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Linguistics is the Science of Language

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  Linguistics Linguistics is the science of language. It is the subject whose practitioners devote their energy to understanding why human language is the way it is. They study the history, acquisition, structure, and use of as many language as possible. What do linguists study?   The work of linguists falls into two main areas: language structure and language use . Linguists interested in language structure consider the formal properties of language, including word structure (morphology), sentence structure (syntax), speech sounds and the rules and patterns between them   (phonetics and phonology), and meaning in language (semanticsand pragmatics).   Linguists also study the way that language is used, and this can cover a very broad range of subjects, since language enters almost every area of human activity. Examples include: psycholinguistics (the psychology of language   acquisition and use); historical linguistics and the history of languages; applied linguistics (using linguistic   knowledge to help in real-world situations like language teaching); sociolinguistics, varieties of English, discourse   analysis and conversation analysis (language use in social contexts); and stylistics (the use of di ff  erent styles in   language). Branches of Linguistics a.   Conversation Analysis  b.   Discourse Analysis c.   History of Linguistics d.   Language Acquisition e.   Morphology f.   Phonetics g.   Phonology h.   Pragmatics i.   Psycholinguistics  j.   Semantics k.   Sociolinguistics l.   Syntax m.   Varieties of English   Conversation Analysis Language is a wonderful thing. It is essentially what separates human beings from the world's plethora of cohabiting species. We, as humans, have the ability to communicate with one another using any of the world's languages; assuming that your communicator is a speaker of the same language. Conversation then is massively important to us as human beings. We can convey our thoughts and desires to others, influence and entertain through speech. Without it, we certainly wouldn't be the evolved species we are today, and you probably wouldn't be reading this right now! As linguistics has evolved and become an entirely independent social science, so too has our interest into  just how humans interact and what the implications of the types of conversation we use are. Conversation Analysis arose as a discipline that helps us to delve deeper into the intricacies of conversation. A lot of it might seem common sense but remember this; you're aware of what conversation implies but could you explicitly state why certain things are funny, rude or sarcastic? Conversation Analysis aims to explain these ideas through the analysis of real life conversations.    In this section we will aim to explain Conversation Analysis in relation to...      How it is studied - how does one go about analysing a conversation? What techniques are used?    What actually is Conversation Analysis - don't have a clue what it is? Start here.    When is Conversation Analysis studied - our interactive timeline will be able to summarise key dates in the history of the discipline.    Where is Conversation Analysis studied - every idea has an srcin. Find out where Conversation Analysis was born.    Who are the key researchers/figures in the discipline - find out who made the biggest contributions.    Why it is studied - what's the point? What can we learn? Conversation Analysis then is basically what linguists use to look at conversations and analyze what was said, why it was said and how it was said. You might think that this a pointless endeavor, but have you ever stopped to think about just how complex speech becomes when you factor in social contexts and  just generally the pragmatics in situations? Conversation Analysis then becomes a discipline that aims to explain the many intricacies and tacit knowledge (meaning everyone unde rstands what occurs during conversation, but couldn‟t implicitly state why) of social interaction. References   [1]  Jefferson. G. (ed) (1992).  Harvey Sacks: Sacks Lectures on Conversation.  Oxford: Blackwell How is Conversation Analysis studied? 1) Simple transcription  - by this we mean all we're going to transcribe is the basic pattern of speech, focusing on little more than what was said and when. This approach might be useful if you've got a lot of data to transcribe and your focus doesn't really necessitate going any further in terms of IPA transcriptions or paralinguistic features. Simple Transcription 1 F: so how was your day? 2 M: yeah it‟s been alright, had a couple of lectures, they were a bit boring (.) I  did a bit of work inbetween but ive still got loads to do (1.0) like im gonna have to spend all weekend doing my essay and my report 6 F: really? i dont have much at all 7 M: (1.0) Yeah well (.) I hate you 8 F: uhuhhuhuh 9 M: huhh 10 F: thanks erm (.) so what we gonna do tonight? 11 M: (1.0) I dunno, I need to do my work and I might go see a film 13 F: (1.0) ohhh okay Hopefully there shouldn't be anything too difficult to grasp about this transcription. Brackets denote  pauses, numbers within a bracket denoting how long the pauses was in seconds, with full stops within a  bracket generally meaning the pause was less than a second in length but still significant enough to  warrant noting. The numbers down the side simply add line numbers for referencing! Importantly though, we can still see conversational features such as turn-taking, and points where laughing occurs . These might be important features to help analyze a conversation. 