easily resorts
to when in danger. It is an attempt to resolve the ambiguity of mother tongue
that some people call it first language.
4.3.5 Second Language
Second language is a language learnt for the purpose of education or for wider
communication and interaction in a bilingual or multilingual society. It does
not mean that it is sequentially the second language in terms of acquisition, it
may be the 3rd, 5th, 6th or 7th language in order of acquisition. What really
matters is the function to which the language is put. In countries of Africa,
our second language are brought by our colonizers – English or French. In
Nigeria, English is the second language. It is the language of Education,
international relations, trade etc.
4.3.6 Bilingualism
The terms bilingualism, in its strictest sense means a situation where a
community or an individual speaks two languages with fluency, and the two
languages are kept entirely distinct by the speaker, with no interference
between the languages. Another definition by Weinreich 1967 is that languages
are in contract situation if they are used alternatively by the same person and
that person using alternately two languages is defined as a bilingual.
Gurmperz (1971) further elaborates that bilingualism is primarily a linguistic
term referring to the fact that linguists have discovered significant alterations
in phonology, morphology and syntax in studying the verbal behaviour of a
particular population. While bilingual phenomena have certain linguistic
features in common, these features may have quite different social
significance. There are two basic types of bilingualism:
a. Coordinate bilingualism – a situation where two languages are said to
function independently and may be said to express two distinct
backgrounds and ways of life. In other words, a co-ordinate bilingual
has two separate semantic system, two differentiated and independent
language stores. (Paradise, 1978).
b. Compound bilingualism – a situation where two codes are said to be
available for the semantic reality, that is both languages serve to express
the same backgrounds. This type of bilingualism is said to occur mostly
when both languages are learned at about the same tiem and under
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same circumstances and used in the same situation e.g. school, home
etc.
Considering our situation in Nigeria, one will be tempted to characterize
Nigerians as co-ordinate bilingualism – considering the master of the mother
tongue and English. This is because in a co-ordinate bilingualism, there is
always a dominant language, that in the language one is more competent in.
Which one is your dominant language? Your mother tongue or English?
4.3.7 Multilingualism
David Crystal (1972) simply define multilingualism as “a situation where a
speech community (for an individual) makes uses of several languages. He
further stresses that multilingualism sometimes called plurilingualism or
polytottism subsumes bilingualism.
Nigeria is essentially a multilingualism society. It has been estimated that more
than four hundred mutually unintelligible languages are spoken natively by
members of more than two hundred and fifty ethnic groups that inhibit the
country (Adekunle 1976, Brann 197). These estimated number does not
include a multiphaty of dialects identifiable within each of these language.
4.3.8 Lingua Franca
Lingua franca is a term used in linguistics and often in everyday speech to
refer to an auxillary language used in other to enable routine communication
to take place between group of people who speak different natives languages.
English is the world’s most common lingua-franca followed by French but
other languages are widely used in East Africa for example, Swahili is the
lingua franca in many part of West Africa, Hausa is used as lingua franca.
Lingua-franca also, in areas of intensive language is adopted by speakers of
different speech community as their common medium of communication e.g.
Latin in Medieval Europe, Arabic in the near East and Swahili in Central
Africa.
The Oxford concise dictionary of linguistics by P.H. Mathews, defines any
language used for communication between groups who have no other
language in common. Examples are as above.
4.4
SUMMARY
Considering the use of different terms and concepts in language, attention
should be focused on the kind of English that will enable us to function
effectively in our various fields of activities.
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4.5
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISES
1.
Is mother tongue similar to first language?
2.
What is meant by simultaneous and sequential bilingualism?
4.6
REFERENCES
The Cambridge Encyclopedia of English Language (2nd edition 1995). Cambridge
University Press.
Gbenga, F. (2002). English Grammar For Schools And Colleges. Yola, Paraclette
Publishers.
Qurk, R. and S. Greenbaun (1973). A University Grammar of English. Singapore:
Longman.
4.7
SUGGESTED READINGS
Abercombie, D (1967). Elements of General Phonetics. Edinburgh.
Gimson, A.C. (1970). An Introduction to the pronunciation of English 2nd ed.
