Introduction to Linguistics

Introduction to Linguistics

Course by Prof. Dafydd Gibbon

All information about the Introduction to Linguistics course can be found on Prof. Dafydd Gibbon's website.


  1. Introduction.
  2. History of English: from Modern Englishes back to ... when?
    1. Background
    2. External history:
      1. From Indo-European to the Celts
      2. Germanic roots and influences; the spread of English
  3. Building Blocks of English (and other languages): dialogues, texts, sentences, words, ...
  4. Building Blocks of English (and other languages): dialogues, texts, sentences, words, ...
  5. WORDS and their parts:
    • MORPHOLOGY - the meaningful parts of words
    • PHONOLOGY - representation of sounds in the dictionary:
      • Segmental phonemes: smallest word-distinguishing units of sound encoding
      • Prosodic phonemes: simultaneous modulations of sound (these will not be dealt with in detail)
      • Syllables: complex word-distinguishing units of sound encoding, consisting of phonemes
    • PHONETICS - sounds in the real world
      1. Articulatory phonetics
      2. Acoustic and auditory phonetics
      3. Praat standard phonetics software
  6. SYNTAX, Sentences and their parts:
    • Simple sentences:
      • Nominal expressions
      • Verbal expressions
      • Sentence types
      • Word order
    • Complex sentences:
      • Coordinate clauses
      • Subordinate clauses
    • Language Structure
  7. SEMANTICS, The meanings of words and sentences:
    • lexical semantics: the meanings of words
    • Sentence semantics
  8. Interdisciplinary context of linguistics - possible topics:
  • Language and the Mind: processing language - memory, production, perception, first language learning
  • Language in Society: dialects, sociolects, registers, styles; second learning language
  • Applying Linguistics: from teachers to computers


Lecture 1

19th October 2006


Today's lecture was an introductory class. The idea was to familarise the students with the aim of the course. We talked
about linguistics in general.

    What is a portfolio?

    • A required reading on this topic is A Note on a Learner Portfolio.[2]
    • "In education, portfolio refers to a personal collection of information describing and documenting a person's achievements and learning. There is a variety of portfolios ranging from learning logs to extended collections of achievement evidence. Portfolios are used for many different purposes such as accreditation of prior experience, job search, continuing professional development, certification of competences."[3]
    • "Learning Logs are a unique personalised learning resource for children. In the learning Logs, the children record their responses to learning challenges set by their teachers. Each log is a unique record of the child's thinking and learning."[4]
    • "An electronic portfolio, also known as an e-portfolio or digital portfolio, is a cohesive, powerful, and well-designed collection of electronic documents that demonstrate your skills, education, professional development, and the benefits you offer to a target reader. A recent development has been the open source portfolio movement on e-portfolios.
      An e-portfolio can be seen as a type of learning record that provides actual evidence of achievement. Learning records are closely related to the Learning Plan, an emerging tool that is being used to manage learning by individuals, teams, communities of interest and organizations.
      The recent explosion of knowledge, information and learning technologies has led to the development of digital portfolios or electronic portfolios, commonly referred as ePortfolios."[5]
    • "A Learning Plan is a document (possibly an interactive or on-line document) that is used to plan learning, usually over an extended period of time."[6]

    Why is a portfolio important?

    • assessment of learning outcomes
    • basic input to later learning stages and to preparation for specific tasks, eg. a final exam

    A portfolio is important because it provides a systematic overview of what a student covers in class. It helps a student study and prepare for the exam. It is also of great use to the teacher who can see which part of the material needs more explanation, what was not understood in class and causes problems. A portfolio is helpful for both a student and the teacher.

    What should a portfolio contain, and how are these components defined?

