I : What is Language?
II : History of the English Language?
III : English Phonetics and Phonology-I
English Phonetics and Phonology-II
IV : English Mprphology
V : English Syntax
VI : Language in Use-I
VII : Language in Use-II
VIII : The Spread of English
IX : Stylistics
In this the first block, we
start at the beginning by describing the nature of language,
its salient characteristics and how it is different from other forms of communication.
especially animal communication (Unit 1).
In Units 2 and of this block, we historically trace the
ways linguists and grammarians have viewed the data that till': are describing.
We concentrate on the twentieth century, where we were a witness to two majors ways of viewing language - i.e. The Structuralist - Behaviourist and Generative - Mentalist.
In Unit 4, we examine the
relationship between language and thought: Arc language and thought two
independent entities'? Or Is all thought language - dependent?
The title of
the four units are as follows:
Nature of Language ?
Looking at Data - 1
at Date - 2
Language and Thought
Hope you enjoyed reading the
The Nature of
Looking at Data-1
Looking at Data-2
Language and Thought
This course is about the origin, change and
formation of the English language.
Speakers of a language have an illusion of
changelessness of language, as they have of life. But language like life, like
the human body, is changing all the time, though we may not be aware at all of
the imperceptible changes that are taking place. It is important, however, to
know of the changes because those changes, like sediments ,
constitute the substratum and, therefore a part of the total living reality of a
So we will study the story of English, its origin,
growth and maturity.
These blocks will have four units:
1. An Introduction
in Sounds and Spelling
in Grammar ,
Let me briefly tell you what will be discussed in
each of these units.
Unit 1 An
In this, we will describe different approaches to
the study of the history of a
We will then briefly consider the sources for the
study of language history and then look at the origins of English in terms of
the language to which it belongs. We will then describe what according to
scholars are the major phases in the growth of English.
In each phase, we will look at the external events that have influenced the
language and broadly refer to the changes that took place as a consequence of
Units 2 and 4
In this unit, we will say that change is a
fundamental property of language. It is noticed over a period of time; change
over space is recognised as variation and it is possible that it is variation
that leads to change. We will note that it is the language sound system that
undergoes the maximum change which is another way of saying that change occurs
basically, and first, in speech. We will note that, relatively fewer changes
take place in grammar even over long stretches of time. The Grammatical system
in other words, is the stable core of a language. English grammar has also
changed, though in a limited
way and we will sketch those changes.
In this unit, we will take up the changes that have
taken place in the English vocabulary over the last 1500 years, that is, since
this language first becomes recognisable as Anglo-Saxon. Over this period, the character of English
word-stock changed from what may be called Germanic to partly Romance. Three
kinds of things we have to consider - the increase of vocabulary through
borrowing from different sources, formation and coinage of new words and
compounds, and changes
in the meanings of words.
A lot of technical words have been used in this
block. We suggest that you re-read these units after going through the entire
course. Also, please do not be intimidated by the technical vocabulary.
Please read this entire block like a story. This block
will help you understand the making of the English language and to some extent
Changes in Sounds and Spelling
Changes in Vocabulary
Changes in Grammar
Human beings are different from other animals in that
they have developed a very complicated system to communicate with one another.
The signals used for human communication are generally of two different types, aural
and visual. Children first acquire the power of speech by responding to the
sounds made by people around t'iem and imitating them
out of their need for communication. Reading and writing are learnt much later.
Phonetics is concerned with the study of
the aural medium, i.e., the production, transmission and reception of the
sounds of human speech. Phonetic studies have gained importance because of a
large number of people learning second languages and due to the introduction of
mechanical, electronic devices and the burgeoning of Information Technology.
Phonology deals with the sound system
of a language, i.e. the way sounds are patterned in a language.
Speech Mechanism 5
and Classification of Consonants and Vowels
Transcription and ,Phonology
Consonants of English
Vowels of English (R.P.)
Accent, Stress and Rhythm in Connected Speech
You might have sometimes noticed that a word which
you take for granted and assume you know its meaning, turns out on closer
scrutiny, to be quite a complicated business. Our attempt in this block is to
help you understand something about the English word. Morphology is merely a
study of the internal structure of the word.
We will begin by discussing the basic concepts in
English morphology (Unit 1). After that we shall take up some of the processes
of word formation in English, i.e. Infectional
morphology of English relating to different parts of speech - nouns, pronouns,
adjectives and adverbs (Unit 2). We will also deal with Derivational
morphology, Conversion and Compounding (Unit 3). Finally in Unit 4, we will
look at some of the minor processes which have enriched the English word store
- these include coining and meaning change.
Before you study these units, we suggest that you look at
EEG-02, Blocks 3 and 4. These units will give you an in introduction to English
morphology and hence make your task easier.
It is advisable to take a break after each unit.
The Study of Words
Word-formation in English-l
Word-formation in English-2
Word-formation in English-3
We have already looked at the
structure of English in terms of its phonology and morphology. We
now turn to another aspect of language, i.e. Syntax. Syntax as you know, is the study of sentences and their structures.
The study of syntax acquired a special
significance from the mid-fifties with the advent of No am Chomsky. While the
structural linguists merely described the surface structure of the language,
the Generativists (following Chomsky) considered explanation as the primary
goal, and attempted to relate this to the properties of the human mind.