London.
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TOPIC 5
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGES
5.0
TOPIC:
APPLICATION OF LINGUISTICS
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5.1
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5.2
OBJECTIVES
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5.3
IN-TEXT
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5.3.1 Applied Linguistics -
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5.3.2 Sociolinguistics
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5.4
SUMMARY -
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5.5
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISES
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5.6
REFERENCE
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5.7
SUGGESTED READINGS
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5.0
TOPIC:
APPLICATION OF LINGUISTICS
5.1
INTRODUCTION
Linguistics can be applied to different but related disciplines. The most
important area of application is language learning and teaching. Other areas of
application include psychology, sociology etc.
5.2
OBJECTIVES
At the end of this topic, you should be able to:
i. identify how linguistics can be applied to related and unrelated disciplines.
5.3
IN-TEXT
5.3.1 Applied Linguistics
When linguistics or the knowledge of it is sued in other disciplines outside the
linguistic science, here it is said to be applied. It has been applied to different
but related fields of discipline such as psychology, language teaching and even
machine translation. Of all these areas however, it is perhaps in the field of
language teaching that Linguistics is not applied. Politzer 1974 defined applied
linguistics as that part of the linguistic sciences which has direct bearing on the
planning and presentation of teaching material. Therefore, it should be noted
that applied linguistics is not a branch of the linguistic science but application
of linguistics
5.3.2 Sociolinguistics
Sociolinguistics has been broadly defined as a branch of linguistic which
studies all aspect of the relatinship between language and society (Crystal
1985). Whereas many sociolinguistics might accept such a formulation as a
starting point, they might also, whoever, contend that such a definition is
misleading (Bolton and Kwok, 1992). Some would argue that, whatever else,
sociolinguistics is certainly not concerned with all aspects of language and
society (Tudgill, 1978a). Labor (1972a) defined sociolinguistics as the study of
language in its social context or the study of language in its socio-cultural
context (Lavendera, 1988). Others too would challenge the subordination of
sociolinguistics as a discipline in its own right (Ammon, DiHmar and
Matheier, 1987).
Sociolinguistics has regularly faced a range of issue related to the adequate
definition of its term and there have been frequent debates about its status as
a field of study. Some see it as a discipline, in its own right, others as an
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interdisciplinary endeavour, others see it as a part (or field or sub-field) of
general linguistics; while others see it as a central focus of all linguistics and
argue, that in some sense, all sociolinguistics is linguistics and all linguistics is
sociolinguistics (Trans, 1988).
Sociolinguistics is a field of study that reflects the interrelationship between
linguistics and sociology. Sociolinguistics and sociology of language are similar
in that they both deal with language and society. However, they differ in sense
because in sociolinguistics language is the most important variable in the study
while in the sociology of language, society or social group is the most
important variable of study.
Falk (1993) argues that anthropology and linguistics have long been closely
related fields. Much of the work in linguistics during the early part of the 20 th
century was carried out by anthropologists investigating language and culture
of various American Indian communities. Even today, the anthropologist
must deal with language as an integral part of the culture of the society. For
the sociologist, an understanding of language is also important especially
because particular varieties of language are associated with particular social
group.
One does not explain what sociolinguistics is by merely enumerating the
various disciplines which go into its making but rather by giving some
indication of how they are made to relate to each other.
Sociolinguistics will have to be based at least partly, as analyses of how people
actually talk to each other in everyday settings, such as streets, puts, shops,
restaurants, buses, school, hospitals, factories and houses Therefore,
sociolinguistics will have to incorporate analysis of how conversation works.
That is, how talk between people is organized, what makes it coherent and
understandable, how people introduce and change answers; and in general,
how the conversational flow is maintained or disrupted (Stubbs, 1983).
Labov (1966a) in his study conclusively established the largely predictable and
orderly character of everyday talk. The orderly heterogeneity of everyday talk
makes itself manifest as soon as the speaking individuals are placed within the
context of their speech community. The factors which bring order into the
potentally chaotic data of language as it is used in everyday life are the socially
identified attributes of speakers; for example their social class position, their
sex, their age ethnicity, region, etc. These factors, Preston (1989) classified as
ascribed (age, sex, nativeness, ethnicity, religion) and acquired (role,
specialization, status, fluency, individual).