    • Table of contents - contains all the topics covered in the course.
    • Introduction - what do I expect to learn in the course? How can I use gained knowledge?
    • Learner's Diary - contains the topic of a lecture, the date of the lecture, the content of the class, evaluation of the lecture and glossary entries.
    • Exercises and homework.
    • Glossary - technical terms introduced in the class. The glossary is designed according to the dictionary making principles (terms in alphabetical order, definition with examples, link to the class in which the term was introduced).
    • Evaluation - overview of a single class and assessment.

    Why should the portfolio be on a website?

    • easier access and interaction than via paper/email
    • means of becoming familiar with everyday use of electronic media
    • a form of "Applied Text Linguistics"
    • a source of material/tasks for the class [7].

    What is a website?

    A hypertext document published on the web with:

    • embedded document objects
    • linked document objects
      and therefore a text...

    "A website is an HTML document that is accessible on the Web." [8]

    "HTML Document - a document written in HyperText Markup Language." [8]

    "HTML - an acronym for HyperText Markup Language, HTML is the language used to tag various parts of a Web document so browsing software will know how to display that document's links, text, graphics and attached media." [8]

    A markup language combines text and extra information about the text. The extra information, for example about the text's structure or presentation, is expressed using markup, which is intermingled with the primary text. The best-known markup language in modern use is HTML (HyperText Markup Language), one of the foundations of the World Wide Web. Historically, markup was (and is) used in the publishing industry in the communication of printed work between authors, editors, and printers.

    How do you make a website?

    • run your own web server - on a DSL line (with the Apache server),save your HTML files
    • use the university website - and upload your HTML files
    • use another web service provider - and upload your HTML files
    • use blogging software - and make a weblog (blog) [7].

    What is a hypertext?

    A hypertext is a text connected electronically with other texts.

    "Hypertext - this term describes the system that allows documents to be cross- linked in such a way that the reader can explore related documents by clicking on a highlighted word or symbol."[8]

    A hypertext document is a text

    • either with conventional hierarchical parts
    • or as a complex network of parts

    A recursive definition of a hypertext:

    1. A hypertext is a text.
    2. A hypertext is a text connected with another hypertext.
    3. Nothing else is a hypertext.

    For example:

    • Any document on the World Wide Web
      • electronic dictionary
      • blog
      • e-commerce site
      • Google (and of course this slide, since it is linked...)
    • A help document for a computer application [7] - When you click on the "Help" or "?" menu item of an application, you generally get a Windows help text with linked subtexts.

    What is a text?

    The term "text" has multiple meanings depending on the context of its use:

    • In language, text is a broad term for something that contains words to express something.
    • In linguistics a text is a communicative act, fulfilling the seven constitutive and the three regulative principles of textuality. Both speech and written language, or language in other media can be seen as a text within linguistics.
    • In literary theory a text is the object being studied, whether it be a novel, a poem, a film, an advertisement, or anything else with a semiotic component. The broad use of the term derives from the rise of semiotics in the 1960s and was solidified by the later cultural studies of the 1980s, which brought a corresponding broadening of what it was one could talk about when talking about literature; see also discourse.
    • In mobile phone communication, a text (or text message) is a short digital message between devices, typically using SMS (short message service). The act of sending such a message is commonly referred to as texting.
    • In computing, text refers to character data, or to one of the segments of a program in memory.
    • In academics, text is often used as a short form for textbook.
    • In hip hop, text is a thriving form of post-modern poetry popular on the Internet. It is also referred to as scrypt. [9]

Linguistics - the science of language.

  • meaning of language
  • ! forms of languages and how they relate

What does linguistics do?

  • examines the history of language
  • examines relations - how languages influence each other

to conquer a nation - it does not endanger a language, but makes the language more diverse, richer

Language - a certain number of words and an infinitive number of sentences.

There are 6,000 languages around the world.

Chinese - the greatest number of native speakers of Chinese.

Families of languages of the world

The Grim brothers - linguists, XIX - they collected authentic folk tales and fairy tales and published traced origins
of words - how the sounds in words shift over time.

Linguistic analysis of fairy tales as a corpus of text.

