By R.L. Trask
Language: the fundamentals presents a concise advent to the examine of language. Written in a fascinating and exciting variety, it encourages the reader to contemplate the best way language works. New positive factors include:* a bankruptcy on 'Language in Use' which introduces pragmatics, metaphor, speech and writing and discourse research* a piece on signal language* a word list of keywords* an extended extra examining sectionLanguage: the fundamentals presents an outline for college students and somebody who is ever been accused of splitting an infinitive.
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Language: the fundamentals offers a concise advent to the research of language. Written in an enticing and wonderful variety, it encourages the reader to consider the best way language works. New good points include:* a bankruptcy on 'Language in Use' which introduces pragmatics, metaphor, speech and writing and discourse research* a piece on signal language* a word list of keyword phrases* an elevated additional studying sectionLanguage: the fundamentals presents an outline for college kids and someone who is ever been accused of splitting an infinitive.
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So far as I can see, there is no sensible reason for this: it’s just a curious idiosyncrasy of the grammar of English. 34) *These furniture(s) are rather nice. What about grain? When you look at a field of grain, are you looking at one object or at quite a lot of objects? Here, the answer is not obvious, and it’s far from clear that the distinction between one object and more than one object is of any relevance to grain. But the grammar of English forces us to choose either a singular form or a plural form for every noun we use, with the result that we make arbitrary choices: the word wheat is singular (and has no plural), while oats is plural (and has no singular).
This is not a simple question. Indeed, there is perhaps no other question touching on language to which the answer is less obvious or more controversial. The study of meaning is called semantics, and semantics has for generations been the branch of linguistics in which, more than any other, it has often seemed maddeningly difficult to make any progress at all. Very often, semanticists have not even agreed about which questions ought to be asked, let alone about what the answers might be. In the 1940s and 1950s, many linguists in the USA became so exasperated with the whole messy business of semantics that they simply defined the subject of linguistics as one excluding semantics, on the ground that the study of meaning was just too much of a swamp to be examined profitably with linguistic techniques.
The view that this is all we need to know in order to understand the meaning of a sentence has been very influential in semantics, and it rejoices in a mouth-filling name: it is called Frege’s Principle of Compositionality, after the German philosopher who first proposed it. As we shall see later in this chapter, things may not be so simple as Frege’s principle would suggest. Meanwhile, though, let us assume that the grammarians who we left in Chapter 2 are doing a good job explaining the grammar, and let us turn to the problem of explaining what the words mean.
Language: the Basics: Second Edition (The Basics) by R.L. Trask