XI Theories and Schools of Modern Linguistics

XI Theories and Schools of Modern Linguistics

XI Theories and Schools of Modern Linguistics Saussure (1857-1913) The Swiss linguist father of modern linguistics a master of a discipline which he made modern

Lg is an extremely complex and heterogeneous phenomen on. Among the various aspects and different perspectives, l inguists need to ask what he is trying to describe. Lg is one of social facts, which are the ideas in the collect

ive mind of a society and radically distinct from individua l psychological acts. Saussure believes lg is a system of signs. Sound (signifier)+ideas(signified)=sign (a system of conve ntion) Dichotomy: langue-parole; syntagmatic-paratagmatic; syn chronic-diachronic langue: the structure of a system that gives the potential fo r the words or utterances to exist Parole: what people actually say or what appears on the pa ge

Saussures contribution 1. Saussure provided a general orientation, a sense of the task of linguistics which had seldom been question ed. 2. He influenced modern linguistics in the specific co ncepts. Many of the developments of modern linguisti cs can be described as his concepts: his ideas of the ar bitrart nature of the sign, langue-parole; synchrony-dia

chrony; syntagmatic-aradigmatic relations. Saussures fundamental perception is of revolutionary significanc e, and it is he that pushed linguistics into a brand new stage and all linguistics in the twentieth century are Sa ussurean linguistics. The Prague School

Mathesius (1882-1946) A special style of synchronic linguistics Most important contribution: sees lg in terms of function 1. It was stressed that the synchronic study of lg is fully just ified as it can draw on complete and controllable material fo r investigation. 2. Emphasis on the systemic character of lg. No element ca

n be satisfactorily analysed or evaluated if viewed in isolati on. Assessment can only be made if its relationship is establ ished with co-existing elements in the same lg system. Elee nts are held to be in functional contrast or opposition. 3. Lg was looked on as functional as it is a tool performing a number of essential functions or tasks for the community using it. Phonology and phonological opposition

Prague School Contribution: phonology and the distinction between phonetics and phonology Trubetzkoy: Principle of Phonology (1939) Functional Sentence Perspective (FSP)

A theory of linguistic analysis which refers to an analysis of utterances in terms of the information they contain. The principle is that the roles of each utterance part is evaluated for its semantic contribution to the whole. Czech linguists: a sentence contains a point of departure and a goal of discourse. The point of departure is equally present to the speaker and to the hearerit is the ground on which they meet ( THEME). The goal of discourse presents the very information that

is to be imparted to the hearer (RHEME) FSP is used to describe how information is distr ibuted in sentences. It particularly deal with the effect of the distribution of known information and new information in discourse. ---Sally stands on the table Subject predicate Theme rheme

--On the table stands Sally. predicate subject Theme rheme

J. Firbas: Communicative Dynamism Linguistic communication is not a static pheno menon, but a dynamic one. CD is meant to mea sure the amount of information an element carri es in a sentence. The degree of CD is the effect contributed by a linguistic element, for it pushes the communication forward. He was mad. The London School

B. Malinowski (1884-1942) J. R. Firth (1890-1960) M. A. K. Halliday The importance of context of situation The system aspect of language Malinowski theory

By context of situation, Firth meant a series of contexts of situations, each smaller one being embedded into a larger, to the extent that all the contexts of situation play essential parts in the whole of the context of culture. The integration of situational context and the lin guistic context of a text 1. The relevant features of the participants: persons

, personalities (a) the verbal action of the participants (b) the non-verbal action of the participants 2. The relevant topics, including objects, events, an d non-linguistic, non-human events. 3. The effect of the verbal action Halliday and Systemic-Functiona l Grammar

Sociologically oriented functional linguistic appraoch. Effect on lg teaching, sociolinguistics, discourse analy sis, stylistics, and machine translation. Two components: systemic grammar and functional gr ammar. Adults lg become more complex, and is reduced to a set of highly coded and abstract functions, which are

meta-functions: the ideational, the interpersonal, and t he textual functions. Ideational function The ideational function is to convey new infor mation, to communicate a content that is unkno wn to the hearer. It is a meaning potential, for whatever specific use one is making of lg he ha

s to refer to categories of his experience of the world. Transitivity: material processes, mental proces ses, relational processes, verbal processes, beha vioral processes, existential processes. The Interpersonal Function

It embodies all uses of lg to express social and persona l relations. This includes various ways the speaker ente rs a speech situation and perform a speech act. Interpersonal function is realised by MOOD( ) an d MODALITY( ). Mood shows what role the speaker selects in the speec h situation and what role he assigns to the addressee. Modality specifies whether the speaker is expressing h is judgment or making a prediction.