The Deutsches Wörterbuch is one of the most important etymological dictionaries of the German language. The title,
literally translated to English, means "German dictionary".
It was started by the Grimm Brothers in 1838. When the project finally was finished in 1961, the dictionary contains 32
volumes and includes about 350,000 main entries. In 1971 a supplement with references was published.


History of English

Task: Prepare reports for discussion on ...

  • What are the following, and how old are they ?
    • Indo-European
    • Proto-Germanic
    • Old English
    • Middle English
    • Early Modern English
  • Provide examples of similar words in each of these.
  • What are the main differences between English and German?

The Indo-European languages (5000BC) comprise a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including
most of the major languages of Europe, as well as many spoken in the Indian subcontinent (South Asia), the Iranian plateau
(Southwest Asia) and Central Asia. Contemporary languages in this family with more than 100 million native speakers each
include Hindi, Spanish, English, Italian, Portuguese, Bengali, Russian, French, German and Punjabi. Numerous national or
minority languages with fewer than 100 million native speakers also exist. Indo-European has the largest numbers of speakers
of the recognised families of languages in the world today, with its languages spoken by approximately 3 billion native
speakers. The Indo-Iranian languages form the largest sub-branch of Indo-European.

Proto-Germanic (500BC-50BC) is the common ancestor (proto-language) of all Germanic languages, including modern
English and German.

There are no known documents in Proto-Germanic.

Old English (V-XI) (also called Anglo-Saxon) is an early form of the English language that was spoken in parts of
what is now England and southern Scotland between the mid-fifth century and the mid-twelfth century. It is a West Germanic
language and therefore is closely related to Old Frisian and Old Saxon. It also experienced heavy influence from Old Norse, a
member of the related North Germanic group of languages.

assigns gender to all nouns:

seo sunne - the Sun (feminine)

se mona - the Moon (masculine)

Middle English (XI-XV) is the name given by historical linguistics to the diverse forms of the English language
spoken between the Norman invasion of 1066 and the mid-to-late 15th century, when the Chancery Standard, a form of
London-based English, began to become widespread, a process aided by the introduction of the printing press into England by
William Caxton in the 1470s, and slightly later by Richard Pynson. By this time the Northumbrian dialect spoken in south east
Scotland was developing into the Scots language. The language of England as spoken after this time, up to 1650, is known as
Early Modern English.
engel - angel
nome - name

Early Modern English refers to the stage of the English language used from about the end of the Middle English
period (the latter half of the 1400s) to 1650. Thus, the first edition of the King James Bible and the works of William
Shakespeare both belong to the late phase of Early Modern English, although the King James Bible intentionally keeps some
archaisms that were not common even when it was published. Current readers of English are generally able to understand Early
Modern English, though occasionally with difficulties arising from grammar changes, changes in the meanings of some words,
and spelling differences. The standardization of English spelling falls within the Early Modern English period, and is
influenced by conventions predating the Great Vowel Shift, explaining the archaic non-phonetic spelling of contemporary
Modern English.
mine - my - before vowel initial words e.g. mine eyes

"D. Gibbon, personal communication"

"In English, the verb follows the subject (there are some special cases).

The subject in German may follow the verb, but then something else (the object, an adverb, etc.) must precede it, to preserve
the 2nd position.

In English, if an adverb precedes the subject, as in "Sometimes Jola goes dancing", the verb is not in second position.

In German main clauses, the FINITE verb is in second position, and the NONFINITE verbs such as infinitives and participles
are in final position.

In German subordinate clauses, the FINITE verb is in final position (there are special cases), and the NONFINITE verbs are
immediately before the FINITE verb. So all verbs are at the end of the clause.

Finite verbs are verbs with inflections such as person, number and tense.

Nonfinite verbs are rather like different parts of speech: infinitives are a little like nouns, participles are a little like
adjectives, so they are more like derivations than inflections. However most grammars refer to them as inflections (which is


Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 01/11/06

History of English

Lecture 2

26th October 2006


In the lecture, prof. Gibbon talked about the development of English and changes that the English language had undergone
throughout centuries.

