Chapter 1 Invitations to Linguistics
1.1 Why study language?
1. Language is very essential to human beings.
2. In language there are many things we should know.
3. For further understanding, we need to study language scientifically.
1.2 What is language?
Language is a means of verbal communication. It is a system of arbitrary vocal symbols used for human communication.
1.3 Design features of language
The features that define our human languages can be called design features which can distinguish human language from any animal system of communication.
Arbitrariness refers to the fact that the forms of linguistic signs bear no natural relationship to their meanings.
Duality refers to the property of having two levels of structures, such that units of the primary level are composed of elements of the secondary level and each of the two levels has its own principles of organization.
Creativity means that language is resourceful because of its duality and its recursiveness. Recursiveness refers to the rule which can be applied repeatedly without any definite limit. The recursive nature of language provides a theoretical basis for the possibility of creating endless sentences.
Displacement means that human languages enable their users to symbolize objects, events and concepts which are not present (in time and space) at the moment of conversation.
1.4 Origin of language
1. The bow-wow theory
In primitive times people imitated the sounds of the animal calls in the wild environment they lived and speech developed from that.
2. The pooh-pooh theory
In the hard life of our primitive ancestors, they utter instinctive sounds of pains, anger and joy which gradually developed into language.
3. The “yo-he-ho” theory
As primitive people worked together, they produced some rhythmic grunts which gradually developed into chants and then into language.
1.5 Functions of language
As is proposed by Jacobson, language has six functions:
1. Referential: to convey message and information;
2. Poetic: to indulge in language for its own sake;
3. Emotive: to express attitudes, feelings and emotions;
4. Conative: to persuade and influence others through commands and entreaties;
5. Phatic: to establish communion with others;
6. Metalingual: to clear up intentions, words and meanings.
Halliday (1994) proposes a theory of metafunctions of language. It means that language has three metafunctions:
1. Ideational function: to convey new information, to communicate a content that is unknown to the hearer;
2. Interpersonal function: embodying all use of language to express social and personal relationships;
3. Textual function: referring to the fact that language has mechanisms to make any stretch of spoken and written discourse into a coherent and unified text and make a living passage different from a random list of sentences.
According to Hu Zhuanglin, language has at least seven functions:
The informative function means language is the instrument of thought and people often use it to communicate new information.
1.5.2 Interpersonal function
The interpersonal function means people can use language to establish and maintain their status in a society.
The performative function of language is primarily to change the social status of persons, as in marriage ceremonies, the sentencing of criminals, the blessing of children, the naming of a ship at a launching ceremony, and the cursing of enemies.
1.5.4 Emotive function
The emotive function is one of the most powerful uses of language because it is so crucial in changing the emotional status of an audience for or against someone or something.
1.5.5 Phatic communion
The phatic communion means people always use some small, seemingly meaningless expressions such as Good morning, God bless you, Nice day, etc., to maintain a comfortable relationship between people without any factual content.
1.5.6 Recreational function
The recreational function means people use language for the sheer joy of using it, such as a baby’s babbling or a chanter’s chanting.
1.5.7 Metalingual function
The metalingual function means people can use language to talk about itself. E.g. I can use the word “book” to talk about a book, and I can also use the expression “the word book” to talk about the sign “b-o-o-k” itself.
1.6 What is linguistics?
Linguistics is the scientific study of language. It studies not just one language of any one community, but the language of all human beings.
1.7 Mainbranches of linguistics
Phonetics is the study of speech sounds, it includes three main areas: articulatory phonetics, acoustic phonetics, and auditory phonetics.
Phonology studies the rules governing the structure, distribution, and sequencing of speech sounds and the shape of syllables.
Morphology studies the minimal units of meaning – morphemes and word-formation processes.
Syntax refers to the rules governing the way words are combined to form sentences in a language, or simply, the study of the formation of sentences.
Semantics examines how meaning is encoded in a language.
Pragmatics is the study of meaning in context.
