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The Nature and Function of Language

{Mind map} English Language Unit 1, Area of Study 1

My Huyen Nguyen

on 25 July 2016

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Transcript of The Nature and Function of Language

Language is ...
-A means of conveying information: we use language to covey our thoughts and ideas to others.
-An instrument of action: it is used to direct, to command, as a means of getting things, in an authoritative and contractual manner
-Maintaining social relationships: 'Talking for the sake of talking' to promote interaction between people, 'phatic communication'.
-A marker of groups: to mark group membership, to separate those that are 'in' from those that are 'out'.
-An instrument of cognitive and conceptual development: in order to develop the ability to interpret and construct ideas, one must engage in the use of language by conversing.
Language is arbitrary
; this means it is subjective to the situation and is random
-Languages are linear: one element follows another.
Modes of language
Subsystems of language
The Nature and Function of

Elements of Language
refers to the addressee/s (person/s being spoken to) of the words phrases and sentences and the relationship of the participants
refers to the social situations in which the words, phrases and sentences are used; social and cultural values.
refers to the actual words, phrases and sentences.
refers to the meaning of the words phrases and sentences.
refers to the intended purpose of the words, phrases and sentences.
Phonetics and phonology
Morphology and lexicology
Discourse analysis

Why study Language?
Language is central to human life therefore it is essential to learn about the language we use as it assists us in understanding ourselves and others
-It is the primary form of communication
-Fleeting/transient, spontaneous and rapid
-Casual and unplanned
-non-fluency features: hesitations, false starts, pauses, and fillers such as hmm, err and uhuh.
-Paralinguistic features: facial expressions, body gestures and eye gaze
-Prosodic features: the features of speech apart from the actual words
Pitch: high, medium and low sound of the voice
Intonation: the way pitch changes during speech
Stress: when syllable/s have prominence in a word or speech
-It is a lasting form
-Pre-planned, thought about more carefully
-No immediate feedback
- We must try to express ourselves in such a way that our meaning is clear to any prospective readers
-Its form is likely to be closer ti Standard English
-Errors of grammar, expression and spelling can be corrected.
The primary modes of language:
A text is any piece of written, spoken, non-verbal or auditory material that communicates a message.
When looking at language:
We look at:
How is language shaped by the context and audience?
Are the choices appropriate?
the way language varies depending on the situation
-mode: the form of the text
-manner: the relationship with the audience and context
-field: the lexical choices; expression and content
What does it tell us about prevailing social and cultural attitudes/views and values?
{Function and Nature}
Phonetics and Phonology
Phonology is the study of sound systems and the different patterns of sound that occur in a language.
Phonemes: the distinctive sound units in a language. English has 44 sound units.
Phonetics is the study of speech sounds of all human languages.
Prosodic features:
Stress (the emphasis placed on a particular syllable or part of a word as it is pronounced.
Pitch (the level at which sound is placed on a scale from 'low' to 'high'
Intonation (the pattern of changes in pitch)
Morphology and Lexicology
Morphology is the study of the structure or forms of words.
Lexicology is the study of words.
A lexicon is a person's vocabulary or the vocabulary used in a branch of learning.
Morphemes are the smallest unit of meaning.
A free morpheme is unit of meaning which can stand alone as a word. eg. vent
A bound morpheme is the smallest unit of meaning that must be attached to a free morpheme to have meaning. eg. pre-, -ion
-Prefixes: a morpheme attached to the front of the stem
-Suffixes: a morpheme attached to the end of the stem
-Inflectional morphemes are sometimes called grammatical morphemes; they give us grammatical information. eg. '-ing' in preventing is present progressive of prevent
-Derivational morphemes change the class of an existing word. eg. '-or' in inventor makes invent go from a verb to noun
Open class/content words:
Readily admit new members. We can 'invent' new words, they carry meaning and can also be altered.
Nouns: names of things, places, people and objects
Verbs: Actions words, something we do
Adjectives: a describing word, typically describe nouns
Adverbs: typically describe verbs, the way something is being done
Closed class/function words:
Does not admit new members, only carries grammatical meaning with a limited purpose. Its like the grammatical glue, holding all the other words together.
Prepositions: 'of', 'in', 'from', 'underneath'
Conjunctions: (coordinating) 'and', 'but', 'or', (subordinating)'because, 'if'
Determiners (articles): 'the', 'a', 'any'
Pronouns: 'he', 'she', 'you', 'me' (relative pronoun or question
Auxiliary (auxiliary verbs): words that precede verbs in certain forms (primary auxiliary: be, have, do. modal auxiliary: can, could, shall, should, will, would, may, might, must.)
Syntax is the study of phrases and sentences.
A clause is a group of related words containing a subject(noun) and a predicate(verb).
A phrase is a group of related words, it does not contain a subject and predicate.
The budgie fell off its perch.
Clause Structure
Main (independent) clauses can stand on their own as sentences.
Subordinate (dependent) clauses can't stand on their own as a sentence; relies on a main clause. There are two types of subordinate clauses.
A relative clause is a subordinate clause that describes the noun in the main clause it relates to. It is always introduces by a relative pronoun (who, which, that).
Adverbial clauses are those that answer the question how, when, where and why about the verb.
The girl who had the shortest legs won the race.
relative subordinate clause
main clause
As she entered the room the girl screamed because she saw the ghost

adverbial clause
main clause
adverbial clause
Sentence Structure
Simple sentence: is a main clause; it only holds on thought.
Compound sentences: are made up of two or more simple sentences joined by a conjunction, comma, semi-colon or colon.
He ran a fast race
He went by himself because he didn't want company.
Complex sentences: are made up of a main clause with one or more subordinate clauses.
Compound complex sentences: are made up of a simple and a subordinate clause connected by a conjunction, comma, semi-colon or colon
The man who did the painting is over there.
subordinate clause
Unless there is dessert, he will not eat.
main clause
Sentence types
Declarative: statements or sentences that state facts.
It is very cold.
Imperative: commands or sentences that give orders or requests.
Do not go out in the cold.
Exclamative: sentences that express a strong feeling of emotion.
Gosh it's cold!
Interrogative: questions or sentences that ask for an answer. There are three types.
Are you cold?
Discourse analysis
Open interrogative: Seeks information, contains the 5 'w's and 1 'h' questions
-Who, what, when, where, why, how
Closed interrogative: Seeks comment on degree of truth.
-'yes' or 'no' questions
Tag interrogatives: Requests agreement or disagreement
-the intonation can be rising or falling
It's cold, isn't it?
How cold is it?
Ambiguity: when expressions have more than one meaning
To analyse a discourse means to study it carefully or to examine it to show the essence or structure of it.
We look at:
What elements are present
The mode
Why is it expressed a certain way
What effect does it have
How is the text structured, Why
Register appropriateness
What the text says about the author
Function/purpose of the text
How the order of the words effects the meaning
Open class are content words
Closed class are function words
Semantics refers to the study of meaning.
Denotation (denotative meaning): is the referential of dictionary meaning of a word; its signified meaning.
Connotation (connotative meaning): is the associations that a word carries from social and cultural influence.
Gold (n): precious yellow non-rusting malleable metallic element of high density
Gold: winning, is pure and perfect, wealth
(Refer to lexicology)
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