Contrastive Linguistics Essay Example
Contrastive Linguistics Essay Example

Contrastive Linguistics Essay Example

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  • Pages: 8 (1969 words)
  • Published: September 28, 2017
  • Type: Research Paper
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Narrowly defined. incompatible linguistics can be regarded as a subdivision of comparative linguistics that is concerned with braces of linguistic communications which are ‘socio-culturally linked’ . Two linguistic communications can be said to be socio-culturally linked when  they are used by a considerable figure of bi- or multilingual talkers. and/or ( two ) a significant sum of ‘linguistic output’ ( text. discourse ) is translated from one linguistic communication into the other.

Harmonizing to this definition. incompatible linguistics trades with braces of linguistic communications such as Spanish and Basque. but non with Latin and ( the Australian linguistic communication ) Dyirbal. as there is no socio-cultural nexus between these linguistic communications. More loosely defined. the term ‘contrastive linguistics’ is besides sometimes used for comparative surveies of ( little ) groups ( instead than merely braces ) of linguistic communicati


ons. and does non necessitate a socio-cultural nexus between the linguistic communications investigated.

On this position. incompatible linguistics is a particular instance of lingual typology and is distinguished from other types of typological attacks by a little sample size and a high grade of coarseness. Consequently. any brace or group of linguistic communications ( even Latin and Dyirbal ) can be capable to a incompatible analysis. This article is based on the ( intermediate ) position that incompatible linguistics constantly requires a socio-cultural nexus between the linguistic communications investigated. but that it is non restricted to pairwise linguistic communication comparing.

Even though it is non a subdivision of applied linguistics. incompatible linguistics therefore aims to get at consequences that carry the potency of being used for practical intents. e. g. in foreign linguistic communication instruction and interlingual rendition. As it

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provides the descriptive footing for such applications. its research programme can besides be summarized as ‘comparison with a purpose’ ( E. Konig ) . The ‘objective of applicability’ is besides reflected in the fact that incompatible surveies focus on the differences. instead than the similarities. between the linguistic communications compared.

The scheme given in Diagram 1 will be refined below. In peculiar. the function of ‘bilingual lingual output’ will be integrated into the image. This end product non merely provides the empirical footing for incompatible surveies but besides maps as a conceptual nexus between the lingual systems investigated. as it can be used to set up comparison between classs from different linguistic communications. After supplying a brief historical overview of incompatible linguistics in Section 2. Section 3 will turn to some cardinal methodological issues. in peculiar the inquiry of crosslinguistic comparison.

In Sections 4 and 5. two major types of comparing will be illustrated. i. e. comparing of strictly formal classs ( consonants ) and comparing of lingual classs that carry intending or map ( tense ) . Section 6 will cover with generalisations across functional spheres ( Wh-question formation and relativization ) . Section 7 will reason with some comments on the empirical footing of incompatible linguistics ( specialised principal ) . 2 Historical comments The programme of incompatible linguistics was instigated by Charles Carpenter Fries from the University of Michigan in the 1940s.

Its chief premises can be summarized as follows ( californium. Konig & A ; Gast 2008: 1 ) : First linguistic communication acquisition and foreign linguistic communication larning differ basically. particularly in those instances where the foreign linguistic communication is learnt subsequently than

a female parent lingua and on the footing of the full command of that female parent lingua. Every linguistic communication has its ain specific construction. Similarities between the two linguistic communications will do no troubles ( ‘positive transfer’ ) . but differences will. due to ‘negative transfer’ ( or ‘interference’ ) . The student’s larning undertaking can therefore approximately be defined as the amount of the differences between the two linguistic communications.

Kortmann 1998 ) . New drift was given to pairwise linguistic communication comparing in a figure of publications from the 1970s and 1980s that did non chiefly prosecute didactic intents ( e. g. Konig 1971. Rohdenburg 1974. Plank 1984 ) . These writers regarded incompatible linguistics as a “limiting instance of typological comparison” ( Konig 1996: 51 ) which was characterized by a little sample size and a high grade of coarseness. This typologically oriented attack culminated in John Hawkins’ ( 1986 ) monograph A comparative typology of English and German – Unifying the contrasts.