In this block, we briefly
describe the work of
the structuralists/descriptivists but the paradigm we have
followed is that of the generativist. The units are as follows:
Unit 1: Basic Notions of
Unit2: Types of
Clauses and Sentences
Unit 3: Grammatical Functions, Case and
Unit 4: The Syntax of Inflectional
Elements: Tense and Agreement
Unit 5: Pronouns, Reflexives, and
other Bound Elements
Unit 6: Syntax of Scope: Adverbs,
Quantifiers and Negation
Good luck with your work!
Notions of Syntactic Constituents and Phrase Structure
of Clauses and Sentences
Functions, Cases, and Thematic Roles
Syntax of Inflectional Elements: Tense &
Reflexives, and Other Bound Elements
of Scope: Adverbs, Quantifiers, and Negation
In the previous blocks we have studied language
divorced from use. But as you will agree language exists only because it is used
in society, and therefore any study of language makes sense in the context of
'language in society'.
We begin with a brief introduction to that field in
linguistics which looks at the close relationship between language and
society-Sociolinguistics (Unit 1).
Concepts such as Speech Community are studied in a
multilingual framework which will give us insights into the ways individuals
locate and identify themselves in such apparently 'complex' societies (Unit 2).
We have, therefore, tried to make you understand the
meaning and nature of bilingualism, its different dimensions and the power and
prestige equations which arise because of it (Unit 3).
In Unit 4 we discuss the concept of a standard language, the processes involved in standardization, the need
for it, and at the same time the consequences for non- standard forms.
These units will help you understand the dynamic
nature of language in use,
Introduction to Sociolinguistics
Speech Community and Multilingualism
This is the second block on Language in Use. In the
previous block our aim was to introduce you to two important areas of Language in
Use: 1) Sociolinguistics 2) Bilingualism. The latter is especially important as
it gives us an insight into the sociolinguistic reality of India.
In this block we continue our attempt to describe
the multilingual scenario in India by' a unit on code mixing in a multilingual
set up. We also have a unit on language planning. This area is important for
all societies, but more so for complex multilingual societies where, languages
of majorities and minorities have to be given satisfactory interplay. Then we
go on to another area of language use: Pragmatics. Here we have discussed one
aspect, i.e. conversational analysis. Finally, we enter the sociology of
education with two units on learner characteristics. We hope you enjoy reading
Use of Codes
Factors in Second Languages Acquisition-1
Factors ,in Second Languages Acquisition-2
In this block we describe the origin and development
of the English language in terms of the historical and sociolinguistic factors
which have contributed to i making and proliferation. This block is divided
into four units:
Unit 1: Variation and
Varieties of English
Change is often, if not always, brought about by
variation. The most important thing about language is that people talk
differently and this accounts for variation from person to person and from
place to place. Consequently we have language varieties - geographic and
social. We also have style-varieties. We will take a historical look at
different kinds of variation and different varieties of English and describe
their main features with examples.
Unit 2: Consolidation and
Standardization of English
In spite of rampant variation, people are able to
successfully communicate with each other. This is made possible by the fact
that one of the varieties or dialects acquires the status of a Standard,
a variety that
is used for wider communication and that enjoys a certain prestige as it is
used by the educated, the cultured or the otherwise important (elite?) sections
of the speech community. A numb T of factors play a role in the rise of a
standard. We will discuss the notions of consolidation 'authority' and
'standard' and describe the factors that contribute to the rise of a standard.
We will also describe how from 16th century onwards the East Midland dialect
spoken in the area that includes London and the two premier universities
(Cambridge and Oxford), the speech of the emerging merchant class, gradually
gained importance and came to be recognised as the standard variety of English.
The variety then was used in government, administration, judiciary, media,
besides becoming the medium of a significant body of literature.
Unit 3: Spread and Rise of Englishes
With the English people migrating to other lands
from 16th century onwards and with he
rise of Great Britain as an imperial power, English took roots in lands other
than 3ritain. It interacted with the native languages to give rise to a number
of non-native' varieties of English- American
English, Canadian English, Australian English, and Englishes
of South-East Asia including Indian English. We will look at this historical
process and the linguistic principles and properties of language varieties
produced by these historical processes of migration, settlement, and contact.
Unit 4: Indian English
In this last unit, we will examine the Indian
varieties of English and discuss the related questions of bi- and multi-lingualism, and the social' and cognitive dimensions of
this phenomenon. We will also examine briefly the questions of language
politics and language in relation to national identity. Finally, we will
discuss both the contextual, cultural and formal features of Indian English. We
shall also briefly touch upon the burgeoning of Indian Writing in English.
Variation And Varieties
Consolidation and Standardization of English
The Spread and Rise of Englishes
This is one of the most important blocks of this
course. In this block we give you tools to look at literature from the point of
view of the medium in which it is written, i.e. linguistic tools. You will now
be able to relate to the literary texts that you study with greater insight and
You will also notice in this section that with the
gradual maturation of the discipline of linguistics and literary criticism, the
rivalry between the two disciplines have been eliminated and a mutually
cooperative role in the field of literary evaluation and appreciation has been
Another important facet of this block is that we
have devoted three units on giving you hands on experience with analysing
fiction and poetry.
The units in this block are:
Unit 1 Language Variation -the Context of Situation
Unit 2 The Connection
between Linguistics, Literary Criticism and Sylistics
Unit 3 Style and Content
Unit 4,5 & 6 Analysing Texts I – II- III
This block will also feed into the next course which
is primarily concerned with literary criticism.
Variation - the Context of Situation
Connection between Linguistics, Literary Criticism and Stylistics
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