Showing posts with label Linguistics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Linguistics. Show all posts

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Linguistic Analysis of 'To Daffodils'

To Daffodils
by Robert Herrick

Fair daffodils, we weep to see
You haste away so soon;
As yet the early-rising sun
Has not attain’d his noon.
Stay, stay
Until the hasting day
Has run
But to the evensong;
And, having pray’d together, we
Will go with you along.
We have short time to stay, as you,
We have as short a spring;
As quick a growth to meet decay,
As you, or anything.
We die
As your hours do, and dry
Like to the summer’s rain;
Or as the pearls of morning’s dew,
Ne’er to be found again.

‘To Daffodils’ by Robert Herrick is a short lyric divided into two stanzas, the first addressing the daffodils and the second moving on to people and life in general. The central idea presented by the poet in this poem is that like the flowers we humans have a very short life in this world. The poet laments that we too like all other beautiful things soon slip into the shadow and silence of grave. A sad and thoughtful mood surrounds the poem. Throughout the poem, the poet employs various phonetic, lexical, syntactic, semantic and contextual devices for the expression of his aesthetic concept- the brevity of the youth in the human life.

In the poem ‘To Daffodils’ the speaker makes an analogy between the life of the Daffodil and the short life-span of humans. The speaker begins by saying that we grieve to see the beautiful daffodils being wasted away very quickly. The duration of their gloom is so short that it seems even the rising sun still hasn’t reached the noon-time. Thus, in the very beginning the poet has struck a note of mourning at the fast dying of daffodils. The poet then addresses the daffodils and asks them to stay until the day ends with the evening prayer. After praying together he says that he will also accompany the daffodils. This is so because like flowers men too have a very transient life and even the youth is also very short-lived.

Phonological features:

This poem which includes two parts is grouped into stanzas of ten lines. The poem has alterative stressed, unstressed syllables and irregular lines, which create the rhythm of the poem or in other words, the meters of the poem.  There are end rhymes in this poem and the poet cut and separated the fifth lines of both stanzas into two lines because he wanted to achieve the form of rhyme and rhythm. Thus, at the end of some lines, there is no punctuation mark.

Lexical Features:

The words used by the speaker to convey the meaning of the poem are accurate, vivid, expressive and plentiful. In order to describe the brevity  of the Daffodils’ life the speaker uses such expressions as ‘haste away’, ‘growth to meet decay’,’die’, ‘dry Away’ etc.

The word “haste” is an action verb which is powerful enough to express the swift motion of time. Here the poet also personifies the Daffodils and his use of the word ‘decay’, ‘die’, and ‘dry’ evoke a note of melancholy/sadness in his poem which arises out of the realization that beauty of the Daffodils as well as all beauties are not going to stay forever.

Syntactic features:

The language of the poem is simple clear and easy to be understood which makes the poem more close to the readers. With his simple language, the poet has painted the cycle of daffodils’ life in a beautiful way.  There are no very strange and complicated sentences in this poem. Most of the sentences obey the grammar rules. As the poet personifies the daffodils, the poem develops as a conversation between the poet and the daffodils. There is also an imperative sentence in the poem such as ‘Stay, stay’, which makes the expression more forceful and convincing.

Semantic features:

Semantics deals with the meaning system of language. It is the scientific study of the meaning of words. Personification is a typical rhetorical device used in any poems. Here  the poet also has personified the daffodils and attributed several human qualities to the daffodils. Apart from the daffodils, ‘day’ and ‘hours’ are also personified. Most of the words of the poem are monosyllabic and used in denotative sense. The poet also uses some other figures of speech like ‘simile’ and ‘metaphor’, especially in the concluding lines.

We die
As your hours do, and dry
Like to the summer’s rain;
Or as the pearls of morning’s dew,
Ne’er to be found again.

The poem “To Daffodils’ is a beautiful poem if considered from the analysis of the phonological, lexical, syntactic and semantic features of the poem. Thus, the content of the poem combined with a beautiful style transmits the poet’s idea that life is short and the beautiful moments of our life quickly pass away.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What is Morpheme Study?