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Extensive work in sociolinguistics has treated the matter of social dialect
differences in languages that correlate within differences in social class.
Sociolinguistics deals with variation in language use. Example of linguists who
have helped in the growth of sociolinguistics include Sapir (1912, Malionwski,
(1923), Jespersen (1925), Firth (1937), Weinreich (1953), Haugen (1956),
Hertzlar (1965), Bright (1966), Labor (1966, 1972a, 1972b), Fishman (1971,
1972a,b,c), Gumperz and Hymes (1972), Giglio W (1972), Pride and Holmes
(1972), Lepage (1972, 1978, 1988a), Hymes (1974, 1987), Trudgill (1974a),
(1988), (1978a), Fasold (1984), Hudton (1980), Romaine (1982a, 1982b),
Amnon, Dittmas and Matheier (1987), Grimshaw (1987b), Lavendera (1988),
Milroy (1988a), Montgomery (1986), Bolton and Kwok (ed) (1993), Ferguson
(1959), Ervin-Tripp (1967), Haugen (1956), Bernstern (1967,1970).
5.4
SUMMARY
Linguistics can be applied to different but related disciplines of learning.
5.5
SELF-ASSESSMENT EXERCISES
1. Mention 3 disciplines to which linguistics can be applied.
5.6
Reference
Greene J. (1972). Psycholinguistics. Penguin Education.
5.7
SUGGESTED READINGS
Pugh, L.S. (1980). Language and language use. London: Heinneman Books Ltd.
Labov, N. (1972). Sociolinguistic Patterns. Pennyslvania: University of
Pennysilvania Press.
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SOLUTION TO EXERCISES
TOPIC 1
1.
System in a language is any meaningful arrangement of words understood
by its speaker.
2.
Nouns and adjectives
3.
Word order is the correct arrangement of words in a sentence. Words are
not arbitrarily used. Word-order is important in English because without it,
the language cannot be patterned and consequently cannot be understood.
4.
Changes occur because of gender or number in my language – give
examples.
TOPIC 2
1.
Traditional grammar did not come as a result of a scientific study.
It was modeled after Latin and Greek
Consequently, it is prescriptive not descriptive
2.
The syntactic components of Transformation Generation Grammar is
creative because activities take place there. Such activities are the phrase
structure rules, the lexicon with the lexical insertion rules transformations
using transformation rules through the deep structure to the surface
structure.
TOPIC 3
1.
Base word is simply the headword e.g. “agree” prefix is any addition done to
the base word but comes before it e.g. “disagree”.
Suffix is any addition done to the baseword but comes after the headword e.g.
“agreement”.
2.
Antonym is a word which means the opposite of another e.g. the antonym of
‘black’ is ‘white’
Homonym is a word that is identical in written form and in sound with
another word of the same language but different from it in origin and
meaning, example is the word ‘board’ as in , ‘board’ as in “board of directors’
and ‘surface of the board’
Synonyms means two or more words of the same language that have same
meaning. Example is ‘shut’ and ‘close’.
3.
Stress is the degree of force or loudness with which a part of a word is
pronounced.
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Tone is the way your voice sounds which shows how you are feeling or what
you mean.
Intonation is the way in which the level of your voice changes in order to add
meaning to what you are saying.
TOPIC 4
1.
Mother tongue could be used to mean first language. They both refer to the
child’s language of first experience.
2.
Simultaneous bilingualism is when two languages are learnt at the same time
while sequential bilingualism is when two languages are learnt at different
times,one after the other.
TOPIC 5
1.
Three disciplines in which linguistic can be applied are: teaching and
learning English, psychology and sociology.
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TUTOR MARKED ASSIGNMENT
1. What is language
2. What is linguistics
3. Discuss three major steps in the study of linguistics.
4. Discuss phonology, morphology, and semantics as branches of language.
5. What do you understand by linguistic variation
6. What is applied linguistic. Who is an applied linguist
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