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What, When, Where, How, Who?


Introduction, Important Definitions and Related Concepts:

Grammar is the study of the rules governing the use of any given spoken language, and, as such, is a field of linguistics. Traditionally, grammar included morphology and syntax; in modern linguistics these subfields are complemented by phonetics, phonology, semantics, and pragmatics. Each language has its own distinct grammar. "English grammar" (uncountable) refers to the rules of the English language itself, while "an English grammar" (countable) refers to a specific study or analysis of these rules. A fully explicit grammar exhaustively describing the grammatical constructions of a language is called a descriptive grammar. Specific types of grammars, or approaches to constructing them, are known as grammatical frameworks. The standard framework of generative grammar is the transformational grammar model developed by Noam Chomsky in the 1950s to 1980s. A reference book that attempts a comprehensive description of the grammar of a language may be called "a grammar" or "a reference grammar". Standardization (or standardisation) is the process of developing and agreeing upon technical standards. A standard is a document that establishes uniform engineering or technical specifications, criteria, methods, processes, or practices. Some standards are mandatory while others are voluntary. Some standards are de facto, meaning a norm or requirement which has an informal but dominant status. Some standards are de jure, meaning formal legal requirements. Formal standards bodies such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) or the American National Standards Institute are independent of the manufacturers of the goods for which they publish standards. The goals of standardization can be to help with independence of single suppliers (commodification), compatibility, interoperability, safety, repeatability, or quality. In social sciences, including economics, the idea of standardization is close to the solution for a coordination problem, a situation in which all parties can realize mutual gains, but only by making mutually consistent decisions. Standardization is defined as best technical application consentual wisdom inclusive of processes for selection in making appropriate choices for ratification coupled with consistent decisions for maintaining obtained standards. This view includes the case of "spontaneous standardization processes", to produce de facto standards. A spoken language is a human natural language in which the words are uttered through the mouth. Most human languages are spoken languages.

Speech communication stands in contrast to sign language and written language. From the point of view of linguistic evolution, spoken is prior to written language. The writing system of any language is developed or "invented" by its users to record speech when the need arises. Even today, there are many world languages that can be spoken but have no standard written form. Hearing persons acquire their first language by way of spoken language. Writing is learned later. In linguistics, spoken language reveals many true features of human speech. Transcripts of actual speech show numerous hesitancies which are usually glossed over in written forms of 'speech' such as screenplays. Thus linguists' data for investigation and analysis are mostly drawn from everyday speech, which they regard as authentic. Even from the point of view of syntax, spoken language usually has its own set of grammar patterns which sometimes may be quite different from that in written language. Sign languages have the same natural origin as spoken languages, and the same grammatical complexities, but use the hands, arms, and face rather than parts of the mouth as their place of articulation. Linguistics is the science and philosophy of language. It approaches language through meaning, discourse, semiotics (or social signification), as well as through existing narrative and grammatical structures. The recent study of semiotics and discourse have introduced linguistics to the more metaphysical and sociological perspectives available today, making it open to a wide range of inter-disciplinary subjects and approaches within the realm of the human sciences. Someone who engages with language is often called a linguist. The potential of linguistics lies in its possibilities for comparing cultural usages in order to explore lingual trends and social constructs. It explores histories to arrive at universals, and it examines the aesthetics of various styles in these literary and cultural discourses. It also attempts to account for the development of specific words and utterances through the way they have been used. Linguistic inquiry may be pursued through a variety of intellectual disciplines. Although mainstream trends have attempted to make the field an exclusive one[1], linguistic study like all other human sciences, draws its resources from a number of inter-dependent subjects such as sociology, literature, history, art, philosophy, anthropology and aesthetics. Narrative studies works on the theory of the narrative, or narratology. The study of narratives might help us to understand how the narratives and structures, that texts are based on, shape our social visions and perspectives. Narrative studies also throw light on what influences the arrangement of words-in-a-sequence, and how a narrative might be sociologically symbolic. Discourse, or parole (in French, meaning ‘the spoken word’), provides an understanding of language on the basis of how it has actually been used – socially, culturally, in literary texts, in the media, and through the paradigms of power, gender, politics, race, sexuality and aesthetic tastes. Semiotics is the study of the relationship between signs and what they signify: the abstract ideas, feelings, desires and needs that are manifested through the conscious and sub-conscious expression, choice of words and styles, represented in not just written, signed or verbal texts, but in media, art, fashion and history. The study of these signs might lead us to understand what lies behind them, and what they represent. From the perspective of semiotics, one could think that language is the sign or symbol and the world its representation. Semantics is the study of meaning. In linguistics, it attempts to understand the meaning behind texts, utterances, usages and words either through a structuralist perspective or a post-structuralist one.

