Linguistic Form

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The study of a language's universal properties, on the other hand, include some of the following concepts. The lexicon is a catalogue of words and terms that are stored in a speaker's mind. The lexicon consists of words and bound morphemes , which are parts of words that can't stand alone, like affixes. In some analyses, compound words and certain classes of idiomatic expressions and other collocations are also considered to be part of the lexicon.

Dictionaries represent attempts at listing, in alphabetical order, the lexicon of a given language; usually, however, bound morphemes are not included. Lexicography , closely linked with the domain of semantics, is the science of mapping the words into an encyclopedia or a dictionary. The creation and addition of new words into the lexicon is called coining or neologization, [35] and the new words are called neologisms. It is often believed that a speaker's capacity for language lies in the quantity of words stored in the lexicon. However, this is often considered a myth by linguists.

The capacity for the use of language is considered by many linguists to lie primarily in the domain of grammar, and to be linked with competence , rather than with the growth of vocabulary.

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Even a very small lexicon is theoretically capable of producing an infinite number of sentences. As constructed popularly through the Sapir—Whorf hypothesis , relativists believe that the structure of a particular language is capable of influencing the cognitive patterns through which a person shapes his or her world view. Universalists believe that there are commonalities between human perception as there is in the human capacity for language, while relativists believe that this varies from language to language and person to person.

While the Sapir—Whorf hypothesis is an elaboration of this idea expressed through the writings of American linguists Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf , it was Sapir's student Harry Hoijer who termed it thus. The 20th century German linguist Leo Weisgerber also wrote extensively about the theory of relativity. Relativists argue for the case of differentiation at the level of cognition and in semantic domains. The emergence of cognitive linguistics in the s also revived an interest in linguistic relativity.

linguis′tic form′

Thinkers like George Lakoff have argued that language reflects different cultural metaphors, while the French philosopher of language Jacques Derrida 's writings have been seen to be closely associated with the relativist movement in linguistics, especially through deconstruction [36] and was even heavily criticized in the media at the time of his death for his theory of relativism. Linguistic structures are pairings of meaning and form. Any particular pairing of meaning and form is a Saussurean sign.

For instance, the meaning "cat" is represented worldwide with a wide variety of different sound patterns in oral languages , movements of the hands and face in sign languages , and written symbols in written languages. Linguistic patterns have proven their importance for the knowledge engineering field especially with the ever-increasing amount of available data.

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Linguists focusing on structure attempt to understand the rules regarding language use that native speakers know not always consciously. All linguistic structures can be broken down into component parts that are combined according to sub conscious rules, over multiple levels of analysis. For instance, consider the structure of the word "tenth" on two different levels of analysis. On the level of internal word structure known as morphology , the word "tenth" is made up of one linguistic form indicating a number and another form indicating ordinality.

The rule governing the combination of these forms ensures that the ordinality marker "th" follows the number "ten. Although most speakers of English are consciously aware of the rules governing internal structure of the word pieces of "tenth", they are less often aware of the rule governing its sound structure. Linguists focused on structure find and analyze rules such as these, which govern how native speakers use language. Linguistics has many sub-fields concerned with particular aspects of linguistic structure.

The theory that elucidates on these, as propounded by Noam Chomsky, is known as generative theory or universal grammar. These sub-fields range from those focused primarily on form to those focused primarily on meaning.

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They also run the gamut of level of analysis of language, from individual sounds, to words, to phrases, up to cultural discourse. Stylistics is the study and interpretation of texts for aspects of their linguistic and tonal style. Stylistic analysis entails the analysis of description of particular dialects and registers used by speech communities.

Stylistic features include rhetoric , [38] diction, stress, satire , irony , dialogue, and other forms of phonetic variations.

linguistic form

Stylistic analysis can also include the study of language in canonical works of literature, popular fiction, news, advertisements, and other forms of communication in popular culture as well. It is usually seen as a variation in communication that changes from speaker to speaker and community to community. In short, Stylistics is the interpretation of text.

One major debate in linguistics concerns the very nature of language and how it should be understood. Some linguists hypothesize that there is a module in the human brain that allows people to undertake linguistic behaviour, which is part of the formalist approach. This " universal grammar " is considered to guide children when they learn language and to constrain what sentences are considered grammatical in any human language. Proponents of this view, which is predominant in those schools of linguistics that are based on the generative theory of Noam Chomsky , do not necessarily consider that language evolved for communication in particular.

They consider instead that it has more to do with the process of structuring human thought see also formal grammar. Another group of linguists, by contrast, use the term "language" to refer to a communication system that developed to support cooperative activity and extend cooperative networks. Such theories of grammar , called "functional", view language as a tool that emerged and is adapted to the communicative needs of its users, and the role of cultural evolutionary processes are often emphasized over that of biological evolution.