Macrolinguistics is the study of language in all aspects, distinct from microlinguistics, which dealt solely with the formal aspect of language system.
Psycholinguistics investigates the interrelation of language and mind, in processing and producing utterances and in language acquisition for example.
Sociolinguistics is a term which covers a variety of different interests in language and society, including the language and the social characteristics of its users.
1.8.3 Anthropological linguistics
Anthropological linguistics studies the relationship between language and culture in a community.
1.8.4 Computational linguistics
Computational linguistics is an interdisciplinary field which centers around the use of computers to process or produce human language.
1.9 Important distinctions in linguistics
1.9.1 Descriptive vs. prescriptive
To say that linguistics is a descriptive science is to say that the linguist tries to discover and record the rules to which the members of a language-community actually conform and does not seek to impose upon them other rules, or norms, of correctness.
Prescriptive linguistics aims to lay down rules for the correct use of language and settle the disputes over usage once and for all.
For example, “Don’t say X.” is a prescriptive command; “People don’t say X.” is a descriptive statement. The distinction lies in prescribing how things ought to be and describing how things are. In the 18th century, all the main European languages were studied prescriptively. However, modern linguistics is mostly descriptive because the nature of linguistics as a science determines its preoccupation with description instead of prescription.
1.9.2 Synchronic vs. diachronic
A synchronic study takes a fixed instant (usually at present) as its point of observation. Saussure’s diachronic description is the study of a language through the course of its history. E.g. a study of the features of the English used in Shakespeare’s time would be synchronic, and a study of the changes English has undergone since then would be a diachronic study. In modern linguistics, synchronic study seems to enjoy priority over diachronic study. The reason is that unless the various state of a language are successfully studied it would be difficult to describe the changes that have taken place in its historical development.
1.9.3 Langue & parole
Saussure distinguished the linguistic competence of the speaker and the actual phenomena or data of linguistics as langue and parole. Langue is relative stable and systematic, parole is subject to personal and situational constraints; langue is not spoken by an individual, parole is always a naturally occurring event. What a linguist should do, according to Saussure, is to draw rules from a mass of confused facts, i.e. to discover the regularities governing all instances of parole and make them the subject of linguistics.
1.9.4 Competence and performance
According to Chomsky, a language user’s underlying knowledge about the system of rules is called the linguistic competence, and the actual use of language in concrete situations is called performance. Competence enables a speaker to produce and understand and indefinite number of sentences and to recognize grammatical mistakes and ambiguities. A speaker’s competence is stable while his performance is often influenced by psychological and social factors. So a speaker’s performance does not always match his supposed competence. Chomsky believes that linguists ought to study competence, rather than performance. Chomsky’s competence-performance distinction is not exactly the same as, though similar to, Saussure’s langue-parole distinction. Langue is a social product and a set of conventions of a community, while competence is deemed as a property of mind of each individual. Saussure looks at language more from a sociological or sociolinguistic point of view than Chomsky since the latter deals with his issues psychologically or psycholinguistically.
1.9.5 Etic vs. emic
Being etic means researchers’ making far too many, as well as behaviorally and inconsequential, differentiations, just as often the case with phonetics vs. phonemics analysis in linguistics proper.
An emic set of speech acts and events must be one that is validated as meaningful via final resource to the native members of a speech community rather than via appeal to the investigator’s ingenuity or intuition alone.
Following the suffix formations of (phon)etics vs (phon)emics, these terms were introduced into the social sciences by Kenneth Pike (1967) to denote the distinction between the material and functional study of language: phonetics studies the acoustically measurable and articulatorily definable immediate sound utterances, whereas phonemics analyzes the specific selection each language makes from that universal catalogue from a functional aspect.
Chapter 2 Speech Sounds
2.1 Speech production and perception
Phonetics is the study of speech sounds. It includes three main areas:
1. Articulatory phonetics – the study of the production of speech sounds
2. Acoustic phonetics – the study of the physical properties of the sounds produced in speech
3. Auditory phonetics – the study of perception of speech sounds
Most phoneticians are interested in articulatory phonetics.