The textual function It refers to the fact that lg has mechanisms to make any stretch of spoken or written discours e into a coherent and unified text and make a li ving passage different from a random list of se ntences. (p. 315) Biding devices which help make a discourse i

nto a coherent and unified text is called collect ively as the Cohesion of a text. Realization of three functions Because lg serves as a generalised ideational function, we are able to use it for all the specific purposes an dty

pes of context which involve the communication of ex pereince. Because it serves a generalised interpersonal function, we are able to use it for the specific forms of personal expression and social interaction. A prerequisite to its effective operation under both thes e headings is what we have referred to as the textual fu nction, whereby lg becomes text, is related to itself and to its context of use. Without the textual component of meaning, we should not be able to make any use of lg at all.

American Structuralism A branch of synchronic linguistics that emerged independently in the United States at the beginning of the twentieth century. Early period: Boas and Sapir BOAS: Handbook of American Indian Languag es (1911): an important introduction which is a good summery of the descriptive approach to lg .

1. There is no ideal type or form of lg, for human l gs were endlessly diverse. 2. Opposed to the view that lg is the soul of a race. There were only differences in lg structure, whil e there is no difference between lgs in terms of being more or less reasonable or advanced.

The framework of descriptive linguistics: it consists of thre e parts. 1. The sound of lgs. 2. The semantic categories of linguistic expression 3. Th eprocess of grammatical combination in semantic exp ression. The important task for linguists is to discover a lgs particu

lar grammatical structure and to develop descriptive catego ries appropriate to it. His methodology is analytical , without comparing it with European lgs. Although he failed to establish linguistics as an independen t branch of science, his basic theory, his observation, and hi s descriptive methods paved way fro American descriptive linguistics and influenced generation of linguists.

Sapir: Language: An introduction to the Study o f Speech (1921) Focus on typology Lg is the means and thought is the end product; without lg, thought is impossible. The universal feature of lg: distinct phonetic s ystems, concrete combinations of sound and me aning, various means of representing all kinds o

f relations. Bloomfields theory

The principal representative of American descriptive li nguistics. 1933-1950 the Bloomfieldian Era, in which the Americ an descriptive linguistics formally came into being and reached its prime development. Language (1933) the model of scientific methodology and the greatest work in linguistics. Linguistics is a branch of psychology, esp. Behaviouris m. Behaviourism holds that human beings cannot know an ything that they have not experienced.

Behaviourism holds that children learn lg throu gh a chain of Stimulus-Response reinforcement. , and adult use of lg is also a process of stimulu s-response. It is believed that a linguistic description was re liable when based on observation of unstudied u tterance by speakers. Therefore, the popular pra

ctice in linguistic study was to accept what a nat ive speaker says in his lg and to discard what he says about his lg.

Sr-------------------sR When one individual is stimulated, his speech c an make another individual react accordingly. The division of labour and all human activities based on the division of labour are dependent o n language. The distance between the speaker and hearer, t wo separate nervous systems, is bridged up by sound waves. Bloomfield touched upon the application of lin guistics to lg teaching and criticised traditional grammar which are prescriptive.

Post-Bloomfieldian Linguistics Characterised by a strict empiricism. The appropriate goal for general linguistics was to devise explicit discovery procedures to enable the computer to process linguistic raw data abou

t any lg and form a complete grammar without t he intervention by the human linguists. They focus on direct observation. They also took a interest in the discourse level i n order to develop discovery procedures for stru cture above the sentence level. Some works

Harris: Methods in Structural Linguistics (1951): mar king the maturity of American descriptive linguistics. Hockett: A Course in Modern Linguistics (1958): a w ell-known textbook in the American descriptive traditi on. It contains and develops many of the insights gaine d from the work carried out within the structuralist par adigm from 1930s onwards. K. Pike (1912-2000) Tagmemics ( ) Sydney M. Lamb: stratificational grammar (

). Structuralism is based on the assumption that grammatical categories should be defined not i n terms of meaning but in terms of distribution , and that the structure of each lg should be de scribed without reference to the alleged univer sitality of such categories as tense, mood, and parts of speech.

Structural grammar describes everything that is found i n a lg instead of laying down rules. --The aim is confin ed to the description of lgs, without explaining why lg operates the way it does.

Structural grammar is empirical, aiming at objectivity i n the sense that all definition and statements should be verifiable or refutable.no complete grammar. Structural grammar examines all lgs, recognizing and d oing justice to uniqueness of each lg.no adequate trea tment of meaning. Structural grammar describes even the smallest contrast that underlies any construction or use of a lg, not only d iscoverable in some particular use. Transformational-Generative Grammar

Noam Chomsky (1928-) Syntactic Structure 91957) mark ed the beginning of the Chomskyan Revolution. Five stages: 1. The Classical Theory aims to make linguistics a scien ce.

