Introduction English Linguistics ini hanya sebuah rangkuman dari apa yang diajarkan dan dipelajari dalam mata kuliah Introduction to Linguistics. Rangkuman ini diambil dari bukunya Prof. Meyer yang pernah menulis English Corpus Linguistics: An Introduction dan diterbitkan oleh Cambridge.
Pembahasan Linguistics, dalam hal ini Linguistik bahasa Inggris, memang sangatlah luas sehingga dibutuhkan rangkuman atas setiap pembahasannya. Meski terkadang rangkuman tidak menjamin bisa memudahkan pemahaman tentang Linguistics, setidaknya rangkuman ini bisa mewakili "Apa saja sih yang harus dipelajari dalam Linguistics?" Oleh karena itu, mari kita bersama-sama membaca rangkuman atau ringkasannya di bawah ini :
THE STUDY OF LANGUAGE
While linguists may share a number of assumptions about language, they approach the study of language from different theoretical perspectives. Because linguists influenced by Noam Chomsky’s views on language believe that language is primarily a product of the mind, they are more concerned with studying linguistic competence: the unconscious knowledge of rules that every human possesses. Other linguists take a more expansive view of language, believing that it is just as valuable to study language in social contexts and to consider the structure of texts as well as the structure of sentences occurring in texts. p.17
THE DEVELOPMENT OF ENGLISH
In studying languages such as English and Mandarin, linguists have developed two different ways of classifying languages and studying their linguistic development over time. The traditional method, the genetic system of classification, involves grouping languages into language families and constructing family trees. English, for instance, is a member of the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family. As a Germanic language, English originated around AD 400 and went through five successive stages, beginning with Old English and culminating in Contemporary English, the language of the moment. Linguists are also interested in studying not just how languages change but why they change. While linguists disagree about whether language change has an evolutionary basis, there is wider agreement on other motivations for language change. p.44
THE SOCIAL CONTEXT OF ENGLISH
Communication is not simply the product of decoding the words in a sentence or utterance and then determining their meaning. Any parent knows that when a child utters Dad, I’m still hungry after finishing a snack, the child is not simply making a declarative statement: he is requesting more food. The parent reaches this conclusion on the basis of information derived from the social context itself, not simply the individual words of the utterance. And to correctly interpret the meaning of this utterance, the parent has to understand the illocutionary force of the child’s utterance: the child’s intentions in uttering the sentence. In determining that the child is issuing a directive, the parent draws upon a number of contextual clues, particularly the fact that he has heard this very same utterance on many occasions after his son has completed eating a snack. p.76
THE STRUCTURE OF ENGLISH TEXTS
Although definitions of a text will vary, most linguists would agree that for a text to achieve coherence, it must exhibit unity of structure and unity of texture: it must have a clearly identifiable beginning, middle, and end, and the clauses within it must be linked together by various cohesive devices. While it is possible, as the next chapter will demonstrate, to offer a precise definition of a sentence, how texts attain structural and textural unity is subject to considerably more variation. In both open and closed registers, speakers and writers will ensure that the texts they create have textural unity by appropriately placing new and given information; using various constructions to add emphasis where necessary; and drawing upon cohesive devices to help tie sentences, clauses, and utterances together. p.108
Syntax involves the study of how constituents are grouped and ordered. Constituents can be identified through a series of tests. In the sentence The woman wrote lots of letters, The woman is a constituent because it can be pronominalized (She wrote lots of letters) and moved when the sentence is converted into the passive voice (Lots of letters were written by the woman). Constituents can be defined either notionally or formally. Constituents can also be described in terms of their linear and hierarchical structure, and the particular form and function that they have in a clause.
Although syntax is a discrete and separate level of linguistic structure, the discussion of adverbials at the end of the previous section indicates that it is often hard to discuss a specific syntactic category without making reference to the particular meaning that the category exhibits. The study of meaning is known as semantics, a topic that will be considered in detail in the next chapter. p.146
ENGLISH WORDS: STRUCTURE AND MEANING
Words in English have a particular structure: all have a base to which various kinds of prefixes and suffixes can be attached. English has many derivational prefixes and suffixes. These affixes can change the meaning of a word (e.g. happy/unhappy) or its part of speech (e.g. happy [adjective]/happiness [noun]). English also has a small number of inflections:-ed to mark the past tense on regular verbs, for instance, or -est to create the superlative form of an adjective. Unlike derivational affixes, inflections do not change the meaning or part of speech of a word, but instead mark various grammatical relations.
There are various ways to study the meaning of words. Both lexicographers and semanticists have done extensive work in the area of lexical semantics. Lexicographers have developed a methodology for determining the meaning of words for purposes of creating dictionaries. Semanticists have developed various theories designed to study the meaning of words. p.192
THE SOUNDS OF ENGLISH
The study of sound can be focused on either individual segments (phonemes) or suprasegmentals (features such as stress or pitch covering segments larger than phonemes). Like all languages, English has a distinctive set of speech segments called phonemes: consonants and vowels that make up the inventory of sounds in English. It is possible to determine which sounds in English are distinctive by examining minimal pairs: words that differ by a single phoneme. All English phonemes can be described in terms of their place of articulation – where the tongue and lips are positioned when a sound is articulated – and manner of articulation: where the air flows in the oral or nasal cavities and the degree to which the airstream is obstructed or allowed to flow freely. Phonemes can also be voiced or unvoiced, depending upon whether the vocal cords vibrate or not.
The study of sound, however, is also suprasegmental: it extends beyond single phonemes to syllables, words, phrases, and clauses. All words in English contain one or more syllables, and one of these syllables will carry the primary stress. Intonation also serves to segment speech into grammatical structures, though the correspondence between grammar and intonation is closer in more carefully prepared speech than in spontaneous dialogues. p.216
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Meyer, F. Charles. 2009. Introduction English Linguistics. New York: Cambridge University Press.