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Analysis: pianist

suffix-s

pianist.

Here we can see changes in the singular to the plural form. And the suffix-s functions as a plural marker. The process of change is called inflection.

Rules of language From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search This article is an orphan, as few or no other articles link to it. Please introduce links to this page from related articles; suggestions may be available. (March 2008) Language is typically said to be governed by a group of unspoken rules: phonological, semantic, syntactic, pragmatic, prosodic, and idiosyncratic. These rules shape the way language is written, spoken, and interpreted. Contents [hide] 1 Phonological 2 Semantic 3 Syntactic 4 Pragmatic 5 Prosodic 6 Idiosyncratic 7 References

[edit] Phonological

Phonological rules describe the systematic relationship between sounds. They are responsible for determining what a symbol, or letter of the alphabet, sounds like. For example, the "gh" in the word "cough" creates an "f" sound in that particular word, whereas the same two letters remain silent in the word "although." [1] [edit] Semantic Semantics is the relationship between symbols and the things they refer to. Semantic rules are the agreed-upon definitions of words. These rules are specific to each language and to each group of symbols in the language. [2] [edit] Syntactic The word "syntax" means the study of the rules for the formation of grammatical sentences in a language. [3] Therefore, syntactic rules are those rules used in communication to describe how things are organized or ordered. The order of words is very important. Without rules to govern how sentences are structured there would be no communication. In other words, there would be no understanding because there would be no common, basic form for everyone to rely on.[4] [edit] Pragmatic Pragmatic rules are those rules used in social communication. They depend on the context of the situation. Pragmatics may include using languages for different purposes, changing language so that everyone within a group understands, or following important social rules. [5] Pragmatics are important because they consider key cultural and social rules that govern relationships. Along with this, they also consider relationships already formed between people, as well as the type of language used in such situations. [edit] Prosodic The prosodic rules of communication tell what rhythm, volume, pitch, tempo, and stress is to be used during a conversation. It relates to the paralanguage of communication, which is the nonverbal component of verbal communication. By shaping these qualities, a speaker reflects his or her emotional state, and can add more meaning or feeling to a message. When a speaker is speaking at a slow pace, low pitch, and soft volume, he or she most likely is in a calm, relaxed state. By speaking at a fast pace, high volume and pitch, and with extreme stress on words, a speaker is probably expressing anger.[6] [edit] Idiosyncratic The idiosyncratic rules of communication tell what type of words and language are to be used when speaking with people. Different word choice is adjusted due to the relationships between the communicators, the context of the conversation, the content of the conversation, and the cultural differences between the communicators. Jargon is a specialized language between certain people or professionals, and it is one example of how different words and language are used between people. Doctors or lawyers use jargon relating to their professions when communicating with other professionals, but adjust their word choices when speaking with patients or clients so they do not confuse or create misunderstandings. [6]

Semantics Linguists who study meaning (semanticists) often divide the meaning of a word into semantic components based on real world concepts, such as human/ live/ dead/ animal/ plant/ thing/ etc. Discussing the meaning of words by breaking it down into smaller semantic components such as is called componential analysis. Noting how semantics is based on extra-linguistic categories, a group of linguists (including the Polish born Australian linguist Anna Wierzbicka) have tried to reduce all meaning in language to a set of universal core concepts, such as tall, short, male, female, etc. This finite set of concepts are then used universally, to describe the meanings of all words in all languages. This semantic approach to language structure has problems. The first problem is in deciding which concepts are basic and which are derived. Whatever language is used to label the concepts in the first place biases the semantic analysis in favor of the semantic structure of that language. A second problem is that the linguistic boundaries between conceptual features vary across languages. a.) Masculine and feminine in English and Russian. b.) Animacy in Russian (objects of verbs), Polish (objects of verbs), and Cherokee (one plural ending from human, another for inanimate, and a different one for plants and animals). Attempts to reduce meaning in all languages to a limited set of conceptual categories existing outside of language have been unsuccessful. Third, part of the reason the semantic universalists have been unsuccessful is that meaning in language more than simply a reflection of real world categories. Meaning is a linguistic category rather than a real world category reducible to pure logic and perception. The role of semantics in language is often highly idiosyncratic. Semantic factors often serve as constraints on morphology and syntax. Here are some more examples: a) English locative adverbs with toponyms (This is my bed; I sleep here/in it; This is Fairhaven; I sleep here/*in it) Note the distinction between an idiosyncratic semantic constraint and a logical constraint. b) Idiosyncratic semantic constraints in the grammar result in reference being made using one form instead of another. c) Logical constraints result in reference not being made at all. Compare the illogical sentence: Here is my thoroughness--I sleep *here/*in it. If a sentence is illogical, than all paraphrases are equally illogical. Let's examine some idiosyncratic constraints in other languages.