It was one of Hawkins’ primary aims to uncover correlativities between belongingss of specific grammatical subsystems ( esp. sentence structure and morphology ) . with the ultimate end of ‘unifying the contrasts’ . Furthermore. Hawkins aimed at supplying accounts for the correlativities he observed and related his incompatible analyses to theories of linguistic communication processing ( e. g. Hawkins 1992 ) .

Even though Hawkins’ hypotheses and generalisations met with unfavorable judgment ( e. g. Kortmann & A ; Meyer 1992. Rohdenburg 1992 ) . they provided of import penetrations and helped set up incompatible linguistics as a type of linguistic communication comparing that was interesting and worthwhile in itself. without

prosecuting any specific aims related to 2nd linguistic communication acquisition or other lingual applications.

The 1980s and 1990s witnessed a certain variegation in the field of incompatible linguistics in so far as new subjects came into the focal point of attending ( e. g. pragmatics and discourse surveies. californium. House & A ; Blum-Kulka 1986. Oleksy 1989 ) . and new empirical methods were introduced. clairvoyance. corpus-based 1s ( californium. Section 7 ) .

The handiness of specialised principal ( parallel principal and scholar principals ) besides led to a reclamation of the nexus between incompatible linguistics and lingual applications. e. g. in so far as penetrations gained from ( quantitative ) contrastive analyses turned out to be utile for interlingual rendition surveies ( see e. g. Johansson 1998a ) . Most modern-day surveies published under the label of ‘contrastive linguistics’ follow the spirit of the word picture given in Section 1. i. e. they pursue a fundamentally lingual involvement but trade with braces of linguistic communications that are ‘socio-culturally linked’ .

In fact. the bulk of articles published in the diary Languages in Contrast. which was launched by the John Benjamins Publishing Company in 1998. trades with European linguistic communications. clairvoyance. Germanic and Romance 1s. Equally far as the subjects investigated are concerned. there is a preponderance of discourse-related surveies. which may be due to the corpus-based methodological analysis applied in most instances. 3 Establishing comparison Just like lingual typology. incompatible linguistics has to confront the job of “comparability of incommensurable systems” ( Haspelmath 2008 ) .

In non-universalist models ( such as early structuralist linguistics and its modern replacements ) . lingual classs are merely defined relation

to the system that they form portion of. Accordingly. the inquiry arises whether classs from different lingual systems can be compared at all. and if so. how such a comparing can be carried out. In really general footings. comparing can be defined as the designation of similarities and differences between two or more classs along a particular ( set of ) dimension ( s ) . The classs compared must be of the same type. i. vitamin E.

Haspelmath ( 2008 ) has argued that cross-linguistic comparing demands to be based on “comparative concepts” . i. e. analytic impressions that are used to depict specific facets of lingual systems. e. g. ‘subject’ . ‘case’ . ‘ ( past/present/future ) tense’ . etc. For case. a ‘subject’ in German does non hold exactly the ( system-internal ) belongingss of a ‘subject’ in English.

Still. ‘subject’ can be used as a comparative construct. in the sense of ‘grammaticalized neutralisation over specific types of semantic roles’ . Determining the extent of similarity every bit good as the differences between the instantiations of the comparative construct ‘subject’ in the linguistic communications under comparing is exactly the undertaking that a relevant contrastive survey has to transport out ( californium. Rohdenburg 1974. Konig & A ; Gast 2008: Ch. 6 ) .

In incompatible linguistics. the ‘assumption of comparability’ for specific braces of classs is reflected in. and supported by. lingual end product. Remember that incompatible linguistics has been defined as covering with braces ( or groups ) of linguistic communications that are socio-culturally linked. i. e. linguistic communications for which a significant sum of bilingual end product is available. for case in the

signifier of interlingual renditions and parallel principal. As Johansson ( 2000: 5 ) puts it. “ [ T ] he usage of multilingual principal. with a assortment of texts and a scope of transcribers represented. increases the cogency and dependability of the comparing.

