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英语语言学试卷及答案
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Chapter I Introduction

I. Decide whether each of the following statements is True or False:

l.T     2.F     3.F    4.T    5.T     6.F     7.T    8.F    9.T    10.F     11.T     12.T     13.T     14.T     15.T     16.F     17.T     18.F     19.F     20.F

 

II. Fill in each of the following blanks with one word which begins with the letter given:

 

21. knowledge     22. abstract     23. Duality     24. arbitrary     25. syntax     26.genetic    27. Parole     28. applied     29. productive     30. scientific (or systematic)

 

III. There are four choices following each statement. Mark the choice that can best complete the statement.

 

3l.C     32.D     33.C    34.D     35.B     36.A    37.C     38.B     39.A     40.D

 

IV. Define the following terms:

41. Linguistics: Linguistics is generally defined as the scientific study of language.

42. Phonology: The study of how sounds are put together and used in communication is called phonology.

43. Syntax: The study of how morphemes and words are combined to form sentences is called syntax. .

44. Pragmatics: The study of meaning in context of use is called pragmatics .

45. Psycholinguistics: The study of language with reference to the workings of mind is called psycholinguistics.

46. Language: Language is a system of arbitrary vocal symbols used for human communication.

47. Phonetics: The study of sounds which are used in linguistic communication is called phonetics .

48. Morphology: The study of the way in which morphemes are arranged to form words is called morphology.

49. Semantics: The study of meaning in lan-guage is called semantics.

50. Sociolinguistics: The study of language with reference to society is called sociolinguistics,.

51. Applied linguistics: In a narrow sense, applied linguistics refers to the application of linguistic principles and theories to language teaching and learning, especially the teaching of foreign and second languages. In a broad sense, it refers to the application of linguistic findings to the solution of practical problems such as the recovery of speech ability.

52. arbitrariness: It is one of the design features of language. It means that there is no logical connection between meanings and sounds

53. Productivity: Language is productive or creative in that it makes possible the con-struction and interpretation of new signals by its users.

54. Displacement: Displacement means that language can be used to refer to things which are present or not present, real or imagined matters in the past, present, or future, or in far-away places. In other words, language can be used to refer to contexts removed from the immediate situations of the speaker

55. Duality: The duality nature of language means that language is a system, which consists of two sets of structure, or two levels, one of sounds and the other of meanings..

56. Design features: Design features refer to the defining properties of human language that distinguish it from any animal system of communication

57. Competence: Chomsky defines competence as the ideal user’s knowledge of the rules of his language,

58. Performance: performance is the actual realization of the knowl-edge of the rules in linguistic communication.

59. langue : Langue refers to the abstract linguistic system shared by all the members of a speech community; Langue is the set of conventions and rules which language users all have to follow; Langue is relatively stable, it does not change frequently

60. Parole: Parole refers to the realization of langue in actual use; parole is the concrete use of the conventions and the application of the rules; parole varies from person to person, and from situation to situation.

V. Answer the following questions as comprehensively as possible. Give examples for illustration if necessary:

61. Language is generally defined as a system of arbitrary vocal symbols used for human communication. Explain it in detail.

First of all, language is a system, because elements of language are com-bined according to rules. Secondly, language is arbitrary because there is no intrinsic connection between form and meaning, or between the sign and what it stands for. Different languages have different words for the same ob-ject in the world. This fact is a good illustration of the arbitrary nature of language. This also explains the symbolic nature of language: words are just symbols; they are associated with objects, actions, ideas, etc. by conven-tion . Thirdly, language is vocal because the primary medium is sound for all languages, no matter how well - developed their writing systems are.

The term "human" in the definition indicates that language is possessed by human beings only and is very different from the communication systems of other living creatures. The term "communication" means that language makes it possible for its users to talk to each other and fulfil their commu-nicative needs.

62. What are the design features of human language Illustrate them with examples.

1) Arbitrariness

As mentioned earlier, the arbitrary property of language means that there is no logical connection between meanings and sounds. For instance, there is no nec-essary relationship between the word elephant and the animal it symbolizes. In addition, different sounds are used to refer to the same object in different languages , and even within the same language, the same sound does not refer to the same thing. However, language is not entirely arbitrary. There are words which are created in the imitation of sounds by sounds, such as crash, bang in English. Besides, some compound words are also not entirely arbitrary. But the non-arbitrary words are quite limited in number.

