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Some of the earliest linguistic activities can be recalled from Iron Age
India with the analysis of Sanskrit. The Pratishakhyas (from ca. the 8th
century BC) constitute as it were a proto-linguistic ad hoc collection of
observations about mutations to a given corpus particular to a given Vedic
school. Systematic study of these texts gives rise to the Vedanga
discipline of Vyakarana, the earliest surviving account of which is the
work of Pānini (c. 520 – 460 BC), who, however, looks back on what are
probably several generations of grammarians, whose opinions he
occasionally refers to. Pānini formulates close to 4,000 rules which
together form a compact generative grammar of Sanskrit. Inherent in his
analytic approach are the concepts of the phoneme, the morpheme and the
root. Due to its focus on brevity, his grammar has a highly unintuitive
structure, reminiscent of contemporary "machine language" (as opposed to
"human readable" programming languages).

Indian linguistics maintained a high level for several centuries;

Patanjali in the 2nd century BC still actively criticizes Panini. In the
later centuries BC, however, Panini's grammar came to be seen as
prescriptive, and commentators came to be fully dependent on it.
Bhartrihari (c. 450 – 510) theorized the act of speech as being made up of
four stages: first, conceptualization of an idea, second, its
verbalization and sequencing (articulation) and third, delivery of speech
into atmospheric air, the interpretation of speech by the listener, the

Western linguistics begins in Classical Antiquity with grammatical

speculation such as Plato's Cratylus. The first important advancement of
the Greeks was the creation of the alphabet. As a result of the
introduction of writing, poetry such as the Homeric poems became written
and several editions were created and commented, forming the basis of
philology and critic. The sophists and Socrates introduced dialectics as a
new text genre. Aristotle defined the logic of speech and the argument.
Furthermore Aristotle works on rhetoric and poetics were of utmost
importance for the understating of tragedy, poetry, public discussions
etc. as text genres.

One of the greatest of the Greek grammarians was Apollonius

Dyscolus.Apollonius wrote more than thirty treatises on questions of
syntax, semantics, morphology, prosody, orthography, dialectology, and
more. In the 4th c., Aelius Donatus compiled the Latin grammar Ars
Grammatica that was to be the defining school text through the Middle
Ages. In De vulgari eloquentia ("On the Eloquence of Vernacular"), Dante
Alighieri expanded the scope of linguistic enquiry from the traditional
languages of antiquity to include the language of the day.

In the Middle East, the Persian linguist Sibawayh made a detailed and
professional description of Arabic in 760, in his monumental work, Al-
kitab fi al-nahw (The Book on Grammar), bringing many linguistic aspects
of language to light. In his book he distinguished phonetics from

Sir William Jones noted that Sanskrit shared many common features with
classical Latin and Greek, notably verb roots and grammatical structures,
such as the case system. This led to the theory that all languages sprung
from a common source and to the discovery of the Indo-European language
family. He began the study of comparative linguistics, which would uncover
more language families and branches.

In 19th century Europe the study of linguistics was largely from the
perspective of philology (or historical linguistics). Some early-19th-
century linguists were Jakob Grimm, who devised a principle of consonantal
shifts in pronunciation – known as Grimm's Law – in 1822; Karl Verner, who
formulated Verner's Law; August Schleicher, who created the
"Stammbaumtheorie" ("family tree"); and Johannes Schmidt, who developed
the "Wellentheorie" ("wave model") in 1872.

Ferdinand de Saussure was the founder of modern structural linguistics,

with an emphasis on synchronic (i.e. non-historical) explanations for
language form.

In North America, the structuralist tradition grew out of a combination of

missionary linguistics (whose goal was to translate the bible) and
Anthropology. While originally regarded as a sub-field of anthropology in
the United State, linguistics is now considered a separate scientific
discipline in the US, Australia and much of Europe.

Edward Sapir, a leader in American structural linguistics, was one of the

first who explored the relations between language studies and
anthropology. His methodology had strong influence on all his successors.
Noam Chomsky's formal model of language, transformational-generative
grammar, developed under the influence of his teacher Zellig Harris, who
was in turn strongly influenced by Leonard Bloomfield, has been the
dominant model since the 1960s.

The structural linguistics period was largely superseded in North America

by generative grammar in the 1950s and 60s. This paradigm views language
as a mental object, and emphasizes the role of the formal modeling of
universal and language specific rules. Noam Chomsky remains an important
but controversial linguistic figure. Generative grammar gave rise to such
frameworks such as Transformational grammar, Generative Semantics,
Relational Grammar, Generalized Phrase-structure Grammar, Head-Driven
Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG) and Lexical Functional Grammar (LFG).
Other linguists working in Optimality Theory state generalizations in
terms of violable constraints that interact with each other, and abandon
the traditional rule-based formalism first pioneered by early work in
generativist linguistics.

Functionalist linguists working in functional grammar and Cognitive

Linguistics tend to stress the non-autonomy of linguistic knowledge and
the non-universality of linguistic structures, thus differing
significantly from the formal approaches.