Development of English

The Grimm's Law explains how sounds in Germanic changed; the main change in the Germanic languages - what separated
them from other languages.

  • deaspiration
  • devocing
  • fricativisation

The family theory tree - compare dialects to figure out what is the mother language.

Hight German Sound Shift - different pronunciation of consonants.

Great Vowel Shift - different pronunciation of vowels; why English vowels different from German vowels.

Word formation - word creation

  • derivation - suffix, affix
  • compounding - two words put together
  • abbreviations - NATO, Handy (from Handy telephon)
  • sign-meaning similarities
    • sound symbolism - the sign is similar to its meaning.

      Sound symbolism or phonosemantics is a branch of linguistics and refers to the idea that vocal
      sounds have meaning. An important concept for understanding this idea is phoneme: phonemes are written between slashes like
      this /b/. [1]
    • onomatopoeia - imitates the sound it is descrining
    • synaesthesia - a subject sensation or image of a sense (as of colour) other than the one (as of sound)
      being stimulated.
      sl - sludgy, slicky


geil - from Indo-European - cool, sexy, horny

O.E. husbonda "male head of a household," probably from O.N. husbondi "master of the house," from hus "house" + bondi
"householder, dweller, freeholder, peasant," from buandi, prp. of bua "to dwell" The sense of "peasant farmer" (c.1220) is
preserved in husbandry (first attested c.1380 in this sense). Beginning c.1290, replaced O.E. wer as "married man," companion
of wif, a sad loss for Eng. poetry. The verb "manage thriftily" is 1440, from the noun in the obsolete sense of "steward"
(c.1450). Slang shortening hubby first attested 1688. [2]


[1] Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 5/11/06

[2] Online Etymological Dictionary. © November 2001 Douglas Harper. 01/11/06.

History of English: From Indo-European to the Celts

Lecture 3

2nd November 2006

Prof. Gibbon made a revision of the previous class, because a lot of students seemed to have problems understanding the
content of the previous lecture. In the second part of the lecture different theories of spreading the Indo-European language
were presented. We aslo heard a lot about the history of English.

The Origins of Indo-European

  • The Baltic theory: the oldest, based on shared botanical vocabulary such as “beech, Buche, ... fagus”, and the
    putative geographical location of these plants explains a possible origin, but not reasons for dispersion.
  • The South-East European Theory: similar to the Baltic theory; no resons for dispersion.
  • The Flood Theory gives reasons for dispersion - a natural catastrophe.
  • The Caucasus Theory: The origins of agriculture are said to have spread East-West from the Fertile Crescent
    (Iraq) between about 7,000 - 3000 BC, which coincides with what has been postulated about the East-West spread of the
    Indo-European languages. [1]

The Indo-European Language Family

  • Languages may be similar because they have developed from the same original language.
  • By comparing words in known languages with similarities of form and meaning, and, based on the oldest possible
    documents, relationships have been found between
    • almost all European languages (except Basque and the Finno- Ugric languages Finnish, Estonian,
    • several languages of South Central Asia such as Farsi/Persian in Iran, Hindi in India)
  • The relationships between descendants of a common ancestral language are usually shown as a tree graph (which
    contain increasing amounts of detail) [1]

Indo-European expansions

  • IE expansion: about 5000 - 3000 BC, at the same time as the spread of agriculture
  • Hellenic expansion: about 330 BC, the Hellenic empire under Alexander the Great, which left extensive Greek
    influences, e.g. the New Testament of the Bible
  • Roman expansion: about 100 BC - 400 AD, the Roman empire, which left many Latin influences, e.g.
    • The Romance languages Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Romanian, Romantsch
    • The Roman Catholic Church
  • Colonal expansion: after 1492
    • Romance languages: Portuguese, Spanish, French
    • Germanic languages: Dutch, English [1]


Indo-European languages now dominate the language maps of the world:

  • Why are Portuguese and Spanish the official national languages of South American states?
  • Why are varieties of Dutch among the official national languages of Indonesia and South Africa?
  • Why is English the official national language of the USA, Australia, New Zealand?
  • In which African countries are the following Indo-European languages among the official national languages?
    • English
    • French
    • Portuguese


Who was in GB before the English?