Linguistics is primarily descriptive. This is analogous to practice in other sciences: a zoologist studies the animal kingdom without making subjective judgments on whether a particular species is "better" or "worse" than another. Prescription , on the other hand, is an attempt to promote particular linguistic usages over others, often favouring a particular dialect or " acrolect ". This may have the aim of establishing a linguistic standard , which can aid communication over large geographical areas.

It may also, however, be an attempt by speakers of one language or dialect to exert influence over speakers of other languages or dialects see Linguistic imperialism. An extreme version of prescriptivism can be found among censors , who attempt to eradicate words and structures that they consider to be destructive to society.

Prescription, however, may be practised appropriately in language instruction , like in ELT , where certain fundamental grammatical rules and lexical items need to be introduced to a second-language speaker who is attempting to acquire the language. The objective of describing languages is often to uncover cultural knowledge about communities. The use of anthropological methods of investigation on linguistic sources leads to the discovery of certain cultural traits among a speech community through its linguistic features. It is also widely used as a tool in language documentation , with an endeavour to curate endangered languages.

However, now, linguistic inquiry uses the anthropological method to understand cognitive, historical, sociolinguistic and historical processes that languages undergo as they change and evolve, as well as general anthropological inquiry uses the linguistic method to excavate into culture. In all aspects, anthropological inquiry usually uncovers the different variations and relativities that underlie the usage of language. Most contemporary linguists work under the assumption that spoken data and signed data are more fundamental than written data.

This is because. Nonetheless, linguists agree that the study of written language can be worthwhile and valuable. For research that relies on corpus linguistics and computational linguistics , written language is often much more convenient for processing large amounts of linguistic data.

Large corpora of spoken language are difficult to create and hard to find, and are typically transcribed and written. In addition, linguists have turned to text-based discourse occurring in various formats of computer-mediated communication as a viable site for linguistic inquiry.

Event Structures in Linguistic Form and Interpretation

The study of writing systems themselves, graphemics , is, in any case, considered a branch of linguistics. Before the 20th century, linguists analysed language on a diachronic plane, which was historical in focus. This meant that they would compare linguistic features and try to analyse language from the point of view of how it had changed between then and later. However, with Saussurean linguistics in the 20th century, the focus shifted to a more synchronic approach, where the study was more geared towards analysis and comparison between different language variations, which existed at the same given point of time.

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At another level, the syntagmatic plane of linguistic analysis entails the comparison between the way words are sequenced, within the syntax of a sentence. For example, the article "the" is followed by a noun, because of the syntagmatic relation between the words. The paradigmatic plane on the other hand, focuses on an analysis that is based on the paradigms or concepts that are embedded in a given text. In this case, words of the same type or class may be replaced in the text with each other to achieve the same conceptual understanding. Western interest in the study of languages began somewhat later than in the East, [40] but the grammarians of the classical languages did not use the same methods or reach the same conclusions as their contemporaries in the Indic world. Early interest in language in the West was a part of philosophy, not of grammatical description. The first insights into semantic theory were made by Plato in his Cratylus dialogue , where he argues that words denote concepts that are eternal and exist in the world of ideas.

This work is the first to use the word etymology to describe the history of a word's meaning. Around BC, one of Alexander the Great 's successors founded a university see Musaeum in Alexandria , where a school of philologists studied the ancient texts in and taught Greek to speakers of other languages. In the 18th century, the first use of the comparative method by William Jones sparked the rise of comparative linguistics. The study of language was broadened from Indo-European to language in general by Wilhelm von Humboldt , of whom Bloomfield asserts: [44].

Early in the 20th century, Saussure introduced the idea of language as a static system of interconnected units, defined through the oppositions between them.

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By introducing a distinction between diachronic and synchronic analyses of language, he laid the foundation of the modern discipline of linguistics. Saussure also introduced several basic dimensions of linguistic analysis that are still foundational in many contemporary linguistic theories, such as the distinctions between syntagm and paradigm , and the langue-parole distinction , distinguishing language as an abstract system langue from language as a concrete manifestation of this system parole.

During the last half of the 20th century, following the work of Noam Chomsky , linguistics was dominated by the generativist school. While formulated by Chomsky in part as a way to explain how human beings acquire language and the biological constraints on this acquisition, in practice it has largely been concerned with giving formal accounts of specific phenomena in natural languages.

Generative theory is modularist and formalist in character. Chomsky built on earlier work of Zellig Harris to formulate the generative theory of language.

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