Written and Composed By:

Prof. A. R. Somroo

M.A. English, M.A. Education

Cell Phone:03339971417

Linguistics is the scientific study of natural language. Linguistics
encompasses a number of sub-fields. An important topical division is
between the study of language structure (grammar) and the study of meaning
(semantics). Grammar encompasses morphology (the formation and composition
of words), syntax (the rules that determine how words combine into phrases
and sentences) and phonology (the study of sound systems and abstract
sound units). Phonetics is a related branch of linguistics concerned with
the actual properties of speech sounds (phones), non-speech sounds, and
how they are produced and perceived. Other sub-disciplines of linguistics
include the following: evolutionary linguistics, which considers the
origins of language; historical linguistics, which explores language
change; sociolinguistics, which looks at the relation between linguistic
variation and social structures; psycholinguistics, which explores the
representation and functioning of language in the mind; neurolinguistics,
which looks at the representation of language in the brain; language
acquisition, which considers how children acquire their first language and
how children and adults acquire and learn their second and subsequent
languages; and discourse analysis, which is concerned with the structure
of texts and conversations, and pragmatics with how meaning is transmitted
based on a combination of linguistic competence, non-linguistic knowledge,
and the context of the speech act.

Linguistics is narrowly defined as the scientific approach to the study of

language, but language can, of course, be approached from a variety of
directions, and a number of other intellectual disciplines are relevant to
it and influence its study. Semiotics, for example, is a related field
concerned with the general study of signs and symbols both in language and
outside of it. Literary theorists study the use of language in artistic
literature. Linguistics additionally draws on work from such diverse
fields as psychology, speech-language pathology, informatics, computer
science, philosophy, biology, human anatomy, neuroscience, sociology,
anthropology, and acoustics.

Within the field, linguist is used to describe someone who either studies
the field or uses linguistic methodologies to study groups of languages or
particular languages. Outside the field, this term is commonly used to
refer to people who speak many languages or have a great vocabulary.

Names for the discipline

Before the twentieth century, the term "philology", first attested in
1716, was commonly used to refer to the science of language, which was
then predominantly historical in focus. Since Ferdinand de Saussure’s
insistence on the importance of synchronic analysis, however, this focus
has shifted and the term "philology" is now generally used for the "study
of a language's grammar, history and literary tradition," especially in
the United States,where it was never as popular as it was elsewhere (in
the sense of the "science of language").

Although the term "linguist" in the sense of "a student of language" dates
from 1641,the term "linguistics" is first attested in 1847. It is now the
usual academic term in English for the scientific study of language.
Historical linguistics

Historical linguistics studies the history and evolution of languages

through the comparative method. Often the aim of historical linguistics is
to classify languages in language families descending from a common
ancestor. This evolves comparison of elements in different languages to
detect possible cognates in order to be able to reconstruct how different
languages have changed over time. This also involves the study of
etymology, the study of the history of single words. Historical
linguistics is also called "diachronic linguistics" and is opposed to
"synchronic linguistics" that study languages in a given moment in time
without regarding its previous stages.In universities in the United
States, the historic perspective is often out of fashion. Historical
linguistics was among the first linguistic disciplines to emerge and was
the most widely practiced form of linguistics in the late 19th century.
The shift in focus to a synchronic perspective started with Saussure and
became predominant in western linguistics with Noam Chomskys emphasis on
the study of the synchronic and universal aspects of language.


Semiotics is the study of sign processes (semiosis), or signification and

communication, signs and symbols, both individually and grouped into sign
systems, including the study of how meaning is constructed and understood.
Semioticians often do not restrict themselves to linguistic communication
when studying the use of signs but extend the meaning of "sign" to cover
all kinds of cultural symbols. Nonetheless semiotic disciplines closely
related to linguistics are literary studies, discourse analysis, text
linguistics, and philosophy of language.

Descriptive linguistics and language documentation

Since the inception of the discipline of linguistics linguists have been

concerned with describing and documenting languages previously unknown to
science. Starting with Franz Boas in the early 1900s descriptive
linguistics became the main strand within American linguistics until the
rise of formal structural linguistics in the mid 20th century. The rise of
American descriptive linguistics was caused by the concern with describing
the languages of indigenous peoples that were (and are) rapidly moving
towards extinction. The ethnographic focus of the original Boasian type of
descriptive linguistics occasioned the development of disciplines such as
Sociolinguistics, anthropological linguistics, and linguistic
anthropology, disciplines that investigate the relations between language,
culture and society.

The emphasis on linguistic description and documentation has since become

more important outside of North America as well, as the documentation of
rapidly dying indigenous languages has become a primary focus in many of
the worlds' linguistics programs. Language description is a work intensive
endeavour usually requiring years of field work for the linguist to learn
a language sufficiently well to write a reference grammar of it. The
further task of language documentation requires the linguist to collect a
preferably large corpus of texts and recordings of sound and video in the
language, and to arrange for its storage in accessible formats in open
repositories where it may be of the best use for further research by other

Theoretical linguistics is the branch of linguistics that is most
concerned with developing models of linguistic knowledge. The fields that
are generally considered the core of theoretical linguistics are syntax,
phonology, morphology, and semantics. Although phonetics often informs
phonology, it is often excluded from the purview of theoretical
linguistics, along with psycholinguistics and sociolinguistics.
Theoretical linguistics also involves the search for an explanation of
linguistic universals, that is, properties all languages have in common.

