Intro to Linguistics

Topics: International Phonetic Alphabet, Phonology, Linguistics Pages: 21 (7180 words) Published: December 1, 2012
What is Linguistics?
The study of human languages; including the influence of one language on another; how language and words are formed and change within time; the rules of the language- how words are formed, the structure of sentences and words; relationship between culture and language; how language is acquired- the process of language acquisition (foreigner verses mother tongue language). There are two approaches/types of linguistics:

1. Traditional Linguistics- the only field that ruled until the 20 century. 2. Modern Linguistics

Traditional Linguistics
1. Proscriptive approach- according to this approach, linguists tell native speakers how to use their own mother tongue- what are the rules: set norms of/ dictating the right use of the language, the rules and the right use of the language- educating the native speakers. The goal is to tell the speakers what is considered right or wrong language. 2. Focus on the written language- Most of the focus is on the written text, which is considered superior to the spoken language; the base of the rules. 3. Diachronic Research (etymology) - Historical research- the study of the origins of words and languages, which reveals many connections between different languages. Due to technological developments, the influence of one language on another is even higher these days.

Modern Linguistics
At the beginning of the 20 century, there was a shift of interest to the following: The human languages are more complex and highly different than animal communication systems- due to amazing cognitive human communication ability (the language faculty). A known Swiss linguist, Ferdinand de Sassure- the first linguist to pose the following question: what do we know when we know a language (mother tongue)? By asking this question the focus of linguistics was shifted from grammar to the study of human language as a cognitive ability (cognitive science). The focus shifted to Language faculty (יכולת) - and what it consists of. Characteristics:

1. Descriptive approach- we observe native speakers' use the language, both in writing and in speaking, and try to draw conclusions out of it- learn about the changes that the language undergoes through time. Not interested in what should be, but rather in what IS. There is no judgment of the use, just observation and description of the current use, in order to analyze and find correlations. 2. Focus is on the spoken language- point of departure is that the spoken language is more important to the research because of the following: * It is less conscious, more natural, spontaneous and dynamic and therefore it reflects better the current use of the language. * Not all languages have a written system, but everyone has at least one mother tongue language. * The written language is less natural- one needs to study it in a very logical way; whereas the spoken language –mother tongue is acquired in a natural process, common to everyone (normally in the early years of 3-4). 3. Synchronic Research (current) - the focus is not on the origin/History of the words; but on the current use of the words today. We are less interested in what happened; but rather in what is happening today. Knowing "The" whereas knowing "about"!

Linguistic Fields
1. Phonetics- the study of linguistic sounds (also called phones) which are consisted of consonants and vowels. The focus is on the articulation and pronunciation of sounds (independent of the letters/ graphics).How the sound is produced. It is independent of the letters (which is just the graphics). How we produce and perceive sounds. 2. Phonology- deals with sounds in interaction, and when they are brought together into words- they usually affect each other. Cats(s), dogs(z)- something very systematic- (למה אומרים סבתא ולא ספתא)) 3. Morphology- examines words' structure, and the ways words are added into our...
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