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New aspects of language using a language is so much a part of our everyday lives that we do not realize just how complex an activity it is Dick says the science responsible for investigating this activity we take so much for granted. During this series some of the tools and methods used by linguists to study the complexities of language will be demonstrated in a series is prepared and never rated by Dr. Frankel associate professor of English and Linguistics at George Peabody college for teachers. Today the question What does modern linguistics do will be discussed. The panelists professors and students in the field of linguistics are Dr. Dr. William Griffin. Dr. GERD Franco and Bill Patton the moderator is Robert Silva. Dr. Ingle what is linguistics is too broad a question I realize to cover in 30 minutes much less five minutes but what is graphics basically.
But it really is a scientific analysis of language. And but it's a question I got off of everybody when they hear I am a language they ask what is that how many languages do you speak so hard to explain but it has no relation with the number of languages one speaks. But the fact that one takes one language with maybe one fellow native language and I'll add it in all its aspects to get a clear picture. Of what the language is it's of course a phenomenon of human behavior. We think and then to verbalize our thoughts in order to communicate them how the process operates is one of the most complicated items that I am alive and we need the help of psychology. Then we see for example how Group B why do certain people speak different language. Why do we have a dialect. And then we go into another hyphenated linguistics group we're going to find that it's social linguistic.
So you think it has no relation between speaking many languages but knowing about one specific language and from they have an abstract in what language in the abstract. Now we all know that we have to pronounce that we will have now only two language that go under the heading of an olive tree. Then we know of course that these nouns have to be mean and that goes in morphology and syntax. Now some people think that each sound. Has a meaning. It doesn't if I call. It has no linguistic meaning he conveys of course an information that I have a car with all what I have or that I am a bass or whatever but they don't want it to relinquish the meaning for the time I don't have to convey meaning. Now I know how to do that. How does he do that is of course very difficult. It doesn't work in language. That's
what the linguists try to figure out and there is no general agreement on it. For example if I say radio I have an off radio in it that has no meaning because if I fed it to her. It means nothing. I did a combination of sound they bring out a meaning for words. Now the interplay of sound to bring out the meaning. That's what we have. That's what makes one song so different from another. As a communications expert you've been coming and that's why Linguistics is a social science and not in the humanities. Dr. Frankel what does a linguist do various things. First of all it's a pet you're playing with a thing you have you and your son is going to find it it's a plant. Second he may do field work you may go out and collect written
language this trait from informants who speak it. You may analyze it in the field or in the fire of study later. Ron may be interested in the theory of language and look for language universals for some language online just because they are part of human behavior. This is really the most interesting part I would say and the reason development of linguistic research. You know businesses are more about that later. It may also be interested in the practical aspect of linguistics with tracking heaters and tracking and ways of teaching the language. I know the mother tongue and or foreign languages aura for instance. Teaching them English was bigger than other languages so it goes all the way from the most esoteric theoretical aspect of things you vs to the practical aspect in the individual classroom. Dr. Goodman you're a professor of English how does linguistics assist
you or just what do you have to do with linguistics and your work. Well I'll go if they're interested in the American system and their access to contemporary English. In the historical aspects of the English language always are part of the language stick study aspects of linguistic studies. And it seems to me that one of the most important. Points that the linguistic experts have made that. Are transferable to my particular interest. Is their insistence that their observation. That every language is a system complicated perhaps system system is so odd to me.
