CHAPTER 1 || What is Linguistics? Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in CHAPTER 1 || What is Linguistics? Deck (21):
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LINGUISTICS

The scientific study of language.

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ARBITRARINESS

The property of linguistic signs whereby there is no intrensic or necessary relation between the signifier (form) and signified (meaning).

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CULTURAL TRANSMISSION

Children learn to speak the language or languages used in the environment in which they are reared; they do not inherit their language via parental genes, in the way they inherit hair and skin color. This is cultural transmission.

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DEAF SIGN LANGUAGE

A language used by deaf people in which the lexical and grammatical units are represented by manual gestures and other body movements.

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DESIGN FEATURES

A set of features that is satisfied by all human languages that distinguishes them from other sign systems. The six most important features are:

  1. Arbitrariness
  2. Displacement
  3. Cultural Transmission
  4. Duality
  5. Productivity
  6. Reflexivity

Proposed by Charles Hockett.

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DISPLACEMENT

A design features of language that refers to the fact that language can be used in reference to things that are not present in the immediate situation of the speaker.

Ex. When someone is talking about things that are not present, like an event that took place in a distant time.

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DUALITY

A design feature of language referring to the simultaneous organization of language on both the level of form and the level of meaning.

Ex. The Warrwa word for yila (dog) is made up of sounds that are meaningless in themselves, but when put together in a certain way make up the sign-form.

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FORMALISM

Page 18-19

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FUNCTIONALISM

Page 19

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ICON

A sign in which the form bears some resemblance to the meaning.

Ex. The manual gesture for two would be a hand holding up two fingers.

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PARADIGMATIC RELATION

A paradigm is a set of associated signifiers or signifieds which are all members of some defining category, but in which each is significantly different.

A paradigmatic relation is a relation between a linguistic unit and other units that can occur in the same position in a construction.

It is a relation that holds between elements of the same category (i.e. elements that can be substituted for each other).

Paradigmatic concerns substitution.

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PRODUCTIVITY

A design feature of language referring to the ability of speakers to make new meanings by putting together linguistic elements in new ways to form novel expressions.

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REFLEXIVITY

A design feature of language referring to the property that it can be used to talk about itself.

The process of examining both oneself and the relationship towards one's self. 

 

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SAUSSURE

Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913).

A Swiss linguist who was a key figure in refocusing the interest from historical concerns to the notion of language as a system.

He is widely considered to be the founding father of modern linguistics.

His Cours de linguistique générale [Course in general linguistics] was published posthumously in 1916.

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SCIENTIFIC METHOD

Involves formulation and testing of hypothesis (a theory, a guess) and generalizations, as well as theory development, development of ways of understanding language. Linguistics as a scientific endeavour is as much a theoretical enterprise as an empirical one: whatever observations one makes are useful and make sense only in relation to hypothesis and theories.

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SIGN

A fundamental item made up of two inherent components, a form (somtimes called signifier) and a meaning (also called signifier).

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SPEECH

The primary medium of human languages. It is historically prior to writing, which is a recent invention, dating back to a few thousand years.

Most languages are virtually exclusively spoken.

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STRUCTURALISM

Any approach to linguistics that focuses on the interrelatedness of linguistic units, the ways they form structures and systems of oppositions.

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SYMBOL

A sign in which the association between the form and the meaning is not similar, unlike an icon.

Symbols are established purely by convention. 

Ex. The peace sign (the circle with the three lines in the middle).

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SYNTAGMATIC RELATION

A relation between linguistic items that are present in an utterance.

Relations between signs that appear in the presence of one another. 

Ex. Terrible describes day and is dependent on it (you can omit it, but you can't omit the following word day).

Ex. Never and forget are syntagmaticlly related, but the relation is different: never does not describe forget in the way that terrible describes day.

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WRITING

The activity or skill of marking coherent words on paper and composing text.

Writing is the secondary, and sometimes rarely used, form of human language. It is a recent invention.