2.2 Speech organs
Speech organs are those parts of the human body involved in the production of speech. The speech organs can be considered as consisting of three parts: the initiator of the air stream, the producer of voice and the resonating cavities.
2.3 Segments, divergences, and phonetic transcription
2.3.1 Segments and divergences
As there are more sounds in English than its letters, each letter must represent more than one sound.
2.3.2 Phonetic transcription
International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA): the system of symbols for representing the pronunciation of words in any language according to the principles of the International Phonetic Association. The symbols consists of letters and diacritics. Some letters are taken from the Roman alphabet, some are special symbols.
2.4.1 Consonants and vowels
A consonant is produced by constricting or obstructing the vocal tract at some places to divert, impede, or completely shut off the flow of air in the oral cavity.
A vowel is produced without obstruction so no turbulence or a total stopping of the air can be perceived.
The categories of consonant are established on the basis of several factors. The most important of these factors are:
1. the actual relationship between the articulators and thus the way in which the air passes through certain parts of the vocal tract (manner of articulation);
2. where in the vocal tract there is approximation, narrowing, or the obstruction of the air (place of articulation).
2.4.3 Manners of articulation
1. Stop/plosive: A speech sound which is produced by stopping the air stream from the lungs and then suddenly releasing it. In English,  are stops and  are nasal stops.
2. Fricative: A speech sound which is produced by allowing the air stream from the lungs to escape with friction. This is caused by bringing the two articulators, e.g. the upper teeth and the lower lip, close together but not closes enough to stop the airstreams completely. In English,  are fricatives.
3. (Median) approximant: An articulation in which one articulator is close to another, but without the vocal tract being narrowed to such an extent that a turbulent airstream is produced. In English this class of sounds includes .
4. Lateral (approximant): A speech sound which is produced by partially blocking the airstream from the lungs, usually by the tongue, but letting it escape at one or both sides of the blockage.  is the only lateral in English.
Other consonantal articulations include trill, tap or flap, and affricate.
2.4.4 Places of articulation
1. Bilabial: A speech sound which is made with the two lips.
2. Labiodental: A speech sound which is made with the lower lip and the upper front teeth.
3. Dental: A speech sound which is made by the tongue tip or blade and the upper front teeth.
4. Alveolar: A speech sound which is made with the tongue tip or blade and the alveolar ridge.
5. Postalveolar: A speech sound which is made with the tongue tip and the back of the alveolar ridge.
6. Retroflex: A speech sound which is made with the tongue tip or blade curled back so that the underside of the tongue tip or blade forms a stricture with the back of the alveolar ridge or the hard palate.
7. Palatal: A speech sound which is made with the front of the tongue and the hard palate.
8. Velar: A speech sound which is made with the back of the tongue and the soft palate.
9. Uvular: A speech sound which is made with the back of the tongue and the uvula, the short projection of the soft tissue and muscle at the posterior end of the velum.
10. Pharyngeal: A speech sound which is made with the root of the tongue and the walls of the pharynx.
11. Glottal: A speech sound which is made with the two pieces of vocal folds pushed towards each other.
2.4.5 The consonants of English
Received Pronunciation (RP): The type of British Standard English pronunciation which has been regarded as the prestige variety and which shows no regional variation. It has often been popularly referred to as “BBC English” or “Oxford English” because it is widely used in the private sector of the education system and spoken by most newsreaders of the BBC network.
A chart of English consonants
Manner of articulation
Place of articulation
In many cases there are two sounds that share the same place and manner of articulation. These pairs of consonants are distinguished by voicing, the one appearing on the left is voiceless and the one on the right is voiced.
