people able to talk together by rrrkakushi

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									How          are    studied       in   linguistics.     Because

langu        modern linguistics has roots which go

age          back to the early nineteenth century and

chang        beyond, many people are familiar with

es           some of the things which interested

throug       linguists then and still interest them

h            today.

time,               They find it understandable that a

how it       linguist should try to find the line which

varies       separates those areas in New England
throug       where barn is "barrn" (with r) from those
h            areas where it is "bahn" (without r ) ; and
space,       they may even envy him a bit when he
how it       goes to an Indian reservation or South
differs      America or Africa to investigate some
from
             hitherto undescribed tongue and thus add
one
             his little bit to our meager knowledge of
social
             the world's 2,000 to 4,000 languages. (No
group
             one knows how many there are.)
to
                    But when a linguist says that he is
anoth
             doing some research which he hopes will
er,
             help us understand a little better how it is
and
             that    "two     people     are     able   to   talk
most
of     all   together," most people shake their heads

how it       in puzzlement.

worlds              Yet how two people are able to talk

—            together       is,   of   course,    the    central
these        problem. During the 1930's and 1940's,
things       most American linguists attacked it by
           author.
trying
           EXPOSITORY TYPE: PROCESS
to

work

out

better

techni

ques

of

discov

ering

the

struct

ure of

lan-


 From
 NEA
 Jour
  nal
  (Janu
     ary
 1965).
  Repri
    nted
      by
  permi
  ssion
  of the
   Natio
     nal
Educ
ationa
l
Asso
ciatio
n and
the
    guage—any language—and of analyzing and
    classifying what they found.
    Then, in the late 1950's there came a rather
    dramatic swing in another
   direction: away from mere classification of data
   toward a search for uni-
   versals and a broad, inclusive "theory of
   language."
      In a sense this has been merely a return to
some of the prime interests of our nineteenth
century predecessors—Wilhelm von Humboldt,
for example. It has also brought American
linguistics out of the scholarly isolation from which
it suffered for a time, and into closer contact with
such related disciplines as psychology and
philosophy. (The contact with anthropology has
always been close.)

    How aretwo people able to talk together?
Since most of us never ask this question, but take
the matter for granted, it is useful to consider just
what goes on. Let us assume that we have a
speaker A and a hearer B, that A says something
to B, and that B understands him without difficulty.
Here an act of communication via language has
taken place. But how did it take place ? What
went on inside of A ? How did the communication
move from A to B ? And what went on inside of
B ? The process seems to consist of at least
eleven different steps. [See the diagram on page
217.J

     / . SemanticEncoding,We assume that A has
some sort of "meaning (or whatever we want to
call it) which he wishes to convey to B. His
firstguagche is wing (English, we shall say).
Since this is like putting a
message in shape to fit the code in which it is to
be sent, we can call the
process semantic encoding* §
H:If A wants to talk to B about some sort of timepiece, his encoding will depend on
whether he means the kind that hangs on the wall or stands on a table (a chc/()9or the
kind that is carried in the pocket or worn on the wrist (a watch), In German the single
semantic unit Uhrincludes

								
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