THE Linguistics

What is meant by the field of linguistics? This introductory chapter concerns some dimensions of linguistics, which give us a general idea of what linguistics is, including the history of linguistic, grammar, and other disciplines of linguistics study. What does grammar consist of and what are the relationship between one and another? How many languages do human beings have the capacity to acquire? What other studies are made in recent centuries? Each of these aspects are clearly described, and other chapters will go into further details.

While in this chapter we will provide some less detailed information on the various aspects of linguistics mentioned so far. 1. 1 Defining Linguistics There is nothing that can be said by mathematical symbols and relations which cannot also be said by words. The converse, however, is false. Much that can be and is said by words cannot successfully be put into equations, because it is nonsense. C. Truesdell Linguistics is a study to describe and explain the human faculty of language. There is no doubt that linguistics has changed through human development. 1. 1. 1 History of linguistics

The history of linguistics can be divided into three periods: antiquity, middle ages and modern linguistics. Antiquity Dating back to earlier period of linguistics, linguistics is often associated with a need to disambiguate discourse, especially for ritual texts or in arguments. Ancient Indians made a big contribution to linguistics development. Similarly, ancient Chinese played a key role in improving linguistics development. Around the same time as the Indian developed, ancient Greek philosophers were also debating the nature and origins of language.

During this period, syntax and the use of particles developed fast. In addition, scholars proposed that word meanings are derived from sentential usage. 1. 1. 1. 2 Middle Ages In Middle East, in terms of expanding Islam in 8th century, a large number of people learn Arabic. Because of this, the earliest grammar came to being gradually. At the same time, Sibawayh, a famous scholar, wrote a book to distinguish phonetics from phonology. In the 13th century, Europeans introduced the notion of universal grammar. Modern Linguistics Modern linguistics’ beginning can date back to the late 18th century.

With time passing by, the study of linguistics contains increasing contents. Meanwhile, it is used in other fields, computer, e. g. , has come to be called computational linguistics. The study of applications (as the recovery of speech ability) is generally known as applied linguistics. But in a narrower sense, applied linguistics refers to the application of linguistic principles and theories of language teaching and learning, especially the teaching of foreign and second language. Other related branches include anthropological linguistics, neurological linguistics, mathematical linguistics, and computational linguistics.

However, linguistics is only a part of a much larger academic discipline, semiotics. It is the scientific study of language. It studies not just one single language of any one society, just like Chinese or French, but the language of all human beings. A linguist, though, does not have to know and use a large number of languages, but to investigate how each language is constructed. In short, linguistics studies the general principles whereupon all human languages are constructed and operated as systems of communication in their societies or communities. 1. 1. 2 An Interesting Comparison

Linguistics is a broad field to study, therefore, a linguist sometimes is only able to deal with one aspect of language at a time, and thus various branches arise: phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, applied linguistics, pragmatics, psycholinguistics, lexicology, lexicography, etymology and so on. Suppose that the study of linguistics can be considered to be a computer, so linguistics is equal to the CPU, which supports all the other parts. Moreover, sound card would stand for phonetics and phonology, and then morphology and semantics are like the memory of the computer.

What’s more, syntax plays as an important role to translate single words to a whole sentence which is full of meaning, just like a graphics card, which uses picture to make sense of the idea of memory stick. Finally, everything is ready, it’ s time to use computer and the same goes for language acquisition. Very interestingly, the properties of computer are amazingly similar to human language. from www. iflytek. com/english/Research-Introduction%20to%20TTS. htm Above all, linguistics is concerned with the study of verbal language– particularly speech and written language.

What’s more, language is a system and there is a set of options of which one must be chosen depending on the purpose and context. (Marie E. & John P. , 1991, p. 64). 1. 2 The broad study of language Language is a highly complex system of communication, so it sometimes will be called a ‘system of systems’. It is used to construct, exchange, express, and record information and ideas. It performs these functions effectively because it is based upon systems that are understood by those using the language. In this chapter, four topics will be concerned.

They are phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics. In this section, some overall definitions and interactions among the four parts will be talked about. 1. 2. 1 Phonology In order to assist learners at the early stages of literacy, it is very important to understand the relationship between sounds and letters. The sounds of speech are studied in phonetics and phonology. (Marie E. & John P, 1991) 1. 2. 1. 1 Definitions of phonology and phonetics Phonology is the study of sound systems- the invention of distinctive speech sounds that occurs in a language and the patterns wherein they fall.

In other words, we study the abstract side of the sounds of language, a related but different subject that we call phonology (Peter, 2000). In short, it is about patterns and roots. On the other hand, it is more strict linguistics. Phonetics is the science which studies the characteristics of human sound-making, especially sounds used in speech, and provides methods for their description, classification and transcription. In common, speech sound is used everywhere, and it can be divided into three parts: articulatory phonetics, auditory phonetics, and acoustic phonetics. . 2. 1. 2 The difference between phonology and phonetics It seems that phonology and phonetics are similar. That is why both of them make learners confused. In fact, they have great difference. Phonology pays attention to how speech sounds of a language pattern are put together according to regular rules. On the contrary, phonetics focuses mainly on description of how speech sounds are made. For instance, if someone says “we should get our two lips close together and then push them open with a strong air”, that means he or she is relevant to phonetics field.