  • The original human inhabitants of the British Isles are unknown, though there are architectural remnants

    Search for information on these ---> See The Bronze Age in the following paragraph.
  • Earliest known inhabitants of the British Isles: Celts (migrations East and West from Danube), 2 branches:
    • Goidelic Celtic (e.g. Gaelic, spoken today in the West of Ireland and North-West Scotland)
    • Brythonic Celtic (e.g. Welsh, now spoken in Wales, and Breton, re-introduced to European mainland from Wales and Cornwall)
  • West & North Germanic migrations:
  • West Germanic: Angles, Saxons: after about 400 AD
  • North Germanic: Vikings after about 600 AD
  • Norman French (French-speaking descendants Viking): 1066 [1]

In the following excerpts are taken from Wikipedia, Prehistoric Britain.

The Bronze Age

In around 2,700 BC a new culture arrived in Britain, often referred to as the Beaker culture. Beaker pottery appears in the Mount Pleasant Phase (2,700 BC - 2,000 BC) along with flat axes and burial practices of inhumation. The megalithic phases of Stonehenge date to this period.

Believed to be of Iberian origin (modern day Spain and Portugal), Beaker techniques brought to Britain the skill of refining metal. At first they made items from copper, but from around 2,150 BC smiths had discovered how to make bronze (which was much harder than copper) by mixing copper with a small amount of tin. With this discovery, the bronze age arrived in Britain. Over the next thousand years, bronze gradually replaced stone as the main material for tool and weapon making. [2]

Celts - very agressive people

The Iron Age

About 900 BC, British society changed again. Broadly termed the Celtic culture, it had by 500 BC covered most of the British Isles. The Celts were highly skilled craftspeople and produced intricately patterned gold jewellery and weapons in bronze and iron. [2]


  • Where did the Celts originate?

    There is a a hypothesis that the original speakers of the Celtic proto-language may have arisen in the Pontic-Caspian steppes. However, speakers of Celtic languages enter history from around 600 BC, when they were already split into several languages groups, and spread over much of Central Europe, the Iberian peninsula, Ireland and Britain. [2]

  • Name 3 Celtic town names in the area of modern Germany and give their meanings
    • Hale - salt
    • Meinds - a Celtig god
  • Where do the Celts live now?

    Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, the Isle of Man and Brittany

    "Today, "Celtic" is often used in order to describe the people and their respective cultures and languages of several ethnic groups in the United Kingdom, Isle of Man, Republic of Ireland, France, Spain and northern Portugal." [2]
  • What is their significance for English studies?
    • historically
      • There are many loan words from Celtic, but mainly for the names of towns.
      • Irish monks preserved English literature.
    • currently - The Celtic culture may soon die out and linguists should do their best to preserve the Celtic culture, document the Celtic language.

The Golden horns of Gallehus were two golden horns, one shorter than the other, discovered in North Slesvig, or Schleswig, in Denmark. The horns were believed to date to the fifth century (Germanic Iron Age). [2]


[1] D. Gibbon. 2006. Introduction to Linguistics: History of English - From IE to ME 05/11/2006

[2] Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 5/11/06

History of English: Germanic roots and influences; the spread of English

Lecture 4

9th November 2006


The lecture was devoted to the history of English. Practical tasks were assigned to the students such as decoding a Middle English text and translating it into English.


