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ID number:405579
Published: 28.01.2006.
Language: English
Level: College/University
Literature: n/a
References: Not used

Language is a system. “Language enables one person to express a reaction to another persons stimulas.” /L. Bloofield/ “Language is a system of signs expressing ideas.” /E. de Saussure/

Linguistics is the study of language in all its aspects. Linguists are interested in the structure and history of languages; the meaning underlying instances of language use (semantics); how languages are related; how children learn language; what goes on when people are speaking; how people understand, mentally represent and generate language; what features are shared by all languages; why languages differ; how language is used in literature, the media and by various social groups; what happens to language abilities when the brain is damaged by stroke or injury; whether computers will ever be able to understand language; how we can model human language use.

In British English, Philology is often used for the historical study of language. Philologists study the development of individual languages but also want to know how languages evolve, whether there are rules of language change, how far change is determined by social and historical circumstances, etc. Comparative philology has developed methods which allow us to group languages in families, to reconstruct their prehistory and to determine the features of the parent language of each family, even if this is not attested.

Subject matter. The content of the communication, both explicit and implicit (understandable from context).

Phonemes- speech sounds which distinguish one word from another otherwise they are alike; one grammatical form of the word. A phoneme is the smallest contrastive unit in the sound system of a language.

Morphemes are what make up words. Often, morphemes are thought of as words but that is not always true. Some single morphemes are words while other words have two or more morphemes within them. Morphemes are also thought of as syllables but this is incorrect. Many words have two or more syllables but only one morpheme. Banana, apple, papaya, and nanny are just a few examples. On the other hand, many words have two morphemes and only one syllable; examples include cats, runs, and barked. A morpheme is the smallest meaningful unit in the grammar of a language.

• morpheme: a combination of sounds that have a meaning. A morpheme does not necessarily have to be a word. Example: the word cats has two morphemes. Cat is a morpheme, and s is a morpheme. Every morpheme is either a base or an affix. An affix can be either a prefix or a suffix. Cat is the base morpheme, and s is a suffix.
• affix: a morpheme that comes at the beginning (prefix) or the ending (suffix) of a base morpheme. Note: An affix usually is a morpheme that cannot stand alone. Examples: -ful, -ly, -ity, -ness. A few exceptions are able, like, and less.
• base: a morpheme that gives a word its meaning. The base morpheme cat gives the word cats its meaning: a particular type of animal.
• prefix: an affix that comes before a base morpheme. The in in the word inspect is a prefix.
• suffix: an affix that comes after a base morpheme. The s in cats is a suffix.
• free morpheme: a morpheme that can stand alone as a word without another morpheme. It does not need anything attached to it to make a word. Cat is a free morpheme.
• bound morpheme: a sound or a combination of sounds that cannot stand alone as a word. The s in cats is a bound morpheme, and it does not have any meaning without the free morpheme cat.
• inflectional morpheme: this morpheme can only be a suffix. The s in cats is an inflectional morpheme. An inflectional morpheme creates a change in the function of the word. Example: the d in invited indicates past tense. English has only seven inflectional morphemes: -s (plural) and -s (possessive) are noun inflections; -s ( 3rd-person singular), -ed ( past tense), -en (past participle), and -ing ( present participle) are verb inflections; -er (comparative) and -est (superlative) are adjective and adverb inflections.

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