Therefore, the consonants of English can be described in the following way:
[p] voiceless bilabial stop
[b] voiced bilabial stop
[s] voiceless alveolar fricative
[z] voiced alveolar fricative
[m] bilabial nasal
[n] alveolar nasal
[l] alveolar lateral
[j] palatal approximant
[h] glottal fricative
[r] alveolar approximant
2.5.1 The criteria of vowel description
1. The part of the tongue that is raised – front, center, or back.
2. The extent to which the tongue rises in the direction of the palate. Normally, three or four degrees are recognized: high, mid (often divided into mid-high and mid-low) and low.
3. The kind of opening made at the lips – various degrees of lip rounding or spreading.
4. The position of the soft palate – raised for oral vowels, and lowered for vowels which have been nasalized.
2.5.2 The theory of cardinal vowels
Cardinal vowels are a set of vowel qualities arbitrarily defined, fixed and unchanging, intending to provide a frame of reference for the description of the actual vowels of existing languages.
By convention, the eight primary cardinal vowels are numbered from one to eight as follows: CV1, CV2, CV3, CV4, CV5, CV6, CV7, CV8.
A set of secondary cardinal vowels is obtained by reversing the lip-rounding for a give position: CV9 – CV16. [I am sorry I cannot type out many of these. If you want to know, you may consult the textbook p. 47.
2.5.3 Vowel glides
Pure (monophthong) vowels: vowels which are produced without any noticeable change in vowel quality.
Vowel glides: Vowels where there is an audible change of quality.
Diphthong: A vowel which is usually considered as one distinctive vowel of a particular language but really involves two vowels, with one vowel gliding to the other.
2.5.4 The vowels of RP
 high front tense unrounded vowel
 high back lax rounded vowel
 central lax unrounded vowel
 low back lax rounded vowel
2.6 Coarticulation and phonetic transcription
Coarticulation: The simultaneous or overlapping articulation of two successive phonological units.
Anticipatory coarticulation: If the sound becomes more like the following sound, as in the case of lamp, it is known as anticipatory coarticulation.
Perseverative coarticulation: If the sound displays the influence of the preceding sound, as in the case of map, it is perseverative coarticulation.
Nasalization: Change or process by which vowels or consonants become nasal.
Diacritics: Any mark in writing additional to a letter or other basic elements.
2.6.2 Broad and narrow transcriptions
The use of a simple set of symbols in our transcription is called a broad transcription. The use of more specific symbols to show more phonetic detail is referred to as a narrow transcription. The former was meant to indicate only these sounds capable of distinguishing one word from another in a given language while the latter was meant to symbolize all the possible speech sounds, including even the minutest shades of pronunciation.
2.7 Phonological analysis
Phonetics is the study of speech sounds. It includes three main areas: articulatory phonetics, acoustic phonetics, and auditory phonetics. On the other hand, phonology studies the rules governing the structure, distribution, and sequencing of speech sounds and the shape of syllables. There is a fair degree of overlap in what concerns the two subjects, so sometimes it is hard to draw the boundary between them. Phonetics is the study of all possible speech sounds while phonology studies the way in which speakers of a language systematically use a selection of these sounds in order to express meaning. That is to say, phonology is concerned with the linguistic patterning of sounds in human languages, with its primary aim being to discover the principles that govern the way sounds are organized in languages, and to explain the variations that occur.
2.8 Phonemes and allophones
2.8.1 Minimal pairs
Minimal pairs are two words in a language which differ from each other by only one distinctive sound and which also differ in meaning. E.g. the English words tie and die are minimal pairs as they differ in meaning and in their initial phonemes /t/ and /d/. By identifying the minimal pairs of a language, a phonologist can find out which sound substitutions cause differences of meaning.
2.8.2 The phoneme theory
A phoneme is the smallest linguistic unit of sound that can signal a difference in meaning. Any of the different forms of a phoneme is called its allophones. E.g. in English, when the phoneme // occurs at the beginning of the word like peak //, it is said with a little puff of air, it is aspirated. But when // occurs in the word like speak //, it is said without the puff of the air, it is unaspirated. Both the aspirated  in peak and the unaspirated [=] in speak have the same phonemic function, i.e. they are both heard and identified as // and not as //; they are both allophones of the phoneme //.