a.) Italian augmentatives (suffix -one can be added only to nouns denoting man-made objects: canale--canalone canal; piazza, square--piazzone; but allata valley =granda allata; and piano, plain = grande piano. b.) Russian fruit words, some make plurals; others (ones denoting berries) don't; Russian vegetable words. c.) Georgian semelfactive verbs don't make present tense. d.) Russian perfectiva tantum (inceptive verbs of emotional states vs. mental states and physical activities). e.) The Russian -ovat suffix Thus, meaning in language is not just a reflection of things in the real world. Meaning cannot be described only in terms of real world, or logical categories. Meaning also depends on linguistic factors which are in part unique to each language. Typology of Constraints In light of the complexity of the notion of meaning, how should a linguist approach the description of grammatical categories, or of an entire language system? We have seen that linguists have in the past almost exclusively used some type of approach based on form/meaning units, describing language as a system resulting from the interaction of form/function units called signs. Also, language is usually divided into more or less separate levels of such units and their interaction. phonology ------- phonetic units and the rules of combining them morpology ------- function-bearing units and the rules of combining syntax ---------- phrase structure rules and rules of association Problems with this unit based approach. 1) Keeping the levels (or modules) discrete. 2) Describing the units as discrete entities when human language by definition exhibits asymmetry between form and function a) one and the same form has more than one function b) one and the same function or meaning has more than one formal expression. (i.e., the phonological rules) them into lexical items (words) between syntactic structures

It is precisely this asymmetry which seems to be the unique and universal feature of human language systems. And yet the unit based approach to language description seeks to compensate for this asymmetry with a variety of complex gimmicks. a) Phonology-- the phoneme theory, the need to posit ideal underlying discrete units. b) Morphology--the item and arrangement, or agglutinative, approach, which invariably also leads to the need to posit deep structure units called allomorphs; and this approach still cannot account for suppletivism. Thus the need to create a grab bag collection of prime units called the lexicon. c) Syntax--transformations link forms with similar meanings together in terms of deep structure ideal syntactic structures. Even descriptions which seem to work well for part of language usually do so by banishing unwanted data off to another level of language. Lets' try a different approach to the description of linguistic data, one which not only acknowlegdes the asymmetry of form and function in human language but in fact is based on that asymmetry. Let's take as our starting point some specific function and then try to describe the various ways in which a given language may express that function. The English plural. Formal limit of description: the plural of nouns in English. This is an artificial but useful limitation. Functional limit of description: plural means "more than one of the same kind" Logical, real-world domain: only nouns which express countable entities. Nouns which theoretically can express countable entities but do not are considered potential plurals (Marses, President Wilsons) Here we are dealing with a real-world semantic constraint. Semantic domain: There is a constraint reflective of the English meaning of certain nouns, mass nouns, which can only express an entity as an uncountable mass. Here we are dealing with a logical constraint on plural formation that stems from the idiosyncratic nature of the meaning structure of English nouns. We could describe this as an idiosyncratic, or language oriented linguistic constraint on plural formation. The limitation of plurality to nouns is also an example of this type of idiosyncratic constraint. Domain of linguistic expression. Now we must examine the formal expression of plurality in nouns which may logically be expressed as more than one of the same kind.

If there is only one formal expression for plurality among all nouns which may form the plural (which are not cancelled out by either a real-world or by an idiosyncratic semantic constraint), then we have a complete symmetry between form and function: one form, one function. However, this symmetry is the exception rather than the rule in language. And the English noun plural has quite a variety of expressions. In such a case--where there are several competing formal expressions of one and the same function-- we need to establish the nature of the boundaries between them. These boundaries will function as mutual constraints or may overlap, allowing for two or more correct expressions of plurality in the same noun (like cactus and cacti). To complete such a description, we must first compile an inventory of the different plural forms in English. 1. The productive plural for native English words (phonological constraint) cats dogs foxes 2. Unproductive variants of that plural, (random, minor rule morphological constraint) wife--wives house--houses 3. Other native plurals (random, minor rule morphological constraint) child--children ox--oxen 4. Foreign plurals (productive minor class) cactus--cacti, datum--data, formula--formulae cherub--cherubim, bar mitzva--bar mitzvoth

5. Plural by zero affixation (ideosyncratic semantic constraint) sheep--sheep, deer--deer (gender neutral word for an ungulate) trout--trout, bass-bass (fisherman's fish) Rather than trying to impose a psychologically symmetrical division upon the naturally asymmetrical form/function connections of language, it is perhaps more useful to try to try to categorize the type of constraints evident in the system, to describe what forms don't occur (negative morphology) and also to describe the domain in which form and function become asymmetrical. Proposed typology: Phonological, Morphological, Linguistic-semantic, Logico-semantic. The constraints between two formal expressions of the same function will be located somewhere upon that continuum.