Linguistics concerns itself with describing and explaining the nature of

human language. Relevant to this are the questions of what is universal to
language, how language can vary, and how human beings come to know
languages. All humans (setting aside extremely pathological cases) achieve
competence in whatever language is spoken (or signed, in the case of
signed languages) around them when growing up, with apparently little need
for explicit conscious instruction. While non-humans acquire their own
communication systems, they do not acquire human language in this way
(although many non-human animals can learn to respond to language, or can
even be trained to use it to a degree). Therefore, linguists assume, the
ability to acquire and use language is an innate, biologically-based
potential of modern human beings, similar to the ability to walk. There is
no consensus, however, as to the extent of this innate potential, or its
domain-specificity (the degree to which such innate abilities are specific
to language), with some theorists claiming that there is a very large set
of highly abstract and specific binary settings coded into the human
brain, while others claim that the ability to learn language is a product
of general human cognition. It is, however, generally agreed that there
are no strong genetic differences underlying the differences between
languages: an individual will acquire whatever language(s) he or she is
exposed to as a child, regardless of parentage or ethnic origin.

Linguistic structures are pairings of meaning and form; such pairings are
known as Saussurean signs. In this sense, form may consist of sound
patterns, movements of the hands, written symbols, and so on. There are
many levels of linguistics concerned with particular aspects of linguistic
structure, ranging from those focused primarily on form to those focused
primarily on meaning:

 Phonetics, the study of the physical properties of speech (or signed)

production and perception
 Phonology, the study of sounds (or signs) as discrete, abstract
elements in the speaker's mind that distinguish meaning
 Morphology, the study of internal structures of words and how they
can be modified
 Syntax, the study of how words combine to form grammatical sentences
 Semantics, the study of the meaning of words (lexical semantics) and
fixed word combinations (phraseology), and how these combine to form
the meanings of sentences
 Pragmatics, the study of how utterances are used in communicative
acts and the role played by context and non-linguistic knowledge in
the transmission of meaning
 Discourse analysis, the analysis of language use in texts (spoken,
written, or signed)
Phonetics is the study of speech sounds with concentration on three main
points :

 Articulation : the production of speech sounds in human speech

 Perception : the way human ears respond to speech signals, how the
human brain analyses them.
 Acoustic features : physical characteristics of speech sounds such as
color, loudness, amplitude, frequency etc.

According to this definition, phonetics can also be called linguistic

analysis of human speech at the surface level. That is one obvious
difference from phonology, which concerns the structure and organisation
of speech sounds in natural languages, and furthermore has a theoretical
and abstract nature. One example can be made to illustrate this
distinction: In English, the suffix -s can represent either [s], [z] or
can be silent (symbolised as ø) depending on context.

Articulatory phonetics
The field of articulatory phonetics is a subfield of phonetics. In
studying articulation, phoneticians attempt to document how humans produce
speech sounds (vowels and consonants). That is, articulatory phoneticians
are interested in how the different structures of the vocal tract, called
the articulators (tongue, lips, jaw, palate, teeth etc.), interact to
create the specific sounds.

Auditory phonetics
Auditory phonetics is a branch of phonetics concerned with the hearing,
acquisition and comprehension of phonetic sounds of words of a language.
As articulatory phonetics explores the methods of sound production,
auditory phonetics explores the methods of reception--the ear to the
brain, and those processes.

Acoustic phonetics
Acoustic phonetics is a subfield of phonetics which deals with acoustic
aspects of speech sounds. Acoustic phonetics investigates properties like
the mean squared amplitude of a waveform, its duration, its fundamental
frequency, or other properties of its frequency spectrum, and the
relationship of these properties to other branches of phonetics (e.g.
articulatory or auditory phonetics), and to abstract linguistic concepts
like phones, phrases, or utterances.

Phonology is the study of language sounds. Phonology is divided into two
separate studies, phonetics and phonemics. Phonetics is what depicts the
sounds we hear. It calls attention to the smallest details in language
sounds. There are three kinds of phonetics: acoustic phonetics, auditory
phonetics, and articulatory phonetics. Acoustic phonetics deals with the
physical properties of sound, what sounds exactly are coming from the
person speaking. Auditory phonetics deals with how the sounds are
perceived, exactly what the person hearing the sounds is perceiving.
Finally, articulatory phonetics studies how the speech sounds are
produced. This is what describes the actual sounds in detail. It is also
known as descriptive phonetics.
Phonemics studies how the sounds are used. It analyzes the way sounds are
arranged in languages and helps you to hear what sounds are important in a
language.The unit of analysis for phonemics is called phonemes. "A phoneme
is a sound that functions to distinguish one word from another in a
language."For example, how we distinguish the English word tie from the
word die. The sounds that differentiates two words are [t] and [d].