2. The Standard Theory deals with how semantics shoul d be studied in a linguistic theory. 3. The Extended Standard Theory focused discussion o n language universals and universal grammar. 4. The Revised Extended Standard Theory focuses disc ussion on government and binding. 5. The Minimalist Program is a further revision of the pr evious theory. The innateness Hypothesis

Children are born with Language Acquisition D evice (LAD), which is a unique kind of knowle dge that fits them for lg learning. Children are born with knowledge of the basic grammatical relations and categories, and this k nowledge is universal.

The study of lg can throw some light on the nat ure of the human mind. A reaction against behaviourism in psychology and empiricism in philosophy. What children learn seems to be a set of rules ra ther than individual sentences, although childre n are not born knowing a lg, they are born with a predisposition to develop a lg in much the sa me way as they are born with the predisposition to learn to walk. LAD: three elements:

1. A hypothesis maker (look for regularity, make hypothesis) 2. Linguistic universals 3. An evaluation procedure (more than one versio n of grammar) What is generative grammar?

A system of rules that in some explicit and wel l-defined way assigns structural descriptions to sentences. Every speaker of a lg has mastered and internal ised a generative grammar that expresses his kn owledge of his lg. It is not limited to particular lgs, but the reveal t he unity of particular grammars and universal g rammars.

Three levels to evaluate a grammar Observational adequacy:grammar are able to produce correct ex planations for raw linguistic data Descriptive adequacy: grammars should not only produce correc t explanations for raw linguistic data, but also produce correct e

xplanation for the linguistic competence of the speaker and hear er. Explanatory adequacy: grammars that are sufficiently described should reveal linguistic competence and then relate it with unive rsal grammar in order to be related to the initial state of the hum an mind for the purpose of revealing human cognitive systems. It is after successful descriptions of many lgs and subsequent ge neralizations of universal features of human lg that it is possible to explore the initial state of the human mind that contains unive rsal grammars. Hypothesis deduction

Immediate Constituents analysis cannot deal with the following sentences: John is easy to please. John is eager to please. Visiting relatives can be tiresome.

Flying plane is dangerous. The classical theory Features: 1. Emphasis on generative ability of lg. 2. Introduction of transformational rules. 3. Grammatical descriptions regardless of meaning.

Three grammars: 1. Finite state grammar: the simplest type of grammar which, with a finite amount of apparatus, can generate an infinite number of sentence. However, it is impossible to construct an observationally adequate English grammar which is a finite-state grammar.

Therefore it is necessary to work out a gramma r that, with a finite set of rules, can generate all the grammatical sentences in a lg without gener ating a single non-grammatical sentence. Then a grammar is seen as a system of finite rules ge nerating an infinite number of sentences. The rules should meet certain requirements.

1. Generative 2. Simple 3. Explicit phrase structure grammar 4. Exhaustive (p. 330) 5. Recursive The Standard Theory Aspects of the Theory of Syntax (1965) Problems with the Classical Theory 1. The transformational rules are too powerful.

--John has a book. --A book was had by John. 2. Rules may generate ill-formed sentences as well as wellformed sentences. --John hit the tree. --The tree hit John. 3. Transformational rules for the passive voice cannot be used at will. This shows that transformational rules are not universally applicable.(p.333)

Therefore, Chomsky included a semantic c omponent in his grammatical model. (Aspe cts of the Theory of Syntax) The generative grammar consists of three c omponents: syntax, phonological and sema ntic. The improvement that has been made

The Extended Standard Theory Extended Standard Theory and

1. Transformational rules still too powerful 2. Derived nouns have the same semantic properties with their corresponding verbs, which are actually not. 3. Transformational process will not change the meaning of the sentence, while actually any kind of transformation will change the sentence meaning. 4. Cannot explain gapped structures Many transformational rules must have complex constraints. Revised Extended Standard Theory: semantic interpretation was put in the surface structure.

Later theories 1. Government and Binding 2. Minimalist Program The initial state of human lgs are the same whil e the states of acquiring different lgs are not. A universal grammar is a theory of studying theini tial states and particular grammars are theories of studying the states of acquisition. While the f

aculty of lg consists of a cognitive system that s tores information such as sound, meaning, and s tructure, the performance system retrieves and u ses the information. Main features of TG grammar

Rationalism Innateness Deductive methodology Emphasis on interpretation Formalism Emphasis on linguistic competence Strong generative powers Emphasis on linguistic universals

Case grammar Generative semantics

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