Chapter 1 Introduction: Language and Linguistics
1.1What is language?
finite or infinite) of sentences, each finite in length and constructed out of a
finite set of elements. (Chomsky, 1957)
-instinctive method of communicating ideas, emotions and
desires by means of voluntarily produced symbols.
them have left out something. We must see the multi-faceted nature of language.
as a system of arbitrary vocal
symbols used for human communication.
1.2Features of human language
understanding brand new messages.
rules and the words are finite, but the sentences are infinite. Every speaker uses
There is no limit in time or space for language.
1.3Functions of language – three meta-functions
The ideational function
The interpersonal function
The textual function
1.4Types of language
– no inflections or formal changes, grammatical relationships are shown
through word order, such as Chinese and Vietnamese
– grammatical relationships are expressed by changing the internal structure
of the words, typically by changing the inflectional endings, such as English and German
– words are built out of a long sequence of units, with each unit
expressing a particular grammatical meaning, such as Japanese and Turkish
1.5The myth of language – language origin
lifting a huge hunted game, moving a rock, etc.
1.6Linguistics is the scientific study of language.
erifying the hypotheses
Branches of linguistics
Chapter 2 Phonetics
f speech sounds.
-branches of phonetics
– the production of speech sounds
– the physical properties of speech sounds
– the perceptive mechanism of speech sounds
Where does the air stream come from?
Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).
symbols are enclosed in brackets [ ] to distinguish phonetic transcriptions from the spelling system
of a language.
to which a smaller is added in order to mark the finer distinctions.
Chapter 3 Phonology
perspectives, which are concerned with the
study of speech sounds.
es to realize phonemes.
els represented by the English phonetic
alphabet are in contrastive distribution.
are distinctive in terms of phonetic features. Therefore, they are separate phonemes.
allophones of the same phoneme.
meaning, they are said to be in free variation.
re called distinctive features, and features do not,
-distinctive in another.
pronunciations in speech.
question in phonology.
in phonology as rules.
– [-voiced]/[-voiced +consonant]_
-voiced +bilabial +stop] – unaspirated/[-voiced +alveolar +fricative]_
able is a phonological unit that is composed of one or more phonemes.
or more consonants called the coda.
yet are called accidental gaps.
he pitch of our voice to express ideas.
tion patterns: fall, rise, fall-rise.
Chapter 4 Morphology
press plurality. Similarly, some regular verbs do
not change form to indicate past tense. In these two cases, the noun or verb contains two
morphemes, among which there is one “zero form” of a morpheme.
past tense. In this case, the verbs also have
two morphemes. Words which are not related in form to indicate grammatical contrast with their
roots are called suppletives.
orphemes are called free
attached to free morphemes to form new words. These morphemes are called bound morphemes.
nd a bound morpheme is whether it can be used
independently in speech or writing.
modern English indicate case and number of nouns, tense and aspect
of verbs, and degree of adjectives and adverbs.
thus formed are called derivatives.
cation of morphemes
-s, -’s, -er, -est, -ing, -ed, -s
of affixes. For example, if we add affixes to the word friend, we can form befriend, friendly,
unfriendly, friendliness, unfriendliness, etc. This process of adding more than one affix to a free
morpheme is termed complex derivation.
cannot be added to morphemes of a different language origin.
on is also constrained by phonological factors.
nation of words from the three classes –
nouns, verbs and adjectives – and fall into the three classes.
or more syllables.
example, the words bus (omnibus), vet (veterinarian), gym (gymnasium), fridge (refrigerator) and
fax (facsimile) are rarely used in their complete form.
-morphemic parts of
existing words. For example, smog (smoke + frog), brunch (a meal in the middle of morning,
replacing both breakfast and lunch), motel (motor + hotel). There is also an interesting word in the
textbook for junior middle school students – “plike” (a kind of machine that is like both a plane
and a bike).
-formation is the process that creates a new word by dropping a real or supposed suffix.
For example, the word televise is back-formed from television. Originally, the word television is
formed by putting the prefix tele- (far) to the root vision (viewing). At the same time, there is a
suffix –sion in English indicating nouns. Then people consider the –sion in the word television as
that suffix and drop it to form the verb televise.
phrase or title.
his type of word formation is common in names of organizations and scientific terminology.
word sandwich is a common noun originating from the fourth Earl of Sandwich, who put his food
between two slices of bread so that he could eat while gambling.
ry requires a word for a
new product. For example, Kodak and Coca-cola.