Morphology is the study of word structure. For example, in the sentences
The dog runs and The dogs run, the word forms runs and dogs have an affix
-s added, distinguishing them from the bare forms dog and run. Adding this
suffix to a nominal stem gives plural forms, adding it to verbal stems
restricts the subject to third person singular. Some morphological
theories operate with two distinct suffixes -s, called allomorphs of the
morphemes Plural and Third person singular, respectively. Languages differ
with respect to their morphological structure. Along one axis, we may
distinguish analytic languages, with few or no affixes or other
morphological processes from synthetic languages with many affixes. Along
another axis, we may distinguish agglutinative languages, where affixes
express one grammatical property each, and are added neatly one after
another, from fusional languages, with non-concatenative morphological
processes (infixation, umlaut, ablaut, etc.) and/or with less clear-cut
affix boundaries.

Syntax is the study of language structure and word order. It is concerned
with the relationship between units at the level of words or morphology.
Syntax seeks to delineate exactly all and only those sentences which make
up a given language, using native speaker intuition. Syntax seeks to
describe formally exactly how structural relations between elements
(lexical items/words and operators) in a sentence contribute to its
interpretation. Syntax uses principles of formal logic and Set Theory to
formalize and represent accurately the hierarchical relationship between
elements in a sentence. Abstract syntax trees are often used to illustrate
the hierarchical structures that are posited. Thus, in active declarative
sentences in English the subject is followed by the main verb which in
turn is followed by the object (SVO). This order of elements is crucial to
its correct interpretation and it is exactly this which syntacticians try
to capture. They argue that there must be such a formal computational
component contained within the language faculty of normal speakers of a
language and seek to describe it.

Semantics is the study of intensive meaning in words and
sentences.Semantics can be expressed through diction (word choice) and
inflexion. Inflexion may be conveyed through an author's tone in writing
and a speaker's tone of voice, changing pitch and stress of words to
influence meaning.

Pragmatics is a subfield of linguistics which studies the ways in which
context contributes to meaning. Pragmatics encompasses speech act theory,
conversational implicature, talk in interaction and other approaches to
language behavior in philosophy, sociology, and linguistics. It studies
how the transmission of meaning depends not only on the linguistic
knowledge (e.g. grammar, lexicon etc.) of the speaker and listener, but
also on the context of the utterance, knowledge about the status of those
involved, the inferred intent of the speaker, and so on. In this respect,
pragmatics explains how language users are able to overcome apparent
ambiguity, since meaning relies on the manner, place, time etc. of an
utterance. The ability to understand another speaker's intended meaning is
called pragmatic competence. An utterance describing pragmatic function is
described as metapragmatic. Pragmatic awareness is regarded as one of the
most challenging aspects of language learning, and comes only through

Discourse Analysis
Discourse analysis (DA), or discourse studies, is a general term for a
number of approaches to analyzing written, spoken or signed language use.

The objects of discourse analysis—discourse, writing, talk, conversation,

communicative event, etc.—are variously defined in terms of coherent
sequences of sentences, propositions, speech acts or turns-at-talk.
Contrary to much of traditional linguistics, discourse analysts not only
study language use 'beyond the sentence boundary', but also prefer to
analyze 'naturally occurring' language use, and not invented examples.
This is known as corpus linguistics; text linguistics is related.

Discourse analysis has been taken up in a variety of social science

disciplines, including linguistics, sociology, anthropology, social work,
cognitive psychology, social psychology, international relations, human
geography, communication studies and translation studies, each of which is
subject to its own assumptions, dimensions of analysis, and methodologies.

Written and Composed By

Prof. A. R. Somroo
M.A. English, M.A. Education

Sociolinguistics is the study of the effect of any and all aspects of
society, including cultural norms, expectations, and context, on the way
language is used. Sociolinguistics differs from sociology of language in
that the focus of sociolinguistics is the effect of the society on the
language, while the latter's focus is on the language's effect on the
society. Sociolinguistics overlaps to a considerable degree with

It also studies how language varieties differ between groups separated by

certain social variables, e.g., ethnicity, religion, status, gender, level
of education, age, etc., and how creation and adherence to these rules is
used to categorize individuals in social or socioeconomic classes. As the
usage of a language varies from place to place (dialect), language usage
varies among social classes, and it is these sociolects that
sociolinguistics studies.

The social aspects of language were in the modern sense first studied by
Indian and Japanese linguists in the 1930s, and also by Gauchat in
Switzerland in the early 1900s, but none received much attention in the
West until much later. The study of the social motivation of language
change, on the other hand, has its foundation in the wave model of the
late 19th century. Sociolinguistics in the West first appeared in the
1960s and was pioneered by linguists such as William Labov in the US and
Basil Bernstein in the UK.

