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Basic Methods of Linguistic Analysis

Linguistic Analysis came on the scene for the avowed purpose of clarifying language, and
proceeded to declare that the meaning of concepts is determined in the minds of average men, and that the job of philosophers consists of observing and reporting on how people use words. Linguistic Analysis declares that the ultimate reality is not even percepts, but words, and that words have no specific referents, but mean whatever people want them to mean. Linguistic Analysis is vehemently opposed to any kinds of principles or broad generalizations.

Linguistics is the study of human language: its form, variety, and social life. Human language may
be studied from a variety of perspectives, whether as a complex behavior, as a medium for creating and embodying social meaning, or as the instantiation of a highly structured system of knowledge within the mind of the speaker (a mental grammar), which can be investigated empirically and modeled formally. Starting from the detailed description of the structural patterns found in the worlds languages, linguists seek to establish general principles governing the organization, emergence, and use of language. Research in linguistics encompasses theories of how languages vary and fail to vary across space and time, how grammar evolved in the species and develops in the individual, and how language is used to create and reinforce social relationships. I can describe the following methods of linguistic analysis : morphology, phonetics, phonology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics. The grammatical description of many, languages is conveniently divided into two complementary sections: morphology and syntax. The relationship between them, as generally stated, is as follows:

morphology accounts for the internal structure of words, and syntax describes how words are
combined to form phrases, clauses, and sentences. 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.

Phonology is the systematic use of sound to encode meaning in any spoken human language, or the
field of linguistics studying this use. When describing the formal area of study, the term typically describes linguistic analysis either beneath the word or to units at all levels of language that are thought to structure sound for conveying linguistic meaning.

Semantics is the study of meaning, usually in language. In linguistics, it is the study of


interpretation of signs or symbols as used by agents or communities within particular circumstances

and contexts. Pragmatics is a subfield of linguistics which studies the ways in which context contributes to meaning. Pragmatics explains how language users are able to overcome apparent ambiguity, since meaning relies on the manner, place, time etc. of an utterance.

Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that comprises the study of the sounds of human speech. It is
concerned with the physical properties of speech sounds, and their physiological production, auditory perception, and neurophysiological status.

Pragmatic the relationship between linguistic form and use; how speakers employ language to
perform communicative tasks (making assertions, asking questions, issuing commands, etc.).

Semantics and pragmatics the relationship between linguistic form and linguistic meaning/use.
How words are interpreted, how the meanings of phrases and sentences are computed on the basis of the meanings of their parts, and how speakers employ linguistic expressions to perform communicative tasks (making assertions, asking questions, issuing commands, etc.).

Discourse the linguistic study of texts (stories, conversations, etc.) and of issues related to
narrative structure, style, genre, etc.

Sociolinguistics the study of language variation across different regions and social groups, and of
how language use, and attitudes towards language users, are shaped by factors such as gender, ethnicity, class, religion, etc.

Historical linguistics the study of how languages change over time. Psycholinguistics the study of human language from a psychological perspective, including how
language is processed and stored in the brain, and how children acquire language.

Anthropological linguistics how language embodies or expresses cultural meaning; how using
language creates and reinforces social relationships and identities. Regardless of any particular linguist's position, each area has core concepts that foster significant scholarly inquiry and research. Alongside these structurally-motivated domains of study are other fields of linguistics, distinguished by the kinds of non-linguistic factors that they consider: Applied linguistics, the study of language-related issues applied in everyday life, notably language policies, planning, and education. Biolinguistics, the study of natural as well as human-taught communication systems in animals, compared to human language. Clinical linguistics, the application of linguistic theory to the field of Speech-Language Pathology. Computational linguistics, the study of computational implementations of linguistic structures.

Developmental linguistics, the study of the development of linguistic ability in individuals, particularly the acquisition of language in childhood. Evolutionary linguistics, the study of the origin and subsequent development of language by the human species. Historical linguistics or diachronic linguistics, the study of language change over time. Language geography, the study of the geographical distribution of languages and linguistic features. Linguistic typology, the study of the common properties of diverse unrelated languages, properties that may, given sufficient attestation, be assumed to be innate to human language capacity. Neurolinguistics, the study of the structures in the human brain that underlie grammar and communication. Psycholinguistics, the study of the cognitive processes and representations underlying language use. Sociolinguistics, the study of variation in language and its relationship with social factors. Stylistics, the study of linguistic factors that place a discourse in context. The formal method in linguistic analysis is based on a number of assumptions. One assumption is that linguistic forms are shared by a particular group of speakers. No consideration is usually given to the cultural and political processes that make such sharing possible necessary. Structuralism and generative linguists alike act as if form content relationships remain constant across time, space and speaker, this is part of the synchronic approach. One of the major contributions of the linguistic analysis in the last century has been the idea that the basis of meanings lies in the kinds of relations that signs- words, conventional gestures, street signs, traffic signals, etc., have with one another in a particular system. The Swiss linguists Ferdinand de Saussure, considered by many founder of modern linguistics and the inspiration of the European intellectual movement known as structuralism, believed that certain objects acquire meaning, that is, become signs, in two ways: by being temporally or spatially connected to other elements and by being understood in opposition to other elements that could have been used but were not. Saussure called the first type of relations syntagmatic and the second type paradigmatic. http://www.arts.ualberta.ca/JHS/Articles/article_61.pdf http://www.ifi.uzh.ch/arvo/cl/volk/SyntaxVorl/Chomsky.html http://academic.reed.edu/linguistics/syllabus/lx211_2009_syllabus.pdf

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