Chapter 5 Syntax
k word syntaxis, which literally means “arrangement”
or “setting out together”.
without appropriate inflexions, are arranged to show connexions of meaning within the sentence.
certain order in accordance with grammatical rules.
-formed or ill-formed. Native speakers of a language know
intuitively what strings of words are grammatical and what are ungrammatical.
uity is one or more string(s) of words has/have more than one meaning. For
example, the sentence Tom said he would come yesterday can be interpreted in different ways.
mple, with the
words Tom, love and Mary, we may say Tom loves Mary or Mary loves Tom.
example, in The boats are not big enough and We don’t have enough boats, the word enough is
related to different words in the two sentences.
are happy. He knows that I know that you are happy. She knows that he knows that I know that
you are happy.
loss of grammaticality. For example, consider the following sentences:
tic category called noun phrase (NP). The noun
phrases in these sentences function as subject. The knife, also a noun phrase, functions as object.
parts of speech.
(predicates), predicatives, …
attempt to deviate from traditional grammar. It deals with
the inter-relationships of different grammatical units. In the concern of structural grammar, words
are not just independent grammatical units, but are inter-related to one another.
Form class is a wider concept than part of speech in traditional grammar.
example, a(n), the, my, that, every, etc. can be placed before nouns in English sentences. These
words fall into one form class.
-down process of analysis.
tuent structure. All the components of the sentences are its
constituents. A sentence can be cut into sections. Each section is its immediate constituent. Then
each section can be further cut into constituents. This on-going cutting is termed immediate
words, IC analysis can account for the linearity and the hierarchy of sentence structure.
deserves to be re-examined.
-generative (TG) grammar
– grammar is the knowledge of native speakers.
– phrase structure rules and
transformation rules – which are followed by speakers of the language.
→ NP VP
(Det) (Adj) N
→ (Aux) V (NP) (PP)
→ P NP
mutually inclusive. If phrasal categories appear on both sides of the arrow in phrase structure rules,
the rules are recursive. Recursive rules can be applied again and again, and the phrase structure
can grow endlessly.
-categorization of the lexicon.
e same lexical category into smaller classes according to their
syntactic characteristics is called sub-categorization.
ing, isn’t he?
-functional grammar is to see how function and meaning are realized
-functions of language
oing – material process
– relational process
– mental process
– saying something
– active conscious processes
– existence of an entity
ker’s attitude and serves for interpersonal function. It is a syntactic
constituent made up of the subject and the finite.
can be categorized by modalization and modulation.
Chapter 6 Semantics
udy of meaning. However, it is not the only linguistic discipline
that studies meaning.
analysis of conventional meanings in words and sentences out of context.
eference and sense
referential theory fails to account for certain kinds of linguistic expression.
dragon, phoenix, unicorn, and mermaid.
but, and, of,
however, the, etc.
association with something in the speaker’s or hearer’s mind. The study of meaning from the
perspective of sense is called the representational approach.
– central meaning of words, stable, universal
ociative meaning – meaning that hinges on referential meaning, less stable, more
– the communicative value an expression has by virtue of what it refers to,
embraces the properties of the referent, peripheral
meaning (stylistic meaning) – what is conveyed about the social circumstances of the use
of a linguistic expression
– what is communicated of the feeling or attitude of the speaker/writer
towards what is referred to
– what is communicated through association with another sense of the same
– the associated meaning a word acquires in line with the meaning of
words which tend to co-occur with it
– lift/elevator, flat/apartment
– salt/sodium chloride
– beautiful/handsome, able/capable
repetition the writer/speaker needs to use a synonym to replace a word in the previous co-text
when he/she wants to continue to address that idea. The synonyms together function to create
cohesion of the text.
onyms – pairs of words opposite to each other, but the positive of one word does
not necessarily imply the negative of the other. For example, the words hot and cold are a pair of
antonyms, but not hot does not necessarily mean cold, maybe warm, mild or cool. Therefore, this
pair of antonyms is a pair of gradable antonyms.
