[00:10.12]TEST FOR ENGLISH MAJORS--GRADE EIGHT
[00:13.51]Section A MINI-LECTURE
[00:16.97]In this section you will hear a mini-lecture.
[00:20.29]You will hear the mini-lecture ONCE ONLY.
[00:23.73]While listening to the mini-lecture,
[00:25.82]please complete the gap-filling task on ANSWER SHEET ONE
[00:30.29]and write NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each gap.
[00:34.70]Make sure the word(s) you fill in is (are) both grammatically
[00:39.23]and semantically acceptable.
[00:41.85]You may use the blank sheet for note-taking.
[00:45.67]You have THIRTY seconds to preview the gap-filling task.
[01:19.89]Now, listen to the mini-lecture.
[01:22.30]When it is over, you will be given THREE minutes
[01:25.05]to check your work.
[01:29.23]Good morning, everyone. Today we will begin the lecture "series
[01:34.34]of language and linguistics with the discussion of language".
[01:39.69]Many definitions of language have been proposed.
[01:43.80]Henry Sweet, an English phonetician and language scholar, stated:
[01:50.35]"Language is the expression of ideas
[01:53.52]by means of speech-sounds combined into words. Words are combined into sentences,
[02:01.13]this combination answering to that of ideas into thoughts."
[02:06.48]The American linguists Bernard Bloch and George L. Trager
[02:11.54]formulated the following definition:
[02:14.59]"A language is a system of arbitrary vocal symbols
[02:19.19]by means of which a social group cooperates."
[02:23.86]Any succinct definition of language makes a number of presuppositions
[02:29.96]and begs a number of questions.
[02:33.13]The first, for example, puts excessive weight on "thought,"
[02:37.80]and the second uses "arbitrary" in a specialized, though legitimate, way.
[02:44.33]Now, I am going to give you several take-away messages,
[02:48.56]so that you will have a basic understanding of language.
[02:53.26]A number of considerations enter into
[02:56.06]a proper understanding of language as a subject:
[03:00.48]First of all, every physiologically and mentally normal person
[03:06.08]acquires in childhood the ability to make use, as both speaker and hearer,
[03:12.67]of a system of vocal communication that comprises a circumscribed
[03:18.55]set of noises resulting from movements of certain organs within the throat and mouth.
[03:25.64]By means of these noises, people are able to impart information,
[03:31.24]to express feelings and emotions, to influence the activities of others,
[03:37.15]and to comport themselves with varying degrees of friendliness
[03:41.39]or hostility toward persons who make use of substantially the same set of noises.
[03:49.79]Secondly, different systems of vocal communication constitute different languages;
[03:58.01]the degree of difference needed to establish a different language
[04:02.37]cannot be stated exactly. No two people speak exactly alike;
[04:08.78]hence, one is able to recognize the voices of friends over the telephone
[04:14.50]and to keep distinct a number of unseen speakers in a radio broadcast.
[04:20.48]Yet, clearly, no one would say that they speak different languages.
[04:26.39]Generally, systems of vocal communication are recognized as different languages
[04:33.17]if they cannot be understood without specific learning by both parties,
[04:38.91]though the precise limits of mutual intelligibility are hard to draw and belong
[04:45.65]on a scale rather than on either side of a definite dividing line.
[04:51.87]Substantially different systems of communication that may impede
[04:57.66]but do not prevent mutual comprehension are called dialects of a language.
[05:04.25]In order to describe in detail the actual different speech patterns of individuals,
[05:10.47]the term idiolect, meaning the speech habits of a single person, has been coined.
[05:17.99]Next in order, normally, people acquire a single language initially-
[05:23.84]their first language, or mother tongue, the language spoken by their parents
[05:29.20]or by those with whom they are brought up from infancy.
[05:33.20]Subsequent "second" languages are learned to different degrees of competence
[05:38.69]under various conditions. Complete mastery of two languages
[05:44.42]is designated as bilingualism; in many cases-
[05:48.96]such as upbringing by parents speaking different languages at home
[05:53.88]or being raised within a multilingual community-speakers grow up as bilinguals.
[06:00.97]In traditionally monolingual cultures, such as those of Britain and the United States,
[06:07.13]the learning, to any extent, of a second or other language
[06:11.86]is an activity superimposed on the prior mastery of one's first language
[06:17.77]and is a different process intellectually.
[06:21.57]Fourthly, language, as described above, is species-specific to human beings.
[06:29.30]Other members of the animal kingdom have the ability to communicate,
[06:34.15]through vocal noises or by other means,
[06:37.20]but the most important single feature characterizing human language,
[06:42.18]against every known mode of animal communication,
[06:46.53]is its infinite productivity and creativity.
[06:51.22]Human beings are unrestricted in what they can talk about;
[06:55.76]no area of experience is accepted as necessarily incommunicable,
[07:01.48]though it may be necessary to adapt one's language
[07:05.17]in order to cope with new discoveries or new modes of thought.
[07:10.21]OK. My fifth point is that in most accounts,
[07:14.95]the primary purpose of language is to facilitate communication,
[07:20.88]in the sense of transmission of information from one person to another.
[07:27.10]However, sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic studies have drawn attention
[07:33.82]to a range of other functions for language.
[07:37.43]Among these is the use of language to express a national or local identity,
[07:43.59]a common source of conflict in situations of multi-ethnicity around the world,
[07:49.44]such as in Belgium, India, and Quebec.
[07:53.54]Also important are the playful function of language—
[07:57.71]encountered in such phenomena as puns, riddles, and crossword puzzles—
[08:03.60]and the range of functions seen in imaginative or symbolic contexts,
[08:08.70]such as poetry, drama, and religious expression.
[08:13.98]Finally, language interacts with every aspect of human life in society,
[08:20.14]and it can be understood only if it is considered in relation to society.
[08:26.80]This lecture series attempts to survey language, both spoken and written,
[08:32.96]in this light and to consider its various functions
[08:36.82]and the purposes it can and has been made to serve.
[08:41.23]Because each language is both a working system of communication in the period
[08:46.90]and in the community wherein it is used
[08:50.50]and also the product of its history and the source of its future development,
[08:56.06]any account of language must consider it from both these points of view.
[09:01.91]All right. I think I have covered the key aspects of language.
[09:07.20]As language is so interesting and yet mysterious, we feel obligated to study it.
[09:14.37]That's why we have linguistics. The science of language is known as linguistics.
[09:20.96]It includes what are generally distinguished as
[09:24.14]descriptive linguistics and historical linguistics.
[09:28.87]Linguistics is now a highly technical subject;
[09:32.86]it embraces, both descriptively and historically,
[09:37.41]such major divisions as phonetics, grammar,
[09:41.51]including syntax and morphology, semantics, and pragmatics,
[09:46.75]dealing with these various aspects of language.
[09:51.02]But I am not going to go into the details of these concepts,
[09:54.89]because these will be the main points of the next lecture. See you next time.
[10:01.88]Now you have THREE minutes to check your work.
[13:06.20]This is the end of Section A MINI-LECTURE.
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