The linguistic analysis of structure is usually done through grammatical description and deconstruction, involving areas like morphology (formation and alteration of words), syntax (formation and alteration that help words to combine into phrases and sentences), phonology (the study of sound systems and abstract sound units), phonetics (which is concerned with the actual properties of speech sounds called phones), non-speech sounds, and the study of how these elements are produced and perceived. Applied linguistics attempts to put linguistic theories into practice through areas like translation, stylistics, literary criticism and theory, discourse analysis, speech therapy, speech pathology and foreign language teaching. The shape (OE. sceap Eng. created thing) of an object located in some space refers to the part of space occupied by the object as determined by its external boundary — abstracting from other aspects the object may have such as its colour, content, or the substance of which it is composed, as well as from the object's position and orientation in space, and its size. Simple two-dimensional shapes can be described by basic geometry such as points, line, curves, plane, and so on. Shapes that occur in the physical world are often quite complex; they may be arbitrarily curved as studied by differential geometry, or fractal, as for plants or coastlines). In linguistics, syntax (from Ancient Greek συν- syn-, "together", and τάξις táxis, "arrangement") is the study of the principles and rules for constructing sentences in natural languages. In addition to referring to the discipline, the term syntax is also used to refer directly to the rules and principles that govern the sentence structure of any individual language, as in "the syntax of Modern Irish". Modern research in syntax attempts to describe languages in terms of such rules. Many professionals in this discipline attempt to find general rules that apply to all natural languages. The term syntax is also sometimes used to refer to the rules governing the behavior of mathematical systems, such as logic, artificial formal languages, and computer programming languages. Phonetics (from the Greek φωνή (phonê) "sound" or "voice") is the study of the physical sounds of human speech. It is concerned with the physical properties of speech sounds (phones), and the processes of their physiological production, auditory reception, and neurophysiological perception. Phonetics was studied as early as 2,500 years ago in ancient India, with Pāṇini's account of the place and manner of articulation of consonants in his 5th century BC treatise on Sanskrit. The major Indic alphabets today order their consonants according to Pāṇini's classification. Phonology (Greek φωνή (phōnē), voice, sound + λόγος (lógos), word, speech, subject of discussion), is a subfield of linguistics which studies the sound system of a specific language or set of languages. Whereas phonetics is about the physical production and perception of the sounds of speech, phonology describes the way sounds function within a given language or across languages. An important part of phonology is studying which sounds are distinctive units within a language. In English, for example, /p/ and /b/ are distinctive units of sound, (i.e., they are phonemes / the difference is phonemic, or phonematic). This can be seen from minimal pairs such as "pin" and "bin", which mean different things, but differ only in one sound. On the other hand, /p/ is often pronounced differently depending on its position relative to other sounds, yet these different pronunciations are still considered by native speakers to be the same "sound". For example, the /p/ in "pin" is aspirated while the same phoneme in "spin" is not. In some other languages, for example Thai and Quechua, this same difference of aspiration or non-aspiration does differentiate phonemes. In addition to the minimal meaningful sounds (the phonemes), phonology studies how sounds alternate, such as the /p/ in English described above, and topics such as syllable structure, stress, accent, and intonation. The principles of phonological theory have also been applied to the analysis of sign languages, even though the phonological units do not consist of sounds. The principles of phonological analysis can be applied independently of modality because they are designed to serve as general analytical tools, not language-specific ones. Semantics is the study of meaning in communication. The word derives from Greek σημαντικός (semantikos), "significant"[1], from σημαίνω (semaino), "to signify, to indicate" and that from σήμα (sema), "sign, mark, token"[2]. In linguistics it is the study of interpretation of signs as used by agents or communities within particular circumstances and contexts.[3] It has related meanings in several other fields. Semanticists differ on what constitutes meaning in an expression. For example, in the sentence, "John loves a bagel", the word bagel may refer to the object itself, which is its literal meaning or denotation, but it may also refer to many other figurative associations, such as how it meets John's hunger, etc., which may be its connotation. Traditionally, the formal semantic view restricts semantics to its literal meaning, and relegates all figurative associations to pragmatics, but this distinction is increasingly difficult to defend[4]. The degree to which a theorist subscribes to the literal-figurative distinction decreases as one moves from the formal semantic, semiotic, pragmatic, to the cognitive semantic traditions. The word semantic in its modern sense is considered to have first appeared in French as sémantique in Michel Bréal's 1897 book, Essai de sémantique'. In International Scientific Vocabulary semantics is also called semasiology. The discipline of Semantics is distinct from Alfred Korzybsky's General Semantics, which is a system for looking at non-immediate, or abstract meanings.