– words opposite to each other and the positive of one implies the
negative of the other: alive/dead
– words that denote the same relation or process from one or the
other direction: push/pull, up/down, teacher/student
antithesis based on antonymy. Gradable antonyms may give rise to fuzziness.
– words which are identical in spelling, but different in meaning and
– words which are identical in pronunciation, but different in spelling and
– words which are identical in spelling and pronunciation, but different in
meaning: bear (v. to give birth to a baby/to stand)/bear (n. a kind of animal)
s are often used as puns.
ion, elephant and dog are hyponyms of the word animal. Words like animal are called
word meaning by decomposing it into its
atomic features. It shows the semantic features of a word.
–MALE 0ADULT ←PARENT
and inside them.
s have gained new
insights into the nature of categories.
not typical but related.
tions – semantic relations of sentences
/John is married.
antic relations are found within or between meaningful sentences. There are
sentences which sound grammatical but meaningless. These sentences are said to be semantically
anomalous. For example:
elor killed some phonemes.
rhetorical device that makes language use colourful.
phor, which has become more influential in the past two decades, holds
that metaphors are a cognitive device. Metaphor is an essential element in our categorization of
the world and our thinking process.
ot an unusual or deviant way of using
language. The use of metaphor is not confined to literature, rhetoric and art. It is actually
ubiquitous in everyday communication.
ures of metaphors
Chapter 7 Pragmatics
e analysis of meaning in context.
communicated by a speaker/writer and interpreted by a listener/reader.
terpretation of what people do
through language in a particular context.
how listeners/readers make inferences about what is communicated.
es between the two linguistic studies of meaning – semantics and
implicit, intended meaning, or speaker meaning.
nt, decontextualized, while pragmatics is context dependent,
ng via language. An expression used by
a speaker/writer to identify something is called deictic expression.
not know what these expressions refer to respectively.
and discourse deixis.
al terms are used when something is close to the speaker, while distal terms when
something is away from the speaker.
– ego-centric centre
something through talking or writing in various circumstances. Actions performed via speaking
are called speech acts.
– It’s cold here.
– Please close the door.
– the action of making the sentence
– the intentions
– the effects
the meaning intended by the speaker.
locutionary, the act of demanding for chalk is illocutionary, and the effect the utterance brings
about – one of the students will go and get some chalk – is perlocutionary.
invitation, compliment, complaint, apology, offer, refusal, etc. these specific labels name various
correspond to forms, speech acts can be direct and indirect.
not necessarily mean indirect speech acts.
each other. In other words, when people are talking with each other, they must try to converse
smoothly and successfully. In accepting speakers’ presuppositions, listeners have to assume that a
speaker is not trying to mislead them. This sense of cooperation is simply one in which people
having a conversation are not normally assumed to be trying to confuse, trick, or withhold relevant
information from one another.
what he or she says. The real intention implied in the words is called conversational implicature.
 A: Can you tell me the time?
B: Well, the milkman has come.
indicates that B may also not no the accurate time, but through saying “the milkman has come”, he
is in fact giving a rough time. The answer B gives is related to the literal meaning of the words,
but is not merely that. That is often the case in communication. The theory of conversational
implicature is for the purpose of explaining how listeners infer the speakers’ intention through the
thinks, in daily communication, people are observing a set of basic rules of cooperating with each
other so as to communicate effectively through conversation. He calls this set of rules the
cooperative principle (CP) elaborated in four sub-principles (maxims), that is the cooperative
accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange in which you are engaged. The maxims are:
mative as is required (for the current purposes of the exchange).
– Try to make your contribution one that is true.
r which you lack adequate evidence.
– Be relevant.
– Be perspicuous.
propriate amount of information, i.e.
they are telling the relevant truth clearly. The cooperative principle given by Grice is an idealized
case of communication.
listener will assume that the speaker is observing the principles “in a deeper degree”. For example:
 A: Where is Bill?
