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Schools of Modern Linguistics

General Introduction The Prague School ?Contributions ?Phonology and Phonological Oppositions ?Functional Sentence Perspective ?Theme and Rheme The London School ?Introduction ?Malinowski’s Theories ?Firth’s Theories ?Halliday and Systemic-Functional Grammar

General Introduction
Modern linguistics began from the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure (1875~1913) ,who is often described as “father of “father linguistic” “a modern linguistic” and “a master of a discipline which modern” he made modern” (Culler, 1976:7)

The development of Saussure’s idea are along 3 lines

? Linguistics ? Sociology ? Psychology

Saussure saw human language as an extremely complex and heterogeneous phenomenon.

Saussure believed that language is a system of signs(语言是一套符号系统). This sign is the union of a form and an idea, which Saussure called the signifier(能指)and the signified(所指). His ideas on the arbitrary nature of sign(任意性理论), on the relational nature of linguistic units(语言单位之间的关系), on the distinction of langue (语言)and parole (言 语)and synchronic (共时)and diachronic(历时) linguistics, etc. pushed linguistics into a brand new stage.

The Prague School
The Prague School practiced a special style of synchronic linguistics and its most important contribution to linguistics is that is sees language in terms of function. 该学派有一种独特的共时语言 学研究风格,对语言学最重要的贡献是 从“功能”角度来看待语言。

Of the many ideas developed in Prague School, three points are of special importance

1、It was stressed that the synchronic study is fully justified as it can draw on controllable material for investigation but no rigid theoretical barrier is erected to separate diachronic study. (对语言的共时研究由于可以 得到全面的、可控的语言材料以供参考而被充 分强调,同时,也没有严格从理论上将之与历 时语言研究分离。)

2 There 2、There is an emphasis on the systemic character of language. (强调语言的系统的这一属性。)

3、Language was looked on as functional in another sense, that is, as a tool performing a number of essential functions or tasks for the community using it. (在某种意义上把语言看作是 一种“功能”,是一种由某一 语言社团使用的,用来完成一 系列基本职责和任务工具。)

Phonology and Phonological Oppositions

The Prague School is best known for its contribution to phonology and the distinction between phonetics and phonology.

The most influential scholar----Trubetzkoy(特鲁别 茨柯依) Trubetzkoy argued that phonetics belonged to parole whereas phonology belonged to langue. On this basis he developed the nation of “phoneme” as an abstract unit of the sound system as distinct from the sounds actually produced.

In classifying distinctive features, Trubetzkoy proposed three criteria
(1) Their relation to the whole contrastive system (2) Relations between the opposing elements (3) Their power of discrimination

These OPPOSITIONS can be summarized as follows:
? Bilateral opposition ? Multilateral opposition ? Proportional opposition ? Isolated opposition ? Privative opposition ? Gradual opposition ? Equipollent opposition ? Neutralisable opposition ? Constant opposition

Trubetzkoy’s contributions to phonological theory
?He showed distinctive functions of speech sounds and gave an accurate definition for the phoneme.

?By making distinctions between phonetics and phonology, and between stylistic phonology and phonology, he defined the sphere of phonological studies.

?By studying the syntagmatic and paragismatic relations between phonemes.

?He put forward a set of methodologies for phonological studies.

Functional Sentence Perspective (FSP)
Functional Sentence Perspective is a theory of linguistic analysis, which refers to an analysis of utterances in terms of the information they contain. The principle is that the role of each utterance part is evaluated for its semantic contribution to the whole. (句子功能前景是一套语言学分 析的理论,它是指用信息论的理论来分析话 语或篇章。其基本原则就是一句话中各部分 的作用取决于它对全局意义的贡献。)

Theme and Rheme
Some Czechoslovak linguists believe that a sentence contains a point of departure and a goal of discourse. (一 些捷克斯洛伐克语言学家认为一个句子 总是包括有出发点和核心。)

The point of departure is equally present to the speaker and to the hearer----it is their rallying point, which is called the Theme. (所 谓语言的出发点,是说话人和听话人都知道 的东西---这是他们的共同点,是他们交汇的 地方,叫做主位。)

The goal of discourse presents the very information that is to be imparted to the hearer, and is called Rheme.(而话语的核心, 仅仅表现对听话人来说意义重大的信息,叫 做述位。)

It is believed that the movement from the initial notion (Theme) to the goal of discourse (Rheme) reveals the movement of the mind itself. Based on these observations, they created the notion of Functional Sentence Perspective to describe how information is distributed in sentences.

