School of Lingistics

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Offline Antara11

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School of Lingistics
« on: November 24, 2013, 11:42:47 PM »
Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913)

Modern linguistics began from the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure who is often described as “father of modern linguistics” and “a master of a discipline which he made modern”.
His (1916) book, Course in General Linguistics, a collection of his lecture notes, marked the beginning of modern linguistics.

Saussure’s ideas were developed along three lines:
Linguistics (influenced by the American linguist W. D. Whitney, who insisted on the concept of arbitrariness of the sign),
Sociology (followed French sociologist Durkheim),
Psychology (influenced by Freud).

Saussure believed that language is a system of signs. To communicate ideas, they must be part of a system of conventions, part of a system of signs. This sign is the union of a form and an idea, which Saussure called the signifier and the signified.

Saussure exerted two kinds of influence on modern linguistics. First, he provided a general orientation, a sense of the task of linguistics which has seldom been questioned. Second, he influenced modern linguistics in the specific concepts.

Saussure’s fundamental perception is of revolutionary significance, and it is he that pushed linguistics into a brand new stage and all linguistics in the twentieth century are Saussurean linguistics.


Antara Basak
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Offline Antara11

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Re: School of Lingistics
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2013, 11:44:11 PM »
Leonard Bloomfield (1887-1949)

American linguist who led the development of structural linguistics in the United States during the 1930s and the 1940s.
His influential textbook Language (1933) presented a comprehensive description of American structural linguistics.
He made significant contributions to Indo-European historical linguistics, the description of Austronesian languages, and description of languages of the Algonquian family.

For Bloomfield, linguistics is a branch of psychology, and specifically of the positivistic brand of psychology known as behaviourism. Behaviourism is a principle of scientific method, based on the belief that human beings cannot know anything they have not experienced. Behaviourism in linguistics holds that children learn language through a chain of “STIMULUS-RESPONSE reinforcement”, and the adult’s use of language is also a process of stimulus-response.

Bloomfield exemplified the stimulus-response theory and developed the following principles:
   1) When one individual is stimulated, his speech can make another individual react accordingly.
   2) The division of labour and all human activities based on the division of labour are dependent on language.
   3) The distance between the speaker and the hearer, two separate nervous systems, is bridged up by sound waves.

Bloomfield also touched upon the application of linguistics to language teaching and criticised traditional grammar.

Concerning the popular practice of foreign language teaching in America, he said that learning a language involves constant practice and repetition in real situations rather than merely teaching language learners grammatical theories;

Traditional practice cannot help the learners much.
   
The influence of Bloomfieldian structural linguistics declined in the late 1950s and 1960s as the theory of Generative Grammar developed by Noam Chomsky came to predominate.

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Re: School of Lingistics
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2013, 11:45:46 PM »
Avram Noam Chomsky (1928)

American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and political activist.
Tried to open up a new route.
Chomsky gradually established the well-known Transformational-Generative (TG) grammar which has undergone numerous revisions and has had a profound influence on linguistics.

The publication of his Syntactic Structures (1957) marked the beginning of the Chomskyan Revolution.

 His approach to the study of language emphasizes "an innate set of linguistic principles shared by all humans" known as universal grammar, "the initial state of the language learner“.

TG Grammar has seen five stages of development.
•  The Classical Theory: aims to make linguistics a science.
•  The Standard Theory: deals with how semantics should be studied in a linguistics theory.
•   The Extended Standard Theory: focuses discussion on language universals and universal grammar.
•   The Revised Extended Standard Theory (or GB): focuses discussion on government and binding.
 The latest is the Minimalist Program, a further revision of the previous theory.

Ideas of Chomsky on Generative Grammar:

Chomsky defines language as a set of rules or principles.
Chomsky defines language as a set of rules or principles.
Chomsky and his followers are interested in any data that can reveal the native speaker’s implicit knowledge.
Chomsky’s methodology is hypothesis-deductive.
Chomsky follows rationalism in philosophy and mentalism in psychology.
Antara Basak
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Re: School of Lingistics
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2013, 11:47:15 PM »
John R. Firth (1890-1960) 

British linguist specializing in contextual theories of meaning and prosodic analysis.
The originator of the “London school of linguistics.”
Started the branch called linguistic semantics.
Had important contribution in linguistics for method of prosodic analysis , called prosodic phonology.

According to Firth, in analysing a typical context of situation, one has to take into consideration both the situational context and the linguistic context of a text:
 The internal relations of the text itself
The syntagmatic relations between the elements in the structure;
The paradigmatic relations between units in the system.
The internal relations of the context of situation
The relations between text and non-linguistic elements,   and the general effects;
The analytical relations between words, parts of words, phrases and the special elements of the context of situation

Firth also listed the points that covers both the situational context and the linguistic context of a text:

the relevant features of the participants: persons, personalities
the verbal action of the participant
the non-verbal action of the participants
the relevant topics, including objects, events, and non-linguistic, non-human events
the effects of the verbal action.

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Re: School of Lingistics
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2013, 11:49:38 PM »
Michael Alexander K. Halliday (1925)

A British linguist, developed an internationally influential grammar model, the systemic functional grammar (which also goes by the name of systemic functional linguistics [SFL]).

His Systemic-Functional (SF) Grammar is a sociologically oriented functional linguistic approach and one of the most influential linguistic theories in the twentieth century, having great effect on various disciplines related to language, such as language teaching, sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, stylistics, and machine translation.

Systemic-Functional Grammar has two components: systemic grammar  and functional grammar.

Systemic grammar : aims to explain the internal relations in language as a system network, or meaning potential

Systemic-Functional Grammar is based on two facts:
language users are actually making choices in a system of systems and trying to realise different semantic functions in social interaction; and

 language is inseparable from social activities of man.

Functional Grammar:
   
Halliday views language development in children as “the mastery of linguistic functions”, and “learning a language is learning how to mean”. So he proposes seven functions in children’s model of language:
Instrumental: This is when the child uses language to express their needs (e.g.'Want juice')
Regulatory: This is where language is used to tell others what to do (e.g. 'Go away')
Interactional: Here language is used to make contact with others and form relationships (e.g. 'Love you, mummy')

Personal: This is the use of language to express feelings, opinions, and individual identity (e.g. 'Me good girl')
The next three functions are heuristic, imaginative, and representational, all helping the child to come to terms with his or her environment.
Heuristic: This is when language is used to gain knowledge about the environment (e.g. 'What the tractor doing?')
Imaginative: Here language is used to tell stories and jokes, and to create an imaginary environment.
Representational: The use of language to convey facts and information.

According to Halliday, the adult’s language becomes much more complex and it has to serve many more functions, and the original functional range of the child’s language is gradually reduced to a set of highly coded and abstract functions.

Antara Basak
Senior Lecturer
Dept. of English