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Linguistics and its subfields (see for example Semantics) have a prominent place being the basis of each deepened study of words and sentences. The search of the origin of words have involved since ancient times (antiquity) many scholars who sought for not only the history but also the destiny itself of terms (nomen est omen). We need to know the forms and meanings of words but chiefly we need to travelling in time learning the mystery of words, the iron phonetic rules, the charm of analogies, the curiosity of apparent equalities of sounds or meaning among languages. And all this is given by Linguistics which is science, art and intuition.

PROPERTIES OF LANGUAGEWhen talking about language we may say that it is a system of conventionalized symbols by which we communicate. The main properties are:


Arbitrariness can be explained by taking some words as examples:

dog (English)cane (Italian) chat (French)

The relationship between speech sounds and meaning is regarded as arbitrary and for this reason different languages have different speech sounds to represent the same things:

In the vocabulary of any language there is a small group of onomatopoeic words as the majority words of languages are to be seen as arbitrary. The relationship between the words and things is symbolic.

Dog symbolizes a certain class of quadruped Chair symbolizes a certain type of furniture

Creativity is another important feature of all languages which allow new utterances to be created thanks to new thoughts, experiences, situations.Examples :The little girl ate the apple.The man ate the apple.Both ate the apple.

All these examples have structural similarity. But, for instance, the following sentence The rull stud the thrull does not make any sense since the words have no meaning even though the structure conforms to the rules of English. On the contrary dog the ate bone the does not conform to the rules of English. In other examples such as

She wintered in Mexico.He holidayed in Greece. - the verbs are created from time expressions.Thus it is clear from what I have said up to now that languages are rule-governed structures.

In each language we have the following characteristics :All languages have a grammar that can be more or less equal in complexity.Grammar with its rules and elements; Linguistic competence which correspond to knowledge of language Linguistic performance which deals with how people use their knowledge of language, that is, grammar in comprehension and production.And again I have to remember you the branches of Linguistics :

Phonetics: the articulation and perception of speech sound;Phonology: the pattering of speech sound;Morphology: word-formation; Syntax: sentence formation;Semantics: the interpretation of words and sentences;Pragmatics: how to use things with words.More clarifications on the features of languageTalking about human languages we can say that their main feature consists in the fact that unities of meaning (signs) are arbitrary and conventional. Nothing in the sound of the words in a language allow us to discover the meaning of the words. The sound, for example, of the words chaise, chair, do not have any physical relation with the objects described by these words.

All this implies that signs (unities of meaning which form a message) are conventional and arbitrary forms. The words of a language have been chosen by human beings to represent a given set of objects, ideas, or phenomena. Speaking the same language as someone else, then, means sharing a certain number of conventions. On the other hand, the meaning of a sentence is not necessarily the addition of the meaning of each word that forms it. Moreover the same word can have more than one meaning, that is, it can be polysemic. For example, the word leaf in English means either the leaf of a tree/plant or the page in a book. The context in which the sentence has been produced is necessary to any ambiguity which would arise in avoiding such cases. Language seen as a mental faculty allowing oral communication is innate while the code allowing its realization is learned.JUST A MYTH, A LANGUAGE MYTHThe land that time forgotSomewhere, runs the story, in the Ozarks, or in the Appalachians, or in Derbyshire in England, theres a village where the locals still speak perfect Elizabethan English, untouched by the vast changes which have transformed English everywhere else. No, there isnt: this is pure fantasy. There is no such thing as a living language which doesnt change. This myth crops up because people occasionally notice that the local English in some corner of the world preserves one or two old forms which have disappeared elsewhere. (For example, Appalachian English preserves the adoing form, as in I was ashootin at some squirrels; this was once universal in English

but has been lost everywhere else.) But every variety of English preserves a few forms lost in other varieties, and every variety also exhibits a few innovations not found elsewhere. (For example, Appalachian English has undergone a change in its vowels such that Appalachian think sounds to the rest of us rather like thank.)

Similar myths have been maintained by speakers of other languages. Until the eighteenth century, even some linguists believed that the ancestral language of all humankind was still spoken, in its pristine state, in some favoured corner of the world; much ink was spilt over deciding which corner this might be. (For example, one such linguist argued for the Netherlands, and claimed that Dutch was the uncorrupted ancestral tongue of all humans. He was Dutch, of course.) But all languages that are spoken change, and no language anywhere is closer than any other to the remote origins of human speech.

Theres a moral here: dont believe everything you read. Many journalists, authors of popular books, and especially website writers are ignorant of the facts.Further reading: Crystal 1997; Pullum 1991.SEMANTICS DEF. Semantics is the study of meaning in communication. The word is derived from the Greek word semantikos =significant from semaino= to signify, to indicate and that from sema=sign, mark. In linguistics, it is the study of interpretation of signs as used by communities within particular circumstances and contexts. The word semantics in its modern sense is considered to have first appeared in French as semantique in Michel Breals book, Essai de semantique 1897. An understanding of semantics is essential to the study of language acquisition and of language change. It is important for understanding language in social context, as these are likely to affect meaning, and for understanding varieties of English and effects of style. The study of semantics includes the study of how meaning is constructed, interpreted, clarified, illustrated, contradicted and paraphrased. The traditional descriptive aims of lexical semantics have been : represent the meaning of each word in the language ; b. to show how the meanings of words in a language are interrelated.Semantics studies the meaning of words and it surely deals with the creativity of language. Image is the representation of an object or scene which conveys only itself. In common usage, the word image refers to a physical depiction of something, as in a photographic image, or in common speech: he is the image of his father. The words are used with the intention of describing something. By extension, however, the image also exits in a mental representation, as in the memory or the imagination.

Semantics is the field that studies the meaning of words and sentences. The main goal of linguistic description concerns a reflection of a speakers semantic knowledge. Certain sentences describe the same situation (the newspapers are behind/next to the computer or the computer is in front/next to the newspapers), other sentences contradict each other (the computer is next to the newspapers or the computer is not next to the newspapers or else the newspapers are not next to the computer).

By semantic knowledge we intend not what we know about newspapers or computer but our knowledge dealing with the relations or functions expressed by items such as next to, behind, not. Semantics however goes behind an encyclopedic set of definitions of linguistic expressions.

The context in meaning is very important because certain aspects of meaning change with the context of utterance( A is young 'young' can have different meanings [it can be referred to 'person (male or female), food, place, currency, friend']). Meanings, in short, are held to be objective, that is to say, they are not dependent on the ways any given person happens to understand them, autonomous and disembodied.

This means that they should be considered as independent of what men/women in general do in speaking, understanding, and acting. We can added another feature called compositionality whose aim consists in defining inherent properties which belong to abstract objects by analysing them in terms of components, i.e. smaller objects more primitive concepts and the like.

Furthermore, it is known that words , sentences, texts, and discourses have meaning in themselves. The meaning, for instance, of a given linguistic object can be unearthed thanks to a sophisticated linguistic analysis that intends to find the correct interpretation or the semantic representation inherent to it. The interpretation of an utterance, a discourse, a text, is never completely inferable from the linguistic object alone but needs for different kinds of background knowledge.SEMANTIC PROPERTIES. THE LEXICON. SEMANTIC RELATIONS BETWEEN WORDSUnderstanding language implies three main points that are: a) Know the words an