Review on English Majors – Linguistics

Review on English Majors – Linguistics

Thanks for sharing in LET Review Online Philippines Group!


Scope of Linguistic Studies

  1. 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.
  2. Phonetics – studies language at the level of sounds: how sounds are articulated by the human speech mechanism.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.=
  6. 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.
  7. Discourse – studies chunks of language which are bigger than a single sentence.

Language Views / Theories of Language

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.