Pragmatics is the study of the ability of natural language speakers to communicate more than that which is explicitly stated. The ability to understand another speaker's intended meaning is called pragmatic competence. An utterance describing pragmatic function is described as metapragmatic. Another perspective is that pragmatics deals with the ways we reach our goal in communication. Suppose, a person wanted to ask someone else to stop smoking. This can be achieved by using several utterances. The person could simply say, 'Stop smoking, please!' which is direct and with clear semantic meaning; alternatively, the person could say, 'Whew, this room could use an air purifier' which implies a similar meaning but is indirect and therefore requires pragmatic inference to derive the intended meaning. Pragmatics is regarded as one of the most challenging aspects for language learners to grasp, and can only truly be learned with experience. Main Entry:

gram·mat·i·cal Listen to the pronunciation of grammatical
of or relating to grammar 2 : conforming to the rules of grammar <a grammatical sentence> gram·mat·i·cal·i·ty Listen to the pronunciation of grammaticality \-ˌma-tə-ˈka-lə-tē\ noun gram·mat·i·cal·ly Listen to the pronunciation of grammatically \-ˈma-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb gram·mat·i·cal·ness Listen to the pronunciation of grammaticalness \-kəl-nəs\ noun.

Main Entry:

de·scrip·tive Listen to the pronunciation of descriptive
serving to describe <a descriptive account> referring to, constituting, or grounded in matters of observation or experience <the descriptive basis of science> factually grounded or informative rather than normative, prescriptive, or emotive <descriptive cultural studies> of a modifier expressing the quality, kind, or condition of what is denoted by the modified term <hot in hot water is a descriptive adjective> nonrestrictive4: of, relating to, or dealing with the structure of a language at a particular time usually with exclusion of historical and comparative data <descriptive linguistics>
de·scrip·tive·ly adverb
de·scrip·tive·ness noun. A framework is a basic conceptual structure used to solve or address complex issues. This very broad definition has allowed the term to be used as a buzzword, especially in a software context.

In theoretical linguistics, generative grammar refers to a particular approach to the study of syntax. A generative grammar of a language attempts to give a set of rules that will correctly predict which combinations of words will form grammatical sentences. In most approaches to generative grammar, the rules will also predict the morphology of a sentence. Generative grammar originates in the work of Noam Chomsky, beginning in the late 1950s. (Early versions of Chomsky's theory were called Transformational Grammar.) There are a number of competing versions of generative grammar currently practiced within linguistics. Chomsky's current theory is known as the Minimalist Program. Other prominent theories include or have included Head-driven phrase structure grammar, Lexical functional grammar, Categorial grammar, Relational grammar, and Tree-adjoining grammar. Noam Chomsky has argued that many of the properties of a generative grammar arise from an "innate" Universal grammar, which is common to all languages. Proponents of generative grammar have argued that most grammar is not the result of communicative function and is not simply learned from the environment. In this respect, generative grammar takes a point of view different from functional and behaviourist theories. Most versions of generative grammar characterize sentences as either grammatically correct (also known as well formed) or not. The rules of a generative grammar typically function as an algorithm to predict grammaticality as a discrete (yes-or-no) result. In this respect, it differs from stochastic grammar which considers grammaticality as a probabilistic variable. However, some work in generative grammar (e.g. recent work by Joan Bresnan) uses stochastic versions of Optimality theory. In linguistics, a transformational grammar, or transformational-generative grammar (TGG), is a generative grammar, especially of a natural language, that has been developed in a Chomskyan tradition. Additionally, transformational grammar is the Chomskyan tradition that gives rise to specific transformational grammars. Much current research in transformational grammar is inspired by Chomsky's Minimalist Program.[1]

Noam ChomskyThe Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, 2001
1928–, educator and linguist, b. Philadelphia. Chomsky, who has taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 1955, developed a theory of transformational (sometimes called generative or transformational-generative) grammar that revolutionized the scientific study of language. He first set out his abstract analysis of language in his doctoral dissertation (1955) and Syntactic Structures (1957). Instead of starting with minimal sounds, as the structural linguists had done, Chomsky began with the rudimentary or primitive sentence; from this base he developed his argument that innumerable syntactic combinations can be generated by means of a complex series of rules. According to transformational grammar, every intelligible sentence conforms not only to grammatical rules peculiar to its particular language, but also to “deep structures,” a universal grammar underlying all languages and corresponding to an innate capacity of the human brain. Chomsky and other linguists who built on his work formulated transformational rules, which transform a sentence with a given grammatical structure (e.g., “John saw Mary”) into a sentence with a different grammatical structure but the same essential meaning (“Mary was seen by John”). Transformational linguistics has been influential in psycholinguistics, particularly in the study of language acquisition by children. In the 1990s Chomsky formulated a “Minimalist Program” in an attempt to simplify the symbolic representations of the language facility. Chomsky is a prolific author whose principal linguistic works after Syntactic Structures include Current Issues in Linguistic Theory (1964), The Sound Pattern of English (with Morris Halle, 1968), Language and Mind (1972), Studies on Semantics in Generative Grammar (1972), and Knowledge of Language (1986). In addition, he has wide-ranging political interests. He was an early and outspoken critic of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War and has written extensively on many political issues from a generally left-wing point of view. Among his political writings are American Power and the New Mandarins (1969), Peace in the Middle East? (1974), Some Concepts and Consequences of the Theory of Government and Binding (1982) [this is actually a book on linguistics, not politics --www.chomsky.info], Manufacturing Consent (with E. S. Herman, 1988), Profit over People (1998), and Rogue States (2000).



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