You are on page 1of 11

INTRODUCTION TO LINGUISTICS

King Saud University


Spring semester 2011
Dr Zouhir Gabsi
Email. zgabsi@ksu.edu.au
WHAT IS LANGUAGE?
DEFINITION

It is a Communication of thoughts and


feelings through a system of arbitrary
signals, such as voice sounds, gestures,
or written symbols.
MORE DEFINITIONS
Lets have a look what the experts have to
say..
1. Sapir (1921) gave a more plausible
definition about human language by
stating that:
Language is a purely human and non-
instinctive method of communicating
ideas, emotions, and desires by means of
a system of voluntarily produced
symbols.
2. David Crystal (1989):

The discussion may be summarized by


referring to language as human vocal
noise (or graphic representation of
this noise in writing) used
systematically and conventionally by
a community for purposes of
communication.
R.H Hobbins (1990):

Language is a form of communication


by means of a system of symbols
principally transmitted by vocal
sounds.
HUMAN VS ANIMAL LANGUAGE

Infinite vs finite repertoire of


communication
(i.e unlimited for humans)

* Human language has what we call


grammar, it allows more creation of
sentence patterns and
CHARACTERISTICS OF HUMAN LANGUAGE

Charles F. Hockett (1958) enumerates a


number of features which , he argues,
constitute human language:
Interchangeability: transmitting and receiving
information
Productivity: the ability to vary a message to
reflect differences in circumstances
concerned.
Cultural transmission: the ability to learn from
others.
EXERCICE
Write what you consider to be a good definition of the term
language. Justify the choice of the elements that you have
incorporated in your definition.

What do you consider to be the principal benefits of language


to the human race?

How well, in your opinion, does the word communication


represent the function of human language?
WHAT IS LINGUISTICS?
Linguistics is the scientific study of
language.
There are many branches in Linguistics, for
example:
Applied Linguistics
Historical Linguistics
Psycholinguistics
Computational Linguistics
Sociolinguistics
WHAT DO WE STUDY IN
LINGUISTICS?
We will study the following areas in
Linguistics:

1.Phonetics is the study of sound


production (physical production, that is
how the sounds are produced in the
mouth)
2. Phonology: the study of sound
patterns
2. Morphology: the study of word