Well the doctor was saying that whom language is made up of morphology and or. Syntax. The system for the IJA is a subsystem within the larger system folder. Let's put all the systems together in their interlocking relationships and you see something of this kind of picture of language you're speaking of. I was going said I answer your question briefly. Most important contribution that linguistic study as the Study of Language is. Thanks to my work is. Constantly reminding me that I should be concerned with identifying the systemic characteristics of the language teaching and I was very interested in what you said about not going ask thank you was me talking about being with things nowadays we speak about contemporary languages spoken languages
working with informants. And you mention history in connection with things. How did that time. I don't quite know what you're thinking about to crack your code to an historical you're familiar with the fact that. One stages in the development of modern linguistics was 19th century concerned with the reconstruction of past the stage of language. I might observe that of course the systematic. Characteristics of languages were. Observation historical linguistic. Scholars in the 19th century just as. I know the same thing with the 1920. There are
many different ways of approaching linguistics. I was doctoring pointing out different facets or chronologically or comparative studies. Mr Payne. You are or what might be called a practical linguist when you're working in secondary school. What do you do with linguistics. It's important for children to learn to speak their own language their language generally says that the students understand the sentence structures for example and the syntax perhaps before they start to school. They probably did learn they probably use some rather complicated sentence forms. But we would like to help students to recognise the features of their own language in order to help them use it with greater facility. We'd like for them to be able to purposely create certain kinds of sentences if they so desire. It is said by most linguists a native speaker can
generate a sense or create a sense which has never been noted before. He has some intuitive. Type of instinct which helps him to put the words in the right order the sounds in the right order that will make an understandable sentence. But we like children especially children who are. Going to be living in the modern world and to be able to communicate with each other. In their own tongue. And it's quite important I think that they recognise some of the characteristics of languages in general and some of the characteristics of their own language. How do you know about this. Well we might work inductively in the classroom to find out how much children do know for example you might get a class by saying what is language. Children will usually come up with an answer that language is. Something we used to communicate. Which is not particularly a good definition. I mean the.
French did well. For them this might be satisfactory at the moment. A linguist of course has his own. I think we find it generally the language and arbitrary system of arbitrary symbols used by human beings to communicate. It was a speech simple yes but you cannot just write in or out right which is proverb but turn it out carefully which used to be and oh yes this was acquired that question one big question that morning with regard to the choir is it Bill then so it's not instinctive. The question interesting things going on in my psycholinguistics research about this point is the choir know that innate and what do the latest indications show radical indications claim that it's a built in program which has to be activated and I call it trying to
prove or disprove it rather than arguing about it just in the void. If I'm going to. How much money do you know that you know I have to know I'm in on it and what you're doing are you thinking about explaining all of what I mean listen to them when you do. Oh oh no we begin very simply like this and operate from this point. It doesn't take them very long to come up with the idea for example that the words stand for fame. Now they might not use the words symbolic somethin's many words stand for something that gives you the idea that they recognize the symbolic nature of life. They're not interchangeable with things. That's right yes. Country in a way that you know it's much more difficult for the younger children to come up with the idea that language is systematic that there is a system and bowed it up. They used a system that they aren't conscious of what the system is. And
this is where they teach you can make several suggestions. We can illustrate that sentences occur in patterns for example. We can illustrate that we can use certain very mechanical means to change certain patterns into certain other patterns things that they've been doing all the time. Children like this it's logical to them perhaps because they think it is easy and they think this is more logical than diagramming sentences for example one of the diagramming involved in this if you're teaching the grammar though it's not the same kind of diagram I had when I was going to school. What kind of background it's a vertical diagram which is called a tree. And which tends to show the rules through which you arrived at the creation of the sun.
