19 Nov Review on English Majors – Linguistics
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Scope of Linguistic Studies
- Phonology – studies the combination of sounds into organized units of speech, the combination of syllables and larger units.
- Phoneme is a distinctive, contrasted sound unit, e.g. /b/, /æ/, /g/. It is the smallest unit of sound of any language that causes a difference in meaning.
- Allophones are variants or other ways of producing a phoneme.
- Phonetics – studies language at the level of sounds: how sounds are articulated by the human speech mechanism.
- Morphology – studies the patterns of forming words by combining sounds into minimal distinctive units of meanings called morphemes.
- Morpheme is a short segment of language which (1) is a word or word part that has meaning, (2) cannot be divided into smaller meaningful parts without violating its meaning, (3) recurs in different words with a relatively stable meaning.
- Allomorphs – are morphs which belong to the same morpheme e.g., /s/, /z/, and /ez/ of the plural morpheme /s/ or /es/.
- Free morphemes can stand on their own as independent words, e.g., beauty in beautifully, like in unlikely. Thus, they can occur in isolation.
- Bound morphemes cannot stand on their own as independent words. These morphemes are also called as affixes.
- Inflectional morphemes never change the form class of the words or morphemes to which they are attached. They show person, tense, number, case, and degree.
- Derivational morphemes are added to root morphemes or stems to derive new words.
- Syntax – deals with how words combine to form phrases, clauses, and sentences, and studies the way phrases, clauses, and sentences are constructed.
- Structure of predication –refers to the two components : subject and predicate
- Structure of complementation – has two basic elements : verbal and complement
- Structure of modification – includes two components : head word and modifier
- Structure of coordination – covers two components : equivalent grammatical unit.
- Semantics – attempts to analyze the structure of meaning in language and deals with the level of meaning in language.
- Lexical ambiguity – refers to the characteristic of a word that has more than one meaning.
- Syntactic ambiguity – refers to the characteristic of a phrase that has more than one meaning e.g. Filipino teacher.=
- Pragmatics – deals with the contextual aspects of meaning in particular situations ; studies how language is used in real communication.
- Speech act theory – advances that every utterance consists of three separate acts (1) locutionary force – an act of saying something and describes what a speaker says, (2) illocutionary force – the act of doing something and what the speaker intends to do by uttering a sentence, and (3) perlocutionary act – an act of affecting someone; the effect on the hearer of what a speaker says.
- Categories of illocutionary acts – refers to categories proposed by John Searle to group together closely related intentions for saying something:
- Representative – stating, asserting, denying, confessing, admitting, notifying, concluding, predicting, etc.
- Directive – requesting, ordering, forbidding, warning, advising, suggesting, insisting, recommending, etc.
- Question –asking, inquiring, etc.
- Commissive – promising, vowing, volunteering, offering, guaranteeing, pledging, betting, etc.
- Expressive – apologizing, thanking, congratulating, condoling, welcoming, deploring, objecting, etc.
- Declaration – appointing, naming, resigning, baptizing, surrendering, excommunicating, arresting, etc.
- Discourse – studies chunks of language which are bigger than a single sentence.
Language Views / Theories of Language
- The Functionalists advocates that language is a dynamic system through which members of a community exchange information. It is a vehicle for the expression of functional meaning such as expressing one’s emotions, persuading people, asking and giving information, etc.
- They emphasize the meaning and functions rather than the grammatical characteristics of language.
- The Transformationalists believe that language is a system of knowledge made manifest in linguistic forms but innate and, in its most abstract form universal.
- Language is a mental phenomenon. It is not mechanical.
- Language is innate. Children acquire their first language because they have a language acquisition device (LAD) in their brain.
- Language is universal: all normal children learn a mother tongue, all languages share must share key features like sounds and rules.
- Language is creative and enables speakers to produce and understand sentences they have not heard nor used before.
- The Structuralists support the idea that language can be described in terms of observable and verifiable data as it is being used.
- Language is a means of communication.
- Language is primarily vocal
- Language is a system of systems.
- Language is arbitrary.
- The Interactionists believe that language is a vehicle for establishing interpersonal relations and for performing social transactions between individuals.
- Language teaching content may be specified and organized by patterns of exchange and interaction.
Language Acquisition / Theories of Language Learning
- Behaviorist learning theory – the language behavior of an individual is conditioned by sequences of differential rewards in his/her environment. According to Littlewood (1984), the process of habit formation includes the following :
- Children imitate the sounds and patterns which they hear around them.
- People recognize the child’s attempts as being similar to the adult models and reinforce (reward) the sounds by approval or some other desirable reaction.
- In order to obtain more of these rewards, the child repeats the sounds and patterns so that these become habits.
- In this way t he child’s verbal behavior is conditioned (‘shaped’) until the habits coincide with adult models.
- Behavioralists see three crucial elements of learning: (1) a stimulus, which serves to elicit behavior, (2) a response triggered by the stimulus, and (3) reinforcement which serves to mark the response as being appropriate and encourages the repetition of the response.
- Cognitive learning theory. Noam Chomsky believes that all normal human beings have an inborn biological internal mechanism that makes language learning possible.
- Cognitivists / innatists ‘ mentalists account of second language acquisition include hypothesis testing, a process of formulating rules and testing the same with competent speakers of the target language.
- Krashen’s Monitor Model (1981).This is the most comprehensive theory in second language acquisition. It consists of five central hypotheses.
- The acquisition / learning hypothesis – claims that there are two ways of developing competence in L2:
- Acquisition – the subconscious process that results from informal, natural communication between people where language is a means, not a focus nor an end in itself.
- Learning – the conscious process of knowing about language and being able to talk about it, that occurs in a more formal situation where the properties of a language are taught
- The natural order hypothesis suggests that grammatical structures are acquired in a predictable order for both children and adults _ certain grammatical structures are acquired before others, irrespective of the language being learned.
- The monitor hypothesis claims that conscious learning of grammatical rules has an extremely limited function in language performance: as a monitor or editor that checks output.
- The input hypothesis. Krashen proposes that when learners are exposed to grammatical features a little beyond their current level those features are acquired.
- The affective filter hypothesis. Filter consists of attitude to language, motivation, self-confidence and anxiety. Learners with a low affective filter seek and receive more input, interact with confidence, and are more receptive to the input they are exposed to.
- Teachers must continuously deliver at a level understandable by learners
- Teaching must prepare the learners for real life communication situations
- Teachers must ensure that learners do not become anxious or defensive in language learning.
- Formal grammar teaching is of limited value because it contributes to learning rather than acquisition.
Language Teaching Implications
Language theories provide some basis for a particular teaching method or approach.
- Structuralism / behaviorism has produced the audio lingual method (ALM), oral approach / situational language teaching, bottom-up text processing, controlled-to-free writing.
The cognitive learning theory results to the cognitive approach that puts language analysis before language use and instruction by the teacher, before the students practice forms.
- Learning as a thinking process gives birth to cognitive-based and schema-enhancing strategies such as Directed Reading Thinking Activity, Story Grammar, Think-Aloud, etc.
The functional view of language introduced methods which are learner-centered, allowing learners to work in pairs or groups in information gap tasks and problem-solving activities where such communication strategies as information sharing, negotiation of meaning, and interaction are used.
- These communication-based methods include the Communicative Language Teaching / Communicative Approach, Notional-Functional Approach, Natural Approach
Cognitive – affective has given rise to a holistic approach to language learning or whole person learning. It also includes the humanistic approach, allowing learners vocabulary for expressing, sharing and understanding one’s feelings, values, and needs.
- The humanistic techniques cover Community Language Learning.