The arbitrary nature of language makes it possible for language to have an unlimited source of expressions.

2) Productivity

Language is productive or creative in that it makes possible the con-struction and interpretation of new signals by its users. This is why they can produce and understand an infinitely large number of sentences, including sentences that they have never said or heard before. They can send messages which no one else has ever sent before.

Productivity is unique to human language. Most animal communication systems appear to be highly restricted with respect to the number of different signals that their users can send and receive.

3) Duality

The duality nature of language means that language is a system, which consists of two sets of structure, or two levels, one of sounds and the other of meanings. At the lower or the basic level, there is the structure of sounds, which are meaningless, discrete, individual sounds. But the sounds of language can be combined according to rules into units of meaning such as morphemes and words, which, at the higher level, can be arranged into sentences. This duality of structure or dou-ble articulation of language enables its users to talk about anything within their knowledge. No animal communication system has duality or even comes near to possessing it.

4) Displacement

Displacement means that language can be used to refer to things which are present or not present, real or imagined matters in the past, present, or future, or in far-away places. In other words, language can be used to refer to contexts removed from the immediate situations of the speaker. Animal calls are mainly uttered in response to immediate changes of situation.

5) Cultural transmission

Human beings were born with the ability to acquire language, but the details of any language are not genetically transmitted or passed down by instinct. They have to be taught and learned, but animal call systems are genetically trans-mitted .

63. How is modern linguistics different from traditional grammar ?

Traditional gram-mar is prescriptive; it is based on "high "(religious, literary) written lan-guage . It sets grammatical rules and imposes the rules on language users. But Modern linguistics is descriptive; It collects authentic, and mainly spoken language data and then it studies and describes the data in an objective and scientific way.

64. How do you understand the distinction between a synchronic study and a diachronic study ?

The description of a language at some point in time is a Synchronic study; the de-scription of a language as it changes through time is a diachronic study. A synchronic study of language describes a language as it is at some particular point in time, while a diachronic study of language is the study of the historical development of language over a period of time.

65. Why does modern linguistics regard the spoken form of language as primary, not the written ?

First, the spoken form is prior to the writ-ten form and most writing systems are derived from the spoken form of lan-guage.

Second, the spoken form plays a greater role than writing in terms of the amount of information conveyed and it serves a wider range of purposes

Finally, the spoken form is the medium through which we acquire our mother tongue.

66. What are the major distinctions between langue and parole?

The distinction between langue, and parole was made by the famous Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure early this century. Langue refers to the abstract linguistic system shared by all the members of a speech community, and parole refers to the realization of langue in actual use. Langue is the set of conventions and rules which language users all have to follow while parole is the concrete use of the conventions and the application of the rules. Langue is abstract; it is not the language people actually use, but parole is concrete; it refers to the naturally occurring language events. Langue is relatively stable, it does not change frequently; while parole varies from person to person, and from situation to situation.

67. How do you understand competence and performance ?

American linguist N. Chomsky in the late 1950’s proposed the distinction between competence and performance. Chomsky defines competence as the ideal user’s knowledge of the rules of his language. This internalized set of rules enables the language user to produce and understand an infinitely large number of sentences and recognize sentences that are ungrammatical and ambiguous. According to Chomsky, performance is the actual realization of this knowledge in linguistic communication. Although the speaker’s knowledge of his mother tongue is perfect, his performances may have mistakes because of social and psychological factors such as stress, embarrassment, etc.. Chomsky believes that what linguists should study is the competence, which is systematic, not the performance, which is too haphazard.

68. Saussure’s distinction between langue and parole seems similar to Chomsky’s distinction between competence and performance. What do you think are their major differences?

Although Saussure’s distinction and Chomsky’s are very similar, they differ at least in that Saussure took a sociological view of language and his notion of langue is a mater of social conventions, and Chomsky looks at language from a psychological point of vies and to him, competence is a property of the mind of each individual.

69. Do you think human language is entirely arbitrary? Why?

Language is arbitrary in nature, it is not entirely arbitrary, because there are a limited number of words whose connections between forms and meanings can be logically explained to a certain extent, for example, the onomatopoeia, words which are coined on the basis of imitation of sounds by sounds such as bang, crash,etc.. Take compounds for another example. The two elements “photo” and “copy” in “photocopy” are non-motivated, but the compound is not arbitrary.