So this comes out in the water. These children eventually able to work from either and they're able to take a sentence and break it down or they're able to take that trillion and restructure sentence from it. And interestingly they can learn to do those rather easily even the way Christine actually you work with people whose language is not the language they are learning on a German class. Do you find the approach different. I don't quite know which approach are you referring to the linguistic of what you're going with stick approach when you're when you're speaking with native speakers of a language or when you're teaching a language which is not native. Well of course there's the basic difference that no matter how much English English speaking children or they already possess their concept of the English language my students do not have any concept of the foreign language when I first walk into the classroom. Yes in a way I think they are right. I think Dr. Frankel
refers to what is termed lucky every first of the fact that they are unspoiled. They are not prejudiced with their preconceived linguistic concept of their own language and when they start learning a foreign language it is my duty to teach them produce in the foreign language to be communicative in their foreign language and be able to translate it. Now alongside this they have their own language system they have in there as in this case with American students. It is their English language and then of course we will have it it's unavoidable to have a parallel development they will say I will say the sentence in English so and so and the words fall into this and that pattern. Now why doesn't it do that way in German and or there are for example in an English sentence less words than there will be in the subsequent German translation or vice versa. And for those things there are grammatical explanations
or just simply linguistic explanations to come back what was mentioned awhile ago that not each. Not to mention that in the beginning. Words or sounds are not equivalent are not the same in all language systems and that when this is made clear to the students I think then they are able to attack a new language a little more generously and they will say all right I'll accept the fact that this is one system the English language and this is a new system and they need not conform and then they stop asking why is not correct. Yes you got my kind of beyond that anyway and I thought that's not a valid thing with a question that we don't know why things happen the way they have. You can explain what is present but you cannot say why they have this way or why they were not out of question in America. I'm whiny sometimes it's ridiculous to have the students to say well why in German does isn't it. Like I have known it all my
life. Why why doesn't this brings in terms of humor for example you know you my English humor is different in German You're more idiomatic expressions at home where it becomes and cunning and where it becomes quite apparent for example it's raining cats and dogs if you translate it that literally it then literally would be raining cats and dogs and. To find a different translation for the same expression for the English expression in the German language. These are the things that we must be concerned with. And it's not a laughable matter as some students unfortunately think sometimes and then you lose the interest and the minute it becomes a sort of a funny enterprise. Then students think of well what is this all about and then they interest. Well one Arab said they were lucky. I think he meant they were studying about language. You're lucky to have
misconceptions that have been culturally inherited to contend with. And of course my students and English do and. These misconceptions culturally and hair cut are not we're not looking very hard indeed. Thanks so much as laying out the way what you want kinds of misconceptions. Just a couple of things. Day misconceptions for example such as are perpetuated in. A nice Werner were prepared to engage in any school book such as a proper English sentence never ends a proposition or put somebody at one book for the opposition with a bad word and sentence with. No. Thanks.
The notion that grammar or particular language. Must be our must follow opery or notions comes to some misconceptions with these are only few instances of great body. Notions. I want to ask are one of my students rather his freshman class to briefly ideas the notions that they remembered most clearly from their high school teaching of English. They pretty well all agree. Doesn't idea and 11 of them were false. That's a pretty high percentage Dr. Frankel you mention there. Why is not a valid linguistic question.
Why is this a case where here is a valid question I know that because the origins of all linguistic structures go back so far that we have no way of telling how they came about. Certainly this goes for the origin of language but it also goes for the origin of language changes you can say practically nothing about why languages change in a certain direction. You know they do change and think it will change all the time. Some people call it change some call it drift or various names for it but there is no way of predicting in this direction they were or why they would be able to predict if you know neither. We don't have any language just suddenly became organized much more complex than they used to be. This is the only thing we can say that for this reason we keep away from saying why did it happen the president just writing as if they're. Trying to keep away both from answering the question why and being prescriptive of how it ought to be. Well I would say that what you're saying is applicable
if you're explaining. The language as it is not if you're dealing with the history of land because if you're concerned with the history of language at least there are things to which you can give historical answers. But perhaps my No the point here can be better expressed by saying. In fact when you can give a sensible answer to that question why it is an historical or sociological answer not in English and that's not the person who asks the question him looking for us right now. Yeah yeah he's looking for historical or sociological answers to the question for example of why we have only one person personal pronoun you and not two. Then he can find it but it's not that kind of answer
he wants a logical explanation. Yes and of course not not because that's one of the big issues anything. Talk about language often illogical just like everything we say has to be logical. But language as such they don't behave logically very radically and we can't describe them. You can not tell them to please be more logical. How can we help to describe them logically if they don't act logically. Well of the kind of mental language we use and the way in which we talk about language has to follow certain thought processes but that doesn't mean that the language has to have only three persons because logically there can be only I myself or you present a person where the moment is not present there may be other ideas which you may include in what one may usually call a person. So if you are logically to have four or five persons. But when I talk about when I explain it when I use my very existence and of my language to
explain another language internally to be logical and this is the basis for all the various reasons mental training language going more and more complete logical way of describing what is inherently not necessary. Dr. Ingle. We've been talking around this question I think a great deal but. How can the linguist contribute to the understanding of meaning. How can he be assisting. In making communication more direct. One thing I mean with having been very very good. And I mean I think from prejudice I had a very nice conversation with somebody the other day who told me he as a child you are alone in foreign language and he just didn't feel like you do you want to play ball and so he thought well but people like you get on with my head. Would anything and they have no good literature. Anyway the wife showed up.