Applications of Sociolinguistics
For example, a sociolinguist might determine through study of social
attitudes that a particular vernacular would not be considered appropriate
language use in a business or professional setting. Sociolinguists might
also study the grammar, phonetics, vocabulary, and other aspects of this
sociolect much as dialectologists would study the same for a regional

The study of language variation is concerned with social constraints

determining language in its contextual environment. Code-switching is the
term given to the use of different varieties of language in different
social situations.

William Labov is often regarded as the founder of the study of

sociolinguistics. He is especially noted for introducing the quantitative
study of language variation and change, making the sociology of language
into a scientific discipline.

Sociolinguistic variables
Studies in the field of sociolinguistics typically take a sample
population and interview them, assessing the realisation of certain
sociolinguistic variables. Labov specifies the ideal sociolinguistic
variable to

 be high in frequency,
 have a certain immunity from conscious suppression,
 be an integral part of larger structures, and
 be easily quantified on a linear scale.
Phonetic variables tend to meet these criteria and are often used, as are
grammatical variables and, more rarely, lexical variables. Examples for
phonetic variables are: the frequency of the glottal stop, the height or
backness of a vowel or the realisation of word-endings. An example of a
grammatical variable is the frequency of negative concord (known
colloquially as a double negative).

Fundamental Concepts in Sociolinguistics

While the study of sociolinguistics is very broad, there are a few
fundamental concepts on which many sociolinguistic inquiries depend.

Speech Community
Speech community is a concept in sociolinguistics that describes a more or
less discrete group of people who use language in a unique and mutually
accepted way among themselves.

Speech communities can be members of a profession with a specialized

jargon, distinct social groups like high school students or hip hop fans,
or even tight-knit groups like families and friends. Members of speech
communities will often develop slang or jargon to serve the group's
special purposes and priorities.

High prestige and low prestige varieties

Crucial to sociolinguistic analysis is the concept of prestige; certain
speech habits are assigned a positive or a negative value which is then
applied to the speaker. This can operate on many levels. It can be
realised on the level of the individual sound/phoneme, as Labov discovered
in investigating pronunciation of the post-vocalic /r/ in the North-
Eastern USA, or on the macro scale of language choice, as realised in the
various diglossias that exist throughout the world, where Swiss-
German/High German is perhaps most well known. An important implication of
sociolinguistic theory is that speakers 'choose' a variety when making a
speech act, whether consciously or subconsciously.

Social network
Understanding language in society means that one also has to understand
the social networks in which language is embedded. A social network is
another way of describing a particular speech community in terms of
relations between individual members in a community. A network could be
loose or tight depending on how members interact with each other.For
instance, an office or factory may be considered a tight community because
all members interact with each other. A large course with 100+ students be
a looser community because students may only interact with the instructor
and maybe 1-2 other students. A multiplex community is one in which
members have multiple relationships with each other.For instance, in some
neighborhoods, members may live on the same street, work for the same
employer and even intermarry.

The looseness or tightness of a social network may affect speech patterns

adopted by a speaker. For instance, Dubois and Hovarth (1998:254) found
that speakers in one Cajun Louisiana community were more likely to
pronounce English "th" [θ] as [t] (or [ð] as [d]) if they participated in
a relatively dense social network (i.e. had strong local ties and
interacted with many other speakers in the community), and less likely if
their networks were looser (i.e. fewer local ties).
A social network may apply to the macro level of a country or a city, but
also to the inter-personal level of neighborhoods or a single family.
Recently, social networks have been formed by the Internet, through chat
rooms, MySpace groups, organizations, and online dating services.

Internal vs. external language

In Chomskian linguistics, a distinction is drawn between I-language
(internal language) and E-language (external language). In this context,
internal language applies to the study of syntax and semantics in language
on the abstract level; as mentally represented knowledge in a native
speaker. External language applies to language in social contexts, i.e.
behavioral habits shared by a community. Internal language analyses
operate on the assumption that all native speakers of a language are quite
homogeneous in how they process and perceive language. External language
fields, such as sociolinguistics, attempt to explain why this is in fact
not the case. Many sociolinguists reject the distinction between I- and E-
language on the grounds that it is based on a mentalist view of language.
On this view, grammar is first and foremost an interactional (social)
phenomenon (e.g. Elinor Ochs, Emanuel Schegloff, Sandra Thompson).

Written and Composed By:

Prof. A.R. Somroo

M.A. English, M.A. Education

Cell Phone: 03339971417


Psycholinguistics or psychology of language is the study of the
psychological and neurobiological factors that enable humans to acquire,
use, comprehend and produce language. Initial forays into
psycholinguistics were largely philosophical ventures, due mainly to a
lack of cohesive data on how the human brain functioned. Modern research
makes use of biology, neuroscience, cognitive science, and information
theory to study how the brain processes language. There are a number of
subdisciplines; for example, as non-invasive techniques for studying the
neurological workings of the brain become more and more widespread,
neurolinguistics has become a field in its own right.

Psycholinguistics covers the cognitive processes that make it possible to

generate a grammatical and meaningful sentence out of vocabulary and
grammatical structures, as well as the processes that make it possible to
understand utterances, words, text, etc. Developmental psycholinguistics
studies children's ability to learn language.

