Friday, 19 April 2013

An Introduction to Language.

Assalamualaikum WBT,

How do you do? It has been awhile since my last entry eyh? Well, I am so sorry for writing late entry, I had to settle a few things. Well, for this entry, I would love to share with you my first year's subject, my first semester's subject, An Introduction to Language and it was taught by Dr Ee Chop Ler. 

Before I go any further, my first years was not that great actually, honestly, I did not know much about English language, but surely, I have big interest on English language. So, in order for me to catch everything up, I had to learn everything in the fast lane. Best method? Learning it from your besties who have the better English than yours and converse with them using proper English eyh?

Okay, in An Introduction of Language, I learned about the language itself. Meaning, learning how we could know and utter the words but we do not learn it. Yes, we are all intimately familiar with at least one language, right? Our own language. Yet few of us ever stop to consider what we know when we know a language. No book contains, or could possible contain, the English or Russian or Zulu language. Yes, when we learn second language we usually have the guide and the A-Z about the particular language,but when we learn our own mother tongue, sometimes, we best acquired it from the surroundings, the environments, that is for sure, indeed. Not all words from certain language can be listed in a dictionary. Speaker use a finite set of rules to produce and understand an infinite set of possible sentences.

These rules are part of the grammar of a language, which develops when you acquire the language and includes the sound system (phonology), the structure and properties of words (the morphology and lexicon), how words may be combined into phrases and sentences (the syntax), and the ways in which sounds and meanings are related (the semantics). The sounds and meanings of individual words are related in an arbitrary fashion.  Arbitrary means, when you know the language, you know the system.

Well, more explanation on arbitrary is, as far as I am concerned, the concept of arbitrary would be, when you know something, let say, a dining table. You would be able to recall the concept of dining table. It does not mean that we have the same thing on our mind but as long as it is dining table, the concept is already there, that the arbitrariness is understood. Another example, if people draw you an symbol of 'hand', then they asked you to answer it in five different languages, Malay, English, Japan, Spanish and Arabic. When you are able to answer the question, you already possessed the concept of arbitrariness. Why? Because, you know the word of 'hand' in five different language, no one could argue with you because you know the language already. Is that okay?

In all languages in the world, there will be Grammar rules. Grammar rules actually prevent from the language to extinct and also prevent the speakers of the language to be more creative in using the language without damaging the language. 

I told my lecturer about influences on language. I told her that I could easily influenced by songs both the melody and the lyrics. This actually interrelated with Sapir-Whorf hypothesis which hold that the particular language we speak determines or influences our thoughts and perceptions of the world. Let say, I am using English to speak the entire time, my way of thinking would be different. Who knows right? 

Well, to be honest, this is just the surface of the An Introduction to Language but I will write more about this. This is just a small portion on An Introduction to Language and this is just under that first chapter, 'What is Language?', so, I have a lot more to write here.

Assalamualaikum WBT

p/s: Keep on learning.
p/s: For this entry, I was using An Introduction to Language by Victoria Fromkin, Robert Rodman and Nina Hyams, the Eight Edition.


  1. a very good effort of's nice to read all the terms again..

  2. Naz : thank you for that comforting complement, I need to do this in order to practice my English, hehe