2.9 Phonological processes
Assimilation: A process by which one sound takes on some or all the characteristics of a neighboring sound.
Regressive assimilation: If a following sound is influencing a preceding sound, we call it regressive assimilation.
Progressive assimilation: If a preceding sound is influencing a following sound, we call it progressive assimilation.
Devoicing: A process by which voiced sounds become voiceless. Devoicing of voiced consonants often occurs in English when they are at the end of a word.
2.9.2 Phonological processes and phonological rules
The changes in assimilation, nasalization, dentalization, and velarization are all phonological processes in which a target or affected segment undergoes a structural change in certain environments or contexts. In each process the change is conditioned or triggered by a following sound or, in the case of progressive assimilation, a preceding sound. Consequently, we can say that any phonological process must have three aspects to it: a set of sounds to undergo the process; a set of sounds produced by the process; a set of situations in which the process applies.
We can represent the process by mans of an arrow: voiced fricative → voiceless / __________ voiceless. This is a phonological rule. The slash (/) specifies the environment in which the change takes place. The bar (called the focus bar) indicates the position of the target segment. So the rule reads: a voiced fricative is transformed into the corresponding voiceless sound when it appears before a voiceless sound.
2.9.3 Rule ordering
2.10 Distinctive features
Distinctive feature: A particular characteristic which distinguishes one distinctive sound unit of a language from another or one group of sounds from another group.
Binary feature: A property of a phoneme or a word which can be used to describe the phoneme or word. A binary feature is either present or absent. Binary features are also used to describe the semantic properties of words.
Suprasegmental features: Suprasegmental features are those aspects of speech that involve more than single sound segments. The principal suprasegmental features are syllables, stress, tone, and intonation.
Syllable: A unit in speech which is often longer than one sound and smaller than a whole word.
Open syllable: A syllable which ends in a vowel.
Closed syllable: A syllable which ends in a consonant.
Maximal onset principle: The principle which states that when there is a choice as to where to place a consonant, it is put into the onset rather than the coda. E.g. The correct syllabification of the word country should be //. It shouldn’t be // or // according to this principle.
Stress refers to the degree of force used in producing a syllable. In transcription, a raised vertical line  is used just before the syllable it relates to.
Chapter 3 Lexicon
3.1 What is word?
1. What is a lexeme?
A lexeme is the smallest unit in the meaning system of a language that can be distinguished from other similar units. It is an abstract unit. It can occur in many different forms in actual spoken or written sentences, and is regarded as the same lexeme even when inflected. E.g. the word “write” is the lexeme of “write, writes, wrote, writing and written.”
2. What is a morpheme?
A morpheme is the smallest unit of language in terms of relationship between expression and content, a unit that cannot be divided into further smaller units without destroying or drastically altering the meaning, whether it is lexical or grammatical. E.g. the word “boxes” has two morphemes: “box” and “es,” neither of which permits further division or analysis shapes if we don’t want to sacrifice its meaning.
3. What is an allomorph?
An allomorph is the alternate shapes of the same morpheme. E.g. the variants of the plurality “-s” makes the allomorphs thereof in the following examples: map – maps, mouse – mice, ox – oxen, tooth – teeth, etc.
4. What is a word?
A word is the smallest of the linguistic units that can constitute, by itself, a complete utterance in speech or writing.
3.1.1 Three senses of “word”
1. A physically definable unit
2. The common factor underlying a set of forms
3. A grammatical unit
3.1.2 Identification of words
Words are the most stable of all linguistic units, in respect of their internal structure, i.e. the constituent parts of a complex word have little potential for rearrangement, compared with the relative positional mobility of the constituents of sentences in the hierarchy. Take the word chairman for example. If the morphemes are rearranged as * manchair, it is an unacceptable word in English.