Areas of study
Psycholinguistics is interdisciplinary in nature and is studied by people
in a variety of fields, such as psychology, cognitive science, and
linguistics. There are several subdivisions within psycholinguistics that
are based on the components that make up human language.

Linguistic-related areas:
 Phonetics and phonology are concerned with the study of speech
sounds. Within psycholinguistics, research focuses on how the brain
processes and understands these sounds.
 Morphology is the study of word structures, especially the
relationships between related words (such as dog and dogs) and the
formation of words based on rules (such as plural formation).
 Syntax is the study of the patterns which dictate how words are
combined together to form sentences.
 Semantics deals with the meaning of words and sentences. Where syntax
is concerned with the formal structure of sentences, semantics deals
with the actual meaning of sentences.
 Pragmatics is concerned with the role of context in the
interpretation of meaning.

Psychology-related areas:
 The study of word recognition and reading examines the processes
involved in the extraction of orthographic, morphological,
phonological, and semantic information from patterns in printed text.
 Developmental psycholinguistics studies infants' and children's
ability to learn language, usually with experimental or at least
quantitative methods (as opposed to naturalistic observations such as
those made by Jean Piaget in his research on the development of
Theories about how language works in the human mind attempt to account
for, among other things, how we associate meaning with the sounds (or
signs) of language and how we use syntax—that is, how we manage to put
words in the proper order to produce and understand the strings of words
we call "sentences." The first of these items—associating sound with
meaning—is the least controversial and is generally held to be an area in
which animal and human communication have at least some things in common.
Syntax, on the other hand, is controversial, and is the focus of the
discussion that follows.

There are essentially two schools of thought as to how we manage to create

syntactic sentences: (1) syntax is an evolutionary product of increased
human intelligence over time and social factors that encouraged the
development of spoken language; (2) language exists because humans possess
an innate ability, an access to what has been called a "universal
grammar." This view holds that the human ability for syntax is "hard-
wired" in the brain. This view claims, for example, that complex syntactic
features such as recursion are beyond even the potential abilities of the
most intelligent and social non-humans. (Recursion, for example, includes
the use of relative pronouns to refer back to earlier parts of a sentence—
"The girl whose car is blocking my view of the tree that I planted last
year is my friend.") The innate view claims that the ability to use syntax
like that would not exist without an innate concept that contains the
underpinnings for the grammatical rules that produce recursion. Children
acquiring a language, thus, have a vast search space to explore among
possible human grammars, settling, logically, on the language(s) spoken or
signed in their own community of speakers. Such syntax is, according to
the second point of view, what defines human language and makes it
different from even the most sophisticated forms of animal communication.

The first view was prevalent until about 1960 and is well represented by
the mentalistic theories of Jean Piaget and the empiricist Rudolf Carnap.
As well, the school of psychology known as behaviorism puts forth the
point of view that language is behavior shaped by conditioned response.
The second point of view (the "innate" one) can fairly be said to have
begun with Noam Chomsky’s highly critical review of Skinner's book in 1959
in the pages of the journal Language. That review started what has been
termed "the cognitive revolution" in psychology.

The field of psycholinguistics since then has been defined by reactions to

Chomsky, pro and con. The pro view still holds that the human ability to
use syntax is qualitatively different from any sort of animal
communication. That ability might have resulted from a favorable mutation
(extremely unlikely) or (more likely) from an adaptation of skills evolved
for other purposes. That is, precise syntax might, indeed, serve group
needs; better linguistic expression might produce more cohesion,
cooperation, and potential for survival, BUT precise syntax can only have
developed from rudimentary—or no—syntax, which would have had no survival
value and, thus, would not have evolved at all. Thus, one looks for other
skills, the characteristics of which might have later been useful for
syntax. In the terminology of modern evolutionary biology, these skills
would be said to be "pre-adapted" for syntax .Just what those skills might
have been is the focus of recent research—or, at least, speculation.

Applied linguistics is an interdisciplinary field of study that
identifies, investigates, and offers solutions to language-related real-
life problems. Some of the academic fields related to applied linguistics
are education, linguistics, psychology, anthropology, and sociology

Major branches of applied linguistics include bilingualism and

multilingualism, computer-mediated communication (CMC), conversation
analysis, contrastive linguistics, language assessment, literacies,
discourse analysis, language pedagogy, second language acquisition,
lexicography, language planning and policies, pragmatics, forensic
linguistics, and translation.

The tradition of applied linguistics established itself in part as a

response to the narrowing of focus in linguistics with the advent in the
late 1950s of generative linguistics, and has always maintained a socially
accountable role, demonstrated by its central interest in language

Linguists are largely concerned with finding and describing the

generalities and varieties both within particular languages and among all
language. Applied linguistics takes the result of those findings and
"applies" them to other areas. The term "applied linguistics" is often
used to refer to the use of linguistic research in language teaching only
but results of linguistic research are used in many other areas as well,
such as lexicography and translation. "Applied linguistics" has been
argued to be something of a misnomer since applied linguists focus on
making sense of and engineering solutions for real-world linguistic
problems, not simply "applying" existing technical knowledge from
linguistics; moreover, they commonly apply technical knowledge from
multiple sources, such as sociology (e.g. conversation analysis) and

Today, computers are widely used in many areas of applied linguistics.