B: There is a yellow car outside Sue’s house.
ut we also
assume that B is still observing the CP and think about the relationship between A’s question and
the “yellow car” in B’s answer. If Bill has a yellow car, he may be in Sue’s house.
conversation at all, so there cannot be
implicature. Implicature can only be caused by violating one or more maxims.
axims secretly. In this way, he may
mislead the listener.
yellow car. But if B is intentionally trying to mislead A to think that Bill is in Sue’s house, we will
be misled without knowing. In this case, if one “lies” in conversation, there is no implicature in
the conversation, only the misleading.
y declares he is not cooperating. He has made it clear
that he does not want to go on with the conversation, so there is no implicature either.
maxim of quantity (make your contribution as informative as is required), he may be violating the
second principle of the maxim of quality (do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence).
 A: Where does C live?
B: Somewhere in the south of France.
because he is not giving enough information about where C lives. But he has not declared that he
will not observe the maxims. So we can know that B knows if he gives more information, he will
violate the principle “do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence”. In other words, he
has fallen into a “dilemma”. So we can infer that his implicature is that he does not know the exact
address of C. In this case, there is conversational implicature.
participant in a conversation has made an implicature, he or she is making use one of the maxims.
We can see that from the following examples:
 A: Where are you going with the dog?
B: To the V-E-T.
vet” and to hate being taken there.
Therefore, A makes the word spelled out. Here he is “flouting” the maxim of manner, making the
implicature that he does not want the dog to know the answer to the question just asked.
 (In a formal get-together)
A: Mrs. X is an old bag.
B: The weather has been quite delightful this summer, hasn’t it?
rude and he should change a topic.
Leech points out that CP in itself cannot explain why people are often so indirect in conveying
what they mean. Grice’s theory of CP is, fundamentally, logic-oriented.
language use. There are social and psychological factors that determine the choice.
consider the matter of face for themselves and others. Based on this observation, Leech proposes
the politeness principle (PP), which contains six maxims.
tact maxim expressed in terms of cost and benefit can be exemplified by the following:
Cost to H Less polite
? ↑ ↑
ing above the CP. The PP overrides the CP.
ding and decoding.
is to claim others’ attention.
versation is changing ideas, or conversing.
– to analyze the whole structure, the whole process of a conversation.
– to understand the internal structure of a conversation, the turn-taking.
-taking refers to having the right to speak by turns.
n of “I speak – you speak – I speak – you speak”, if
there are two participants.
-of-turn point is called a transition relevance place (TRP).
undamental unit of conversational structure.
common cases of adjacency pairs.
ts. It often occurs that the answer is
delayed by another pair of question and answer. Look at the following example:
- May I have a bottle of Mich? (Q1)
- Are you over 21? (Q2)
- No. (A2)
- No. (A1)
A conversation sometimes is organized in a preferential way.
Chapter 8 Language in Social Contexts
in terms of these factors, you are speaking of “a language”.
ocial classes and variation
refer to use certain adjectives which are not used normally.
in dictionaries and grammar books.
– situational variety
iety which changes according to the situation where language is used.
Usually it is shared by a group of people, such as lawyers, doctors, stamp collectors, etc.
analyzed on three dimensions: field, mode and tenor. Field is concerned with why
and about what we communicate; mode is related to how we communicate; tenor is about with
whom we communicate.
Due to trade, war, colonization and other causes languages may come into contact. When this
occurs, mixed codes may come into being, which are called pidgins and creoles.
pidgin is not the native language of any group.
-switching and code-mixing. The former refers to the fact that a
speaker changes from one language to the other in different situations or when talking about
different topics. The latter refers to the change from one language to the other language within the
actions, or persons. Euphemism is an expression that substitutes one which may be seen as
offensive or disturbing to the addressee.
-Whorf hypothesis (relationship between language and culture)
age determines our way of thinking.
Communicative competence: four components
Chapter 9 Second Language Acquisition (SLA)
– holophrastic – two-word – telegraphic
gain insight into the process, researchers have engaged in the analysis of learners’ language.
e mistakes are because of
- He came into _ classroom with a book in _ hand.
- My child goes to his school.
- I hope/wish…
- I yesterday went to … (I, yesterday, went to …/I went to … yesterday)
- Mother tongue’s influence
what learners’ language will be like if we focus on the errors.
– to borrow language from L1
rners extend patterns by analogy – overgeneralized mistakes (overextension).
Chapter 10 Linguistics and Foreign Language Teaching (FLT)
For further study, refer to my notes of Teaching Method.