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Friday, February 05, 2010


Language and Linguistics
The first session of Semester II/ (Elective)Linguistics was lead by Mr. Anil Pinto. It was an overview of the course contents and a cursory look at the history of language and Linguistics. He shared following with us:
  • In 1786 Sir William Jones an Englishman ,scholar of Sanskrit established the similarity among languages- Greek, Celtic, Sanskrit which were later grouped under one family named as Indo- European Languages, followed by grouping of other languages under different families.
  • In 1913 Swiss linguist Ferdinand Saussure 's book Cours de Linguistique Generale created history as it was the first time language was subjected to methodological systematic study. The methodological structural principles given by him are: Langue and Parole( Language structure vs speaking in language), Arbitrariness of the Sign (Signifier and Signified), Diachronic and Synchronic Study of the Language ( the study of evolution of the language over different periods' of linguistic system and study of language in a point in time).
  • In America ,Bloomfield further expanded the structural study of language and termed it as "Descriptive Linguistics,based on the principle of behaviourism i.e Stimulus....Response, in his book, 'Language' (1933).
  • Chomsky, world famous linguist stated that language is not genetically acquired but language acquisition is a function of a device present in our brain . He called it LAD (Language Acquisition Device). He founded the concept of Universal Grammar.


Language is a dynamic process, it undergoes changes with time and changes in socio-political system. Mr. Pinto attributed divine quality to it by explaining the omniscient, omnipotent aspect of language.( Do we see another new theory of Divine Principles of language coming to occupy place in language history, Mr. Pinto?)

Language has immense power to create. Ancient Hindu Vedas declare that the Universe was created with the sound of " AUM".Humboldt has gone to the extent of saying " Man is a man through the use of language alone".

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