Introduction to Linguistics
  11.01.07 The structure of language
 
 

11. 01. 2007 The structure of language



Overview of today's lecture

  • Constitutive relations

  • structural relations

  • semiotic relations

  • ranks

  • Text structure – text syntax





Structure

determined by following kinds of relations:

  • structural relations

  • syntagmatic relations ( combinatory relations which create larger signs (and their realisations and interpretations) from smaller signs (and their realisations and interpretations) ( „glue“)

  • paradigmatic relations (classificatory relations of similarity and difference between signs) ( „similarity/ difference“)

  • semiotic relations

  • realisation: the visual appearance or acoustic representation of signs (other senses may also be involved).

  • interpretation: the assignment of meaning to a sign.


  • Grammar: The instruction how to put words together in a sentence



To illustrate the meaning of paradigmatic relations, Prof. Gibbon told a student to start a sentence and then asked other students to finish it. The fact that everybody hesitated at least some seconds before saying a word indicates that there is not only one possible solution to finish a sentence but you have got a choice.

The final sentence was:

The boy plays with his red ball



As we could have also said „The GIRL ...“ , boy and girl must be the same in general. They are both nouns and have both only one syllable. Of course their meaning is different, so they are different in detail but in general the same. In fact there is an infinite number of nouns as you can always invent new ones.

Then Prof. Gibbon asked us whether we could have also used a different word for „the“. You could have also used „a“ and if you consider quantifiers ( 1, 2, ...) there is of course an infinite number of determiners to use in this sentence.

Instead of „with“ we could have also used other prepositions, but in contrast to determiners and nouns, there is an finite number of prepositions because you cannot invent new ones.

Paradigmatic relations define the similarity and difference of

  • internal structure: simple vs. complex stems

  • external structure: functions in different word orders / positionss

  • meaning: synonymy, antonymy, hyponymy, ...

  • appearance: shared and different distinctive features





Syntagmatic relations

  • Consonants and vowels are glued together as syllables

  • Lexical morphemes and affixes are glued together as derived stems

  • Stems are glued together into compound stems

  • Stems and inflections are glued together into words

  • nouns and verbs are glued together as the subjects and predicates of sentences



The sign hierarchy- ranks

  • Each sign has a structure ( internal/ external) and semiotic relations ( function and realisation)

  • dialogue

  • monologue/ text

  • sentence

  • word

  • morpheme

  • phoneme



Text structure

  • Every different kind of text ( receipt/ story/ ...) has a different text structure.

  • The structure of a receipt: First the ingrediences, than the instructions

  • Texts as text parts



Learner's diary

I liked today's lecture, especially the example with the „boy who plays with his red ball...“ - example. I think we dealt with the topic of „text structure“ maybe a bit too fast. I think the homework was a bit too much.

References

  • class homepage
  •  

Tasks/ Homework

Identify the syntagmatic relations in the following constructions:

  • /frɪdʒ/: Consonants and vowels are glued together into syllables: one syllable CCVCC ( is sometimes seen as one)

    syllable

    onset

    rhyme

    nucleus

    coda

    f

    r

    ɪ

    d

    ʒ

     

  • /streɪts/ one syllable: CCCVVCC

    syllable

    onset

    rhyme

    nucleus

    coda

    s

    t

    r

    e

    ɪ

    t

    s

     

  • /prɛər/ one syllable: CCVVC

    syllable

    onset

    rhyme

    nucleus

    coda

    p

    r

    ɛ

    ə

    r

     

  • department store detective”: endocentric compound, head: detective, modifiers: department store

    Compound word

    head


    modifier

    Derived stem (noun)

    Simple word (noun)


    Derived stem(noun)

    base(verb)

    derivation/ suffix

    store

    root (verb)

    derivation/ suffix

    Depart

    -ment

    detect

    -ive

     

  • three people saw a woman and her dog in the shop”

    sentence

    subject

    predicate

    verbal

    object

    three

    people

    saw

    a

    women

    and

    her

    dog

    in

    the

    shop

     


Identify the paradigmatic relations in the following sets (describe similarities and differences):

  • {/p/, /t/, /k/}

  • all consonants, plosives

  • /p/ bilabial

  • /t/ alveolar

  • /k/ velar

  • {“object”, “furniture”, “chair”, “table”}

  • object is a hypernym for furniture, chair, table

  • furniture, chair, table are hyponyms for objects

  • furniture is a hypernym for chair + table

  • chair and table are meonyms ( are parts of) furniture

  • they are all nouns

  • {“walk”, “drive”, “run”, “ride”}

  • all examples of how to move

  • all hypernyms of „move“


Analyse the components of the following item into units of different ranks:

her step-mother bought her a pre-paid phone card

  • One sentence

  • 6 words ( 2 pronouns ( her), 2 compound nound ( step- mother, pre-paid phone card), a verb ( bought, past tense), „a“ determiner

  • morphemes: her- step- mother- bought- her – a – pre- paid- phone- card

 
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