The London School

The man who turned linguistics into a recognized distinct academic subject in Britain was J.R.Firth, the first Professor of General Linguistics in Great Britain.

Firth was influenced by the anthropologist B.Malinowski(马林诺夫斯基). In turn, he influenced his student. The well-known linguist M.A.K.Halliday.

The three all stressed the importance of context of situation and the system of language. Thus, London School is also known as systemic linguistics and functional linguistics. (伦敦学派 也被称为系统语言学和功能语言学,他们三人都 强调“语言环境”和语言“系统”的重要性。)

Malinowski’s Theories
? Malinowski said that language “is to be regarded as a mode of action, rather than as a counterpart of thought”. According to him, the meaning of an utterance does not come from the ideas of the words comprising it but from its relation to the situational context in which the utterance occurs.

? Malinowski believed that utterances and situation are bound up inextricably with each other and context of situation is indispensable for the understanding of the words. ? The meaning of spoken utterances could always be determined by the context of situation.

Malinowski distinguished three types of context of situation: ? Situations in which speech interrelates with bodily activity ? Narrative situations ? Situations in which speech is used to fill a speech vacuum----PHATIC COMMUNICATION.

In his Coral Gardens and Their Magic (1953), Malinowski developed his theories on meaning and put forward 2 points.
First, he prescribed the data for linguistic studies, holding that isolated words are only imagined linguistic facts, and they are products of advanced analytical procedure odds linguistics. According to him, the real linguistic data are the complete utterances in actual use of language.

The second point is that when a certain sound is used in two different situations, it cannot be called one word, but two words having the same sound, or homonyms. He said that in order to assign meaning to a sound, one has to study the situations in which it is used.

Firth’s Theories
Firth regarded language as a social process, as a means if social life, rather than simply as a set of agreed-upon semiotics and signs. He held that in order to live human beings have learn, and learning language is a means of participation in social activities. Language is a means of doing things and of making others do things. It means of acting and living.

Firth held that meaning in use, thus defining meaning as the relationship between an element at any level and its context on that level. According to his theorizing, the meaning of any sentence consists of five parts: ?The relationship of each phoneme to its phonological context. ?The relationship of each lexical item to the others in the sentence ?The morphological relations of each word ?The sentence type of which the given sentence is an example ?The relationship of the sentence to its context of the situation

Accordingly, there are fives levels of analysis

? Phonological ? Lexical and semantic ? Morphological ? Syntactic ? Context of situation

Firth’s second important contribution to linguistics is his method of PROSODIC ANALYSIS, called PROSODIC PHONOLOGY. 弗斯对语言学的第二个 重要贡献是韵律分析,叫做韵律音位学。

Firth pointed out that in actual speech, it is not phonemes that make up the paradigmatic relations, but PHONEMATIC UNITS. There are fewer features in phonematic units than in phonemes, because some features are common to phonemes of a syllable or a phase (even a sentence).

Firth did not define prosodic units. However, his discussion indicates that prosodic units include such features as stress, length, nasalization, palatalisation, and aspiration. In any case, these features cannot be found in one phonematic unit alone. 弗斯没有给韵律单位下定义。但他在论述中表 表明了韵律成分,包括重度、音长、鼻化、硬 腭化和送气等特征。在任何情况下,这些特征 都不是一个韵律单位独有的特征。

Halliday and Systemic-Functional Grammar
Systemic-Functional Grammar has two components: Systemic Grammar and Functional Grammar Grammar, which are two inseparable parts for an integral framework of linguistics theory.

系统功能语法包括两个组成部分:系统语法和功能语 法。他们语言学理论框架中不可分割的重要组成部分。

? The grammar takes actual uses language as the object of study, in opposition to Chomsky’s TG Grammar that takes the ideal speaker’s linguistic competence as the object of study. ? 系统功能语法把实际使用的语言现象作为研究对 象,而不是像乔姆斯基的转化生成语法那样把理 想化的语言使用者的语言能力作为研究对象。


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