2) Phonetic Transcription  - the transcription below is a phonetic transcription of the conversation using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). This sort of transcription might be helpful if one wanted to look at how accentual or phonetic features might affect conversation. For example, if you look at line 12 and see [f  ɪ l ə m], this is a Newcastle variant on the pronunciation of the word 'film' - pronounced with an extra syllable in the coda of the word. Transcribing a conversation in this way then can help linguists research different varieties of a language and how they might affect conversation. Phonetic Transcription 1 F: s ə  ha ʊ w w ʊ z y ə  de ɪ  2 M: ye ə   ɪtz biːn   ʊə lra ɪʔ  hæd ə  k  ʊ  p ə l lekt  ʃə s θə  w ə   ə  b ɪʔ  b ʊəriŋ (.) ɪ  d ɪ d ə  b ɪʔ   ə v w ɜːk    ɪ nb ətwiːn but æv st ɪ l g  ɒ t l əʊ ds t ə   duː (1.0) laɪ k æm g ʊ nn ə  æv t ə  spend ʊəl wiːkend duːɪ n mæ ese ɪ  ænd r  ə  p ʊəʔ  6 F: r  ɪəliː aɪ  d əʊ nt hæv m ʊ t  ʃ   æt æl 7 M: (1.0) ye ə  wel (.) ə  he ɪt yuː  8 F: uhuhhuhuh 9 M: huhh 10 F: ðænks ɜːm (.) səʊ  w  ɒ t w ə  g ʊna duː tə na ɪʔ  11 M: (1.0) a ɪ  d ʊ n əʊ  a ɪ   niːd duː mæ wɜːk   ænd a ɪ  ma ɪ t g əʊ   siː  æ f  ɪ l ə m 13 F: (1.0) əʊ   əʊ ke ɪ   Going Further... There are many ways to analyze conversation using all sorts of confusing looking symbols called diacritics. These symbols can denote features such as word stress ( ' for example denotes primary stress for a syllable in a word), speaker intonation and even things such as false starts or unintelligible utterances. These are all tools used by academics to study and analyse conversation, but for us at the moment, are probably not worth delving into at such a level. Just be aware that conversation can be analyzed in all of the ways mentioned above and however detailed one might want it to be! Who does Conversation Analysis? Conversation Analysis has been researched since the 1960s by hundreds of professors or just those interested in how speech works! However, there are three researchers that are seen as more important than the rest. Take a look below to learn about the founders of CA and how they became interested in it. Harvey Sacks  Sacks (1935-1975) is often considered to be the founder of Conversational Analysis but he wasn't a linguist! Sacks was a sociologist who studied under Erving Goffman, a prominent sociologist, at University of California, Berkeley, where he received his PhD in 1966. By this time, he had already graduated from Yale Law School, where he met and was influenced by Harold Garfinkel, a famous researcher looking into ethnomethodology (the methods people use in everyday speech.) He became Acting Professor of Sociology in UCLA in 1963 and moved to the University of California, Irvine in 1968. Garfinkel, Goffman and Sacks worked as Fellows at the Centre for the Scientific Study of Suicide in Los Angeles between 1963-4; this was when Sacks became interested in CA. Unfortunately, Sacks died in a car crash when he was 40 years old, leaving only a few published papers but a huge legacy!  Emanuel A. Schegloff   Schegloff (1937-) worked closely with Sacks to develop Conversation Analysis. Like others in this field, Schegloff didn't start his academic career as a linguist; he was a Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) where he still works today! Similarly to Sacks, he received his PhD at the University of California, Berkeley and began working with Sacks on some key studies into everyday speech. He is considered today to be the leading researcher in Conversation Analysis and regularly published  papers and texts on the subject, leading it to now be studied in countries across the world. Gail Jefferson  Jefferson (1938-2008) worked alongside Sacks on CA, focusing mainly on the methods of transcribing recordings. These methods and notations that she has developed are still used today. She attended UCLA in 1965 studying dance, but after taking a class led by Sacks, became interested in sociology and completed her PhD in Social Sciences at the University of California, Irvine in 1972. She held many temporary posts in Universities across the USA, such as the Universities of Massachussetts and Pennsylvania, but did most of her research when she wasn't working for a University and wasn't paid! She died in the Netherlands, just after her 70th birthday and her research into the transcription of recordings are considered vital to linguistics today. When is Conversation Analysis studied? Since Conversation Analysis has been practised since the 1960s, there have been many significant studies that have changed how speech is analysed. View the timeline to learn more about the developments in Conversation Analysis and how these have impacted  on the study of Linguistics. Where is Conversation Analysis studied? Conversation analysis developed in the 1960s through collaboration between linguistic pioneers Harvey Sacks,   Emanuel Schegloff, and Gail Jefferson from lectures by Sacks at UCLA, California. They began their work as they   disagreed with the Chomskian idea that actual conversational speech is too disorganized and degraded from the ideal form of language to be worth studying. CA emerged along with the cognitive approach to language across the social sciences, which placed emphasis on  participants' orientation to social and cultural constructs. This area is known as cognitive linguistics. This type of analysis involves the observance of action, mutual knowledge, and social context. CA preceded the contemporary interest in social interaction that has continued to pervade throughout numerous academic fields. CA Stems from the sociological work of Erving Goffman and Harold Garfinkel. Goffman‟s innovative technique was to focus his studies on interactions within everyday situations. Much of conversation analysis focuses on institutional interaction, how people communicate in different working environments such as lawyers in court. But other studies have included Sacks' investigation into calls to suicide hot lines [1] . In the 1970s, study of ordinary conversation as a research field was finally established. In the 1990s, work  place studies were established in technological environments. CA can really take place anywhere humans interact with each other in any way. Recently CA has been applied by researchers in fields separate from linguistics, with particular use in feminism and the development of feminist linguistics. It has also been used as a basis for further theories in this field including Membership Categorization Analysis (MCA).

Master Teacher (1)

Jul 29, 2017

Original Article

Jul 29, 2017
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