Morpheme studies

The masterminds behind morpheme studies are Dulay and Burt. They fashioned a scoring scheme that awarded different point values depending upon whether a morpheme was correctly supplied in an obligating context, occupied but not well formed, or omitted altogether. They applied this scheme to their “subjects” “speech” by Bilingual Syntax Measure (BSM). Their research is an approach to the study of a learner’s competence in a language; based on the study of a learner’s total linguistic performance (i.e. what the learner is able to say and do is the language and not just the learner’s errors.

What is Performance Analysis in Language Teaching?

Performance Analysis

Performance Analysis refers to the approaches to study the competence of the learners based on the study of their linguistic performance. So, operationally it has a very wide perspective. The components of Performance analysis are;

1)      Morpheme studies
2)      Developmental Sequence
3)      Learner Strategies
4)      Formulaic utterances
The acquisition of forms and function

What is LAD (Language Aqcuisition Device)?


Language acquisition device or LAD is the innate human ability to learn a language.It is the key concept in Chomsky’s theory of UG. According to Chomsky we the humans have the innate capacity called DAD to learn a language. It is considered as a sort of mechanism or apparatus .The key features of the LAD are as follows.

The LAD is specis-specific. That means it distinguishes man from other primats.

The LAD is specific for language learning only and is opposed to the acquisition of other forms of behaviour or knowledge.

The LAD prestructures the properties of grammar to a large extent.

The LAD is like a biological organ. Like the physical organs of the body ,LAD also grows with the maturation of a child’s mind. That is, in its fundamental character it is innate and determined by the genetic structure of the organism. Of course, they grow under particular environmental conditions, assuming a specific form that admits of some variation.The comparatively crude structures of the child’s sentences may be that the language faculty in the mind has not yet fully come into being.LAD itself develops over the time rather than being constant from birth.

Thus, the LAD box is an inventory of principles and parameters. According to this framework, principles and parameters are part of a genetically innate universal grammar (UG) which all humans possess, barring any genetic disorders. As such, principles and parameters do not need to be learned by exposure to language. Rather, exposure to language merely triggers the parameters to adopt the correct setting.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Manner of Articulation

In linguistics, manner of articulation describes how the tongue, lips, jaw, and other speech organs are involved in making a sound. Often the concept is only used for the production of consonants, even though the movement of the articulars will also greatly alter the resonant properties of the vocal tract, thereby changing the formant structure of speech sounds that is crucial for the identification of vowels.

There are different ways of producing a speech sound. With consonants the airstream may be ;
a- stopped and released suddenly
b-allowed to escape with friction
c-stopped and then released slowly with friction.

The vocal cords may be vibrating or not. With vowels , in addition to the position of the tongue in the mouth, the lips may be;
a- rounded

To sum, by manner of articulation we mean the way in which the quality and volume of air is moduled as it is released through the air-passage to reproduce a particular sound.

International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)

The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabetic system developed with the intention of enabling students and linguists to learn and record the pronunciation of languages accurately, thereby avoiding the confusion of inconsistent, conventional spellings and a multitude of individual transcription systems. One aim of the IPA was to provide a unique symbol for each distinctive sound in a language—that is, every sound, or phoneme, that serves to distinguish one word from another.

IPA primarily uses Roman characters. Diacritics are used for fine distinctions in sounds and to show nasalization of vowels, length, stress, and tones. The concept of IPA was first broached by Otto Jespersen in a letter to Paul Passy of the International Phonetic Association and was developed by A.J. Ellis, Henry Sweet, Daniel Jones, and Passy in the late 19th century.

Voiced and Voiceless Sounds

All the sounds produced in the English are either voiced or voiceless. Speech sounds which are produced with the vocal cords vibrating are called ’voiced’. Such vibration can be felt when touching the neck in the region of the LARYNX. On the other hand when a speech sound which is normally voiced is pronuonced without vibration or only slight vibration , this is called voiceless sound. 

All vowels in English are voiced. Some of the consonant sounds are voiced and some are voiceless. Some of the consonant sounds produced in English are very similar. Many times the difference between them is because one is voiced and the other is voiceless. Two examples are 'z', which is voiced and 's', which is voiceless. The chart below is a list of the voiced and voiceless consonants.   

          Voiced consonants            Voiceless consonant
          Sounds                                  Sounds

             b                                               p
             d                                               t
             g                                               k
             v                                               f
             z                                               s
             th                                             th 
             sz                                             sh
             j                                                ch
             l                                                 h