Speech synthesis and speech recognition use phonetic and phonemic
knowledge to provide voice interfaces to computers. Applications of
computational linguistics in machine translation, computer-assisted
translation, and natural language processing are areas of applied
linguistics which have come to the forefront. Their influence has had an
effect on theories of syntax and semantics, as modeling syntactic and
semantic theories on computers constraints.

Linguistic analysis is a subdiscipline of applied linguistics used by many

governments to verify the claimed nationality of people seeking asylum who
do not hold the necessary documentation to prove their claim. This often
takes the form of an interview by personnel in an immigration department.
Depending on the country, this interview is conducted in either the asylum
seeker's native language through an interpreter, or in an international
lingua franca like English. Australia uses the former method, while
Germany employs the latter; the Netherlands uses either method depending
on the languages involved.Tape recordings of the interview then undergo
language analysis, which can be done by either private contractors or
within a department of the government. In this analysis, linguistic
features of the asylum seeker are used by analysts to make a determination
about the speaker's nationality. The reported findings of the linguistic
analysis can play a critical role in the government's decision on the
refugee status of the asylum seeker.

In linguistics, traditional grammar is a theory of the structure of
language based on ideas Western societies inherited from ancient Greek and
Roman sources. The term is mainly used to distinguish these ideas from
those of contemporary linguistics. In the English-speaking world at least,
traditional grammar is still widely taught in elementary schools.

Traditional grammar distinguishes between the grammar of the elements that

constitute a sentence (i.e. inter-elemental) and the grammar within
sentence elements (i.e. intra-elemental).

Concepts of inter-elemental grammar for the English language

Subject,predicate,object,predicative (aka complement),adverbial and

Concepts of intra-elemental grammar for the English language


The term is mainly used to distinguish these ideas from those of
contemporary linguistics, which are intended to apply to a much broader
range of languages, and to correct a number of errors in traditional

Although modern linguistics has exposed the limitations of traditional

grammar, it is still the backbone of the grammar instruction given to the
general population in Western countries. As such, while very few people
have encountered linguistics, nearly everybody in a modern Western culture
encounters traditional grammar. This is one of the big difficulties that
linguists face when they try to explain their ideas to the general public.

Modern linguistics owes a very large debt to traditional grammar, but it

departs from it quite a lot, in the following ways (among others):

 Linguistics aims to be general, and to provide an appropriate way of

analysing all languages, and comparing them to each other.
traditional grammar is usually concerned with one language, and when
it has been applied to non-European languages, it has very often
proved very inappropriate.
 Linguistics has broader influences than traditional grammar has. For
example, modern linguistics owes as much of a debt to Panini's
grammar of Sanskrit as it does to Latin and Greek grammar.
 Linguistics is in many ways more descriptively rigorous, because it
goes after accurate description as its own end. In traditional
grammar, description is often only a means towards formulating usage

While there is a large overlap between traditional grammar and

prescriptive grammar, they are not entirely the same thing. Traditional
grammar is best thought of as the set of descriptive concepts used by
nearly all prescriptive works on grammar. Linguists' critiques of
prescriptive grammar often take the form of pointing out that the usage
prohibition in question is stated in terms of a concept from traditional
grammar that modern linguistics has rejected

Most animals have inter and intra-species communication systems to
communicate with one another. They cry,hoot, bleat, dance and coo, and to
some degree these noises and acts accomplish the same purposes as human
language. They make instinctive noises. Animals, some scholars believe,
have both the discrete and non-discrete system of communication. For
example non-discrete in the case of the bees who communicate among among
themselves through a dance, and discrete in the case of verbal monkeys who
communicate through a bark, lip-smacking, ‘aarr’ sounds, etc., but their
message as well as symbols are limited in quantity and dimension. Human
languages, on the other hand, are much more interestingly unlimited.

Animal communication, thus, is devoid of the complexity, novelty,

multiplicity and creativity of human language. Animal communication is a
closed system; it is unextendable and unmodifiable. The bees and the
monkeys use even now-a-day the same communication system which they used,
say five thousand years ago. Here animal communication lacks the variety
of the human communication. The number of sentences in any natural
language is inexhaustible. There is no limit to the number of conceptual
units in the human language, nor to the number of posssible symbols. Human
language is extendable and modifiable.

Human communication is structurally complex while the animal communication

is not. The former is conditioned by time and geography, the latter is
not, for example,the dogs of all the countries have the same system of
message and symbols. Humanbeings, on the other hand, use a variety of
symbols which differ from one geographical nation or region to another.
Human language is much more acquired by effort and is the result of social
interaction. Animal communication differs in this respect too. If a human
child is kept away from human society for a long time, and is conditioned
to live in the communit, say of wolves, in all probability, he will not be
able to acquire human language. In other words, animal system of
communication is instinctive and inherited; human language is not such.
Human language has a much wider range of flexibility, modification,
change, variety, creativity, etc. than animal communication. In human
language, the element of mimicry is more than it is in the animal
communication. The organ of speech by which human produce sounds are a
rare gift of Nature to man. No other species except apes and monkeys has
been endowed with this gift.