And it was an easy way out on the lodge if somehow a national problem. Now they knew the language shows that meaning in the universe. Human concept that is we will all within certain limits. I realize that there is a phantom that is the moon. We have another way to fight for them. They talk and I am well but have also one of me falling for you they go with a pull I have a net of the moon and the cool climate have. Also of a pleasant little thing about the warmth of the sun but it is basically the same meaning. Now we can show this and then this comes in of course also when we try to teach English to VN and we invite your progeny have been done very much now in now I think it will be Deanna. Yes I think that I am with you on it and then you apology to
tell them you are beating your language as if putting the prophet to communicate. But for you who Moshe put it and you are a precious life. You ought to learn a second language English not you do not have to forget about your primary language. You can but you know that in your family. But when you deal with bitterness associated with government who have another family language you use english so of the foot. Get a country to overcome one thing you can forget of children. And the border we can immigrants what. They felt. Hell I mean to English with an imposition because they were told Forget about what after all and if so how would this feeling about my mother. You think I can keep that in addition to it learn and rabbit bang but I will not go again. And this
has really been doing this. I have brought it out and I think if I try to think in addition to not speaking I don't say and speak English. If I now think they not know the value judgement that might as well be a value judgement. You know that's one of the great simply ironical progression when you ask about. Teaching relating to meaning I think what she said is. A linguistic study in the period. That there are many kinds of meaning and indeed this is an important observation. If a scientific study of language makes us more aware range careens of
meaning we have reference to that big umbrella word. It's a good job but I'd like to suggest to get reactions from Doc who are experts in this group. And I'm glad they called back. Yeah in fact. It's in the area of understanding. Semantics in the proper sense of the word that linguistics linguistic studies have been the least successful least useful up to this point that this is an area for future exploration that many problems but up to this point this
week this review not going to do that in a minute in fact these after these things if you do that in two main areas one as meaning it comes from accepting of the other one is trash and semantics and meaning is culture and setting is another thing I mainly spoke about namely the understanding of certain werent in particular come to think known only to people who live in amazement. I think concept. There's actually a man in Texas trying to make the manic level of linguistic analysis and make their legitimate effect with him. The number of states which form the big system is because language and this is being done by means of. You may call it if you feature an ad as it is you take a certain object and you break it down into whatever its main features are which is a process which you know thought has been done for a long time. Cosmos has been broken down into animate and inanimate new human and non-human and so on all the way down and now the attempt is to do it in a way which is commensurate with
what is being done on the other levels of linguistic analysis and thereby create treat them the way in which Bill described them for his children which can include all the levels from the highest abstraction of meaning right down to the phonetic representation of the sentence which we are talking about is an extremely complex way of doing it in fact without a computer and I don't think it will be able to do that fully in the near future. I trust in our western world to have a kind of white and those who wish to become communications experts will listen to the remainder of these programs. Thank you. This has been the first program in the series new aspects of language. A panel consisting of Dr. Valborg angle and Dr. William Griffin Dr. Gupta Franco question and Bill Patton has discussed the question What does modern linguistics do. The moderator was Robert selfie new aspects of
language is prepared and narrated by Dr. Goode Franco associate professor of English and Linguistics at George Peabody college for teachers and is produced in the studios of WP Allen. This program was distributed by the national educational radio network.
New aspects of language
what Does Modern Linguistics Do?
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Nashville Public Radio
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Discussion series about linguistics, featuring students and faculty from Nashville University Center, led by Dr. Gerd Fraenkel of the George Peabody College for Teachers. Produced by WPLN, Nashville Public Library. This prog.: Modern Linguistics
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Producing Organization: WPLN
Producing Organization: Nashville Public Radio
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Chicago: “New aspects of language; what Does Modern Linguistics Do?,” 1968-09-29, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 13, 2024,
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APA: New aspects of language; what Does Modern Linguistics Do?. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from