It can so be regarded as the systematic development of the bilingual intuition of transcribers 
 . ” The ‘hypothesis of inter-lingual commensurability’ is therefore non a heuristic move but a fact of life reflected in the linguistic communication of ( balanced and to the full adept ) bilingual talkers. Bilingual end product is besides relevant to the inquiry of ( non- ) equality between classs from different linguistic communications in another regard: Second linguistic communication scholars frequently identify classs from their L2 with classs from their L1 ( ‘inter-lingual identification’ . ‘interference’ . californium. Weinreich 1953 ) .

In other words. 2nd linguistic communication scholars make an premise of ‘interlingual equivalence’ that gives rise to non-target-like constructions in their L2. In these instances. the ( non- ) equality of classs from different linguistic communications is non a inquiry of heuristics but portion of the object of survey. 4 Comparison based on signifier: Consonant stock lists A phonological and morphophonological comparing of two linguistic communications is strictly form-based insofar as it does non do mention to significance or map.

Specific facets of phonological organisation have figured conspicuously in ( particularly early ) incompatible surveies ( e. g. Lado 1957 ) . Given that phonemes are relational entities that can merely be defined with mention to the system that they form portion of and in fact constitute. they can non easy be compared across linguistic communications.

Let us see the consonant stock lists of English and German for illustration.

A model of comparing is provided by a classical structuralist analysis which is based on articulative characteristics of typical allophones instantiating the relevant phonemes ( ‘place of articulation’ . ‘manner of articulation’ and ‘voicing’ ) .

In the instance of close equality two phonemes have a similar distribution and ( in most contexts ) similar phonic realisations. For case. the concluding consonant in the English word bin is both phonetically and phonologically similar to the concluding consonant in ( the first individual remarkable signifier of the German linking verb ) bin. and the relevant phonemes have a similar distribution. The relationship between these phonemes is one of close equality ( instead than ‘full equivalence’ ) because phonemes ( every bit good as lingual classs in general ) are defined merely comparative to lingual systems.

Comparison is established on the footing of comparative constructs ( ‘voiced alveolar lateral’ ) . and the braces of classs therefore identified are capable to a incompatible analysis against the background of bilingual end product ( e. g. the pronunciation of German L2-speakers of English ) . bilingual end product L1 data language-internal lingual classs analysis preliminary comparing comparing based on ‘comparative concepts’ L1 Ac L2 L2 data language-internal lingual classs analysis Diagram 2: The process of form-based comparing in incompatible linguistics 5 Comparison based on signifier and map:

Temporal classs Most parametric quantities of comparing investigated in incompatible surveies are non strictly formal but concern the function between signifier and map. As is good known from typological surveies. this function is typically ( and possibly universally ) many-to-many. i. e. each

ontological class can be expressed utilizing assorted lingual classs. and each lingual class covers a certain scope of maps.

The relationship of close equality holds between the English will-future and the German werden-future. Again. the two classs can non be said to be ‘fully equivalent’ . Even though both future tenses are used for the future clip sphere merely ( ignoring non-temporal utilizations like the epistemological 1s. their distribution in English and German differs well. The ground is that there are different contrasting and viing tense classs in each linguistic communication: The English will-future competes with the traveling to-future whereas the German werden-Futur competes with the Prasens.

One effect of this difference is that the English will-future is well more frequent than the German werden-Futur ( in the spoken linguistic communication ) . as the former. but non the latter class represents the ‘unmarked’ ( semantically more general ) pick vis-a-vis its primary rival. The English and German tense systems provide several illustrations of partial equality. For case. the English Simple Present and the German Prasens are tantamount in some contexts but non in others. Approximately talking. the contexts where the English Simple Present is used constitutes a subset of the contexts where the German Prasens is used.


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