An eisteddfod is a Welsh festival of literature, music and performance. The tradition of such a meeting of Welsh artists dates back to at least the 12th century when a festival of poetry and music was held by Rhys ap Gruffydd of Deheubarth at his court in Cardigan in 1176, but with the decline of the bardic tradition it fell into abeyance. The present-day format owes much to an eighteenth century revival arising out of a number of informal eisteddfodau. The word eisteddfod is derived from the Welsh word eistedd, meaning "sit". [1]

Hadrian's Wall (Latin: Vallum Hadriani) was a stone and turf fortification built by the Roman Empire across the width of Great Britain to prevent military raids by the tribes of Scotland to the north, to improve economic stability and provide peaceful conditions in the Roman province of Britannia to the south, to physically mark the frontier of the Empire, and to separate the unruly Selgovae tribe in the north from the Brigantes in the south and discourage them from uniting.

The wall was the northern border of the Empire in Britain for much of the Roman Empire's rule, and also the most heavily fortified border in the Empire. In addition to its use as a military fortification, it is thought that the gates through the wall would also have served as customs posts to allow trade taxation. [1]

"The most important monument built by the Romans in Britain." [1]

Hadrian's Wall was built following a visit by Roman emperor Hadrian (AD 76-138) in AD 122. Hadrian was experiencing military difficulties in Britain, and from the peoples of various conquered lands across the Empire, including Egypt, Judea, Libya, Mauretania, and many of the peoples were conquered by his predecessor Trajan, so he was keen to impose order. However the construction of such an impressive wall was probably also a symbol of Roman power, both in occupied Britain and in Rome. [1]

East Germanic

The East Germanic languages died out. People migrated and adopted/assimilated to the local languages which derived from Latin.

The Gothic Bible - The Bible of Bishop Wulfila, about 500 AD. ----> Project Wulfila - to document the Gothic Bible.

The Codex - the first evidence of the Germanic language.

London chief city and capital of England, L. Londinium (c.115), often explained as "place belonging to a man named Londinos," a supposed Celtic personal name meaning "the wild one."

History of the English Language

Old English - about 600 - 1000 AD

Task: Find out who or what "Beowulf" is:

"Beowulf" is an Old English poem.

  • Find the text and a translation
  • Figure out the vocabulary and the grammar of two or three lines, by comparing the text with the translation

Middle English: The Canterbury Tales

The Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories written by Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century (two of them in prose, the rest in verse). The tales, some of which are originals and others not, are contained inside a frame tale and told by a collection of pilgrims on a pilgrimage from Southwark to Canterbury to visit the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral.[1] The Canterbury Tales are written in Middle English.


The etymology of the name Britain is thought to derive from a Celtic word, Pritani, "painted people/men", a reference to the island's inhabitants'[1] use of body paint and tattoos. If this is true, there is an interesting parallel with the name Pict, from the Latin word of the same meaning. The modern Welsh name for Britain and the Picts is Prydain.

toponymy, toponomy - the branch of lexicology that studies the place names of a region or a language.

lexicology - the branch of linguistics that studies the lexical component of language.

In rhetoric, metonymy is the substitution of one word for another with which it is associated.

In cognitive linguistics, metonymy refers to the use of a single characteristic to identify a more complex entity and is one of the basic characteristics of cognition. It is extremely common for people to take one well-understood or easy-to-perceive aspect of something and use that aspect to stand either for the thing as a whole or for some other aspect or part of it. [1]


Development of English:

English today:

International English is the concept of the English language as a global means of communication in numerous dialects, and the movement towards an international standard for the language. It is also referred to as Global English, World English, Common English, General English or Standard English. Sometimes these terms refer simply to the array of varieties of English spoken throughout the world; sometimes they refer to a desired standardisation. However, consensus on the terminology and path to standardisation has not been reached. [1]

Check Google for works by Jennifer Jenkins - what do you find?

Jenkins, Jennifer. "Global English and the teaching of pronunciation" . (A discussion of the relative importance of different pronunciation feature for international comprehension of spoken English.)


