LI4211 Linguistics 1 Assignment Example UL Ireland
Linguistics is a fascinating academic field that studies language and how people use it. The module will introduce you to some basic concepts and theories in linguistics. The various subfields and branches will be introduced including phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, language variation and change, discourse analysis, and anthropological linguistics.
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On successful completion of the module students should be able to:
Understand the purpose of linguistic study, including phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics
Linguistics is the scientific study of language. It covers everything from the sounds of speech to the structure of words and sentences, and from how languages are learned to how they are used in communication.
The purpose of linguistic study is to investigate the internal structure and external patterns of human languages. The linguistic inquiry covers all areas that are related to language, including phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics.
- Phonetics: Phonetics is the study of the physical properties of speech sounds. Phonetics is the scientific study of speech sounds or phones that are distinct from one another even though they can be produced by similar organs (e.g., lips). Phonetics focuses on articulation rather than transmission or reception; it deals with how humans produce sound waves using their vocal tract (i.e., mouth and lungs) while excluding discussion about what those sounds mean (“crying” versus “laughter”).
- Phonology: Phonology is a branch of linguistics that studies the sound system of a language, its sounds, and how these sounds are organized. It can particularly focus on the use of sounds to differentiate meaning in a language, or the elaboration of a sound or sequence of sounds to express a word or a sequence of words.
- Morphology: Morphology is the study of the internal structure of words and the formation of words in a language. Morphology is the study of how words are formed. It divides words into individual portions that can be re-combined to form new words. Rules of morphology are only considered valid if they are used consistently.
- Syntax: Syntax is the study of language structure with an emphasis on grammar. Syntacticians are particularly interested in the ways that different combinations of words can create meaning, with most syntacticians holding that sentence structure is not only determined by the words themselves but by predetermined rules.
- Semantics: Semantics is the study of meaning, signification, and reference. It is the branch of linguistics that deals with how words and sentences create meanings.
Identify patterns and systems in language and develop tools of analysis with which to examine language
Patterns and systems in language are what make it possible for humans to communicate at all. Language is a system of patterns, each pattern made up of smaller units that together create larger structures. The ability to identify these patterns and analyze them with tools such as grammar rules or statistical analysis allows one person (the analyst) to understand what another person (the subject) meant when they used the language (text).
The tools of analysis with which to examine language are semiotics, linguistics, and structuralism.
- Semiotics is the study of signs – in this case, written or spoken symbols that convey meaning.
- Linguistics studies the structure and use of words in a language. It analyzes sentence patterns for variety and complexity levels as well as word usage within sentences.
- Structuralism uses analytical techniques from anthropology, sociology, economics, and other social sciences to study how society shapes belief systems through cultural practices such as rituals or myths.
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Demonstrate how words are structured and describe how they are formed
Words are structured in a way that they can be easily understood by other people. This is done through the use of grammar, which is a set of rules that describe how words should be formed and used. The main goal of this structure is to make sure that all meanings come from one source so there’s no confusion about what someone means when they say something. Words are formed by combining different parts, or morphemes, into different words. Morphemes can be anything from sounds to letters to particles, and each type has its own specific role within the word-formation process.
Words are structured in a specific way depending on their part of speech. For example, nouns are typically made up of one or more morphemes (word parts that carry meaning). There are two types of morphemes: base and affix. A base morpheme is the root word, and affixes are added to the base to change its meaning.
A root word is the smallest unit of meaning in a language. The root word “walk” means “to move forward by stepping.” A prefix is added to the beginning of a word to change its meaning. The prefix “un-” means “the opposite of.” So when you add the prefix “un-” to the root word “walk,” you get the word “unwalk,” which means to move backward by stepping.
Understand sentence structure and describe how words combine to make sentences
Sentences are made of clauses. A clause is a group of words that can be a verb, an adjective, or another sentence element and which performs some action or describes something about the subject. Clause patterns determine how sentences are structured. There are three types of clause patterns: independent, dependent, and consecutive.
- An independent clause has no need to rely on another part of the sentence for completion because it can stand alone as a complete thought–“I like eating apples.”
- A dependent clause needs another word or phrase to complete its meaning because the information has been omitted–“It was very cold outside so I went inside.”
- And conversely, a consecutive pattern begins with what seems like an afterthought but then becomes important later in relation to what was said before–“I like ice cream cones. They’re my favorite ice cream treat.
Comprehend grammatical systems and describe how language conveys meaning
Language is composed of a system of symbols that are arranged in a certain order to convey meaning. The symbols can be anything from sounds to gestures, and the order in which they are arranged can create different meanings.
Grammar is the system of rules that govern the structure of language. It’s what tells us how to put words together to form sentences, and how to inflect (or change) them to show their function in a sentence.
Grammar also conveys meaning by indicating which words are used in combination, and how those combinations create sentences. For example, when we say “I love you,” the word “love” takes on a different meaning depending on its function in the sentence. In this case, it’s a verb (action), not a noun. And when we say “I am loving you,” the word “loving” becomes an action that is happening right now. So, grammar can be used to express subtle differences in meaning that wouldn’t be possible with just individual words alone.
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