We can summarize the Human VS Animal communication system as under:

Human Language Animal Communcation

1 Unlimited and infinite Limited and finite

2 Open system Closed System
3 Extendable, modifiable Unextendable, unmodifiable
4 Flexible and full of variety Inflexible and without variety
5 Non-instinctive Instinctive
6 Acquired Inherited
7 Conditioned by geography Not conditioned by Geography
8 Full of novelty and creativity Bereft of Novelty and creativity
9 Recurrent Repititive
10 Grammatical Non-grammatical
11 Copgnitive as well as behavioral Only Behavioral
12 Descriptive and Narrative Non-descriptive and non-narrative

An effective act of speech is an exceedingly complex operation involving a
number of operations. The first stage is psychological, the second is
physiological and the third is physical. First of all a concept is
formulated in in the speaker’s brain, and human nervous system transmits
this linguistic message to the so called organs of speech. The organs of
speech are thus set in motion and their movements creat disturbance in the
air, and these sound waves are received by the listener’s ears. At the
listener’s end, first of all the ears receive the linguistic codification,
his nervous system passes this linguistic message to the brain, where the
linguistic interpretation of the message takes place.

The linguistic message conveyed to the organs of speech by the nervous

system activates the lungs, larynx and the cavities above in such a way
that they perform a series of movements to produce a particular pattern of
sound. For the production of speech, we need an air-stream mechanism.
Generally all speech sounds are made by an egressive pulmonic air stream
on out going breath.

In this way the speech sound is produced by the articulatory movements in

the chest, throat, mouth ands nose.There are four areas:

1. Larynx containing the vocal cords.

2. The oral cavity (Mouth).
3. The pharyngeal cavity(Throat)
4. The nasal cavity(Nose)

The air stream coming from the lungs may be modified in any of these areas
in a variety of ways. The role of each speech organ is as under:

(A) The Diaphram and Lungs

The diaphram is situated in the human body below the lungs and controls
the expansion and contraction of the lungs in breathing.It is involved
in the production of chest pulses on which the division of syllables is
based. The lungs serve for a source of air, which passes upward through
the wind pipe and larynx consisting of the vocal cords on to the mouth
or both, and comes outwards. The source of energy for the production of
speech is generally the air-stream coming out of the lungs.

(B) The Larynx and Vocal Cords

The larynx is the little box that is popularly called the Adam’s apple.
It is casing formed of cartilage and muscles, a bony box like structure
in the front of the throat, situated in the upper part of the wind pipe
or the trachea, containing a valve like opening consisting of two
membranous tissues, the vocal cords. The vocal cords are like a pair of
lips placed horizontally from front to back. The opening between them is
called glottis. When we breath in and out, the glottis is open. This is
the position of production of the breathed or voiceless sounds, for
example /f,o,s,h/ as in the english words fan, think, sell, hell.

The major role of the vocal cords is that of a vibrator in the

production of of voice, or phonation. The vocal cords vibrate many times
in a second with the pressure of the air coming through them. This
vibration produces a musical note called voice, and sounds produced in
this way are called voice-sounds. For example, all vowel sounds, and
the consonants /v,z,m,n/ as in englisg words Valley,zero,mad, nail are

(C) The soft Palate

The roof of the mouth has three parts: the hard convex surface justy
behind the upper front teeth called the alveolar or teeth ridge, theb
hard concave surface behind it called the hard palate and the soft
palate at the back, with the uvula at its end.

The soft palate can be moved up to block the passage into the nose. The
from the lungs then has to come out through the mouth only and the
sounds produced in this way are called the oral sounds.All english
sounds except /m,n,‫תּ‬/ are oral sounds. If the soft palate is lowered and
passage through the mouth is closed, the air from the lungs come out
through the nose only. Sounds produced in this manner are called nasal
sounds.For example, /m,n,‫תּ‬/ in English words man,nun and song.

(D) The Tongue

Of all the movable organs within the mouth, tongue is by far the most
fleecy and is capable of assuming a great variety of positions in the
articulation of both vowels and consonants. The tongue for the
convenience of description has four parts: the tip, the blade, the front
and the back. It is the position of the tongue which is largely
responsible for the difference in in the sounds of various vowels. The
external end of the tongue is called the tip. The part opposite the hard
palate is called the front. The part opposite to the alveolar ridge is
called the blade and the part opposite the volume is called the back.

(E) The Lips

The position of lips affects very considerably the shape of the total
cavity.They may be shut or held apart in various ways. When they are
held tightly shut, they form a complete obstruction to produce bilabial
stops, e.g. /p,b/.If they are held apart,they assume various positions
to utter different words.

Written and Composed BY;

Prof. A.R. Somroo

M.A. English, M.A. Education

Phone: 03339971417