[1] Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. , accessed on 14/11/06.

Words and their Parts: Morphemes - smallest meaningful parts of words

Lecture 5

16th November 2006


Prof. Gibbon was absent today and Dr. Trippel replaced him. The lecture treated about words and their smallest parts - morphemes.

Morpheme - the smallest meaningful part of a word

Simple word - consists of only one morpheme, eg. boy, compute

Complex word - consists of more than one morpheme, eg. boys, computer

Free morpheme - can occur as a simple word, can stand alone, eg. man, radio

Bound morpheme - can occur in connection with other morphemes, eg. -s, -ion, un-, -ise

Allomorphs - varriant forms of a morpheme, have more than one realisation, eg. a--an, plural -s /s/--/z/--/Iz/

A free morpheme (a simple word) + a bound morphem = a complex word

---->A free morpheme remains a free morpheme, but it is no longer a simple word in connection with a bound morpheme. The whole is now a complex word.

root - carries the meaning, a free morpheme

base - a form to which an affix is added

Compounds - have at least two roots

Constituents of compounds

  • head:
    • second part of compound
    • word class
  • modifier: specifies the compound

Verbs do not combine with nouns.


Make up compounds.


  • noun - washing machine
  • verb - overcome
  • adjective - squeaky clean


  • noun - armchair, waterfall
  • verb - answering machine
  • adjective - freshman
  • preposition - update, underworld, without

Words and their Parts: Morphemes - smallest meaningful parts of words

Lecture 6

23rd November 2006


The lecture broadened our knowledge about morphology. We checked the homework. Dr. Trippel, who stood in for Prof. Gibbon who was in Taipei at that time, explained clearly the difference between derivation and infleciton.

Derivation - process of adding a morpheme to a base by which the meaning and/or wordclass of the base changes. [1]

Example derivations [1]

Base Affix Result
write (verb) -er writer (noun)
write (verb) -ing writing (noun)
write (verb) re- revrite (verb)

Consequences of derivation

  • Suffixes change the wordclass of the base, prefixes the meaning.
  • Derived words are productive, i.e. they can be used for further word formation, either serving as a base in derivation, or they can be inflected.
  • The list of derivational affixes is fixed (it is a closed class).

Zero derivation

  • special phenomenon in English
  • words can change wordclass without the addition of other morphemes (=by adding an empty morpheme)

Eg. Xerox - the name of a company; to xerox - to photocopy

Inflection - creating the syntactically correct forms of a word; do not change the wordclass.


  • number: -s in girls, houses, ox - oxen
  • gerder: waiter, waitress
  • case: mama, mamy, mamie, mamê, mam¹, mamie, mamo
  • tense: -ed in walk - walked
  • aspect: -ing
  • person: -s I change, but he changes

Derivation or inflection

  • category changes - derivation
  • order - derivation before inflection
  • productivity

In linguistics, the grammatical aspect of a verb defines the temporal flow (or lack thereof) in the described event or state. For example, in English the difference between I swim and I am swimming is a difference of aspect. [2] In Polish verbs such as czytaæ and przeczytaæ differ in aspects.

Derivation or inflection

  • category changes - derivation
  • order - derivation before inflection
  • productivity


[1] Trippel, T. 2006. Words and their parts., accessed 3/12/06.

[2] Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia., accessed 3/12/06.

Morphology - word construction

Lecture 7

30th November 2006


Prof. Gibbon came back from Taiwan and he conducted the class again. In the first part of the lecture we had a revision of what we done on morphology so far with Dr. Trippel. Leter we continued the topic on morphology and said a lot about inflection.

A stem or base has lexical meaning.

An inflection has grammatical meaning.

Subject-verb agreement - the subject has to agree with the verb in person and number.

number - grammatical form; quantity is the meaning

Verbs have tenses - a form; time is the meaning, what we refer to.

superfixes (stress languages; tone languages), eg. stress changes