2. Relative uninterruptibility
By uninterruptibility, we men new elements are not to be inserted into a word even when there are several parts in a word. Nothing is to be inserted in between the three parts of the word disappointment: dis + appoint + ment. Nor is one allowed to use pauses between the parts of a word: * dis appoint ment.
3. A minimum free form
This was first suggested by Leonard Bloomfield. He advocated treating sentence as “the maximum free form” and word “the minimum free form,” the latter being the smallest unit that can constitute, by itself, a complete utterance.
3.1.3 Classification of words
1. Variable and invariable words
In variable words, one can find ordered and regular series of grammatically different word form; on the other hand, part of the word remains relatively constant. E.g. follow – follows – following – followed. Invariable words refer to those words such as since, when, seldom, through, hello, etc. They have no inflective endings.
2. Grammatical words and lexical words
Grammatical words, a.k.a. function words, express grammatical meanings, such as, conjunctions, prepositions, articles, and pronouns, are grammatical words.
Lexical words, a.k.a. content words, have lexical meanings, i.e. those which refer to substance, action and quality, such as nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs, are lexical words.
3. Closed-class words and open-class words
Closed-class word: A word that belongs to the closed-class is one whose membership is fixed or limited. New members are not regularly added. Therefore, pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, articles, etc. are all closed items.
Open-class word: A word that belongs to the open-class is one whose membership is in principle infinite or unlimited. Nouns, verbs, adjectives and many adverbs are all open-class items.
4. Word class
This is close to the notion of parts of speech in traditional grammar. Today, word class displays a wider range of more precisely defined categories. Here are some of the categories newly introduced into linguistic analysis.
(1) Particles: Particles include at least the infinitive marker “to,” the negative marker “not,” and the subordinate units in phrasal verbs, such as “get by,” “do up,” “look back,” etc.
(2) Auxiliaries: Auxiliaries used to be regarded as verbs. Because of their unique properties, which one could hardly expect of a verb, linguists today tend to define them as a separate word class.
(3) Pro-forms: Pro-forms are the forms which can serve as replacements for different elements in a sentence. For example, in the following conversation, so replaces that I can come.
A: I hope you can come.
B: I hope so.
(4) Determiners: Determiners refer to words which are used before the noun acting as head of a noun phrase, and determine the kind of reference the noun phrase has. Determiners can be divided into three subclasses: predeterminers, central determiners and postdeterminers.
3.2 The formation of word
3.2.1 Morpheme and morphology
Morphology studies the internal structure of words, and the rules by which words are formed.
3.2.2 Types of morphemes
1. Free morpheme and bound morpheme
Free morphemes: Those which may occur alone, that is, those which may constitute words by themselves, are free morphemes.
Bound morphemes: Those which must appear with at least another morpheme are called bound morphemes.
2. Root, affix and stem
A root is the base form of a word that cannot further be analyzed. An affix is the collective term for the type of formative that can be used only when added to another morpheme. A stem is any morpheme or combination of morphemes to which an inflectional affix can be added.
A root is the base form of a word that cannot further be analyzed without total loss of identity. That is to say, it is that part of the word left when all the affixes are removed. In the word internationalism, after the removal of inter-, -al and -ism, what is left is the root nation. All words contain a root morpheme. A root may be free or bound. E.g. black in blackbird, blackboard and blacksmith; -ceive in receive, conceive and perceive. A few English roots may have both free and bound variants. E.g. the word sleep is a free root morpheme, whereas slep- in the past tence form slept cannot exist by itself, and therefore bound. A stem is any morpheme or combination of morphemes to which an inflectional affix can be added. E.g. friend- in friends and friendship- in friendships are both stems. The former shows that a stem can be equivalent to a root, whereas the latter shows that a stem may contain a root and a derivational affix.
3. Inflectional affix and derivational affix
Inflection is the manifestation of grammatical relationships through the addition of inflectional affixes, such as number, person, finiteness, aspect and case, which do not change the grammatical class of the stems to which they are attached.
The distinction between inflectional affixes and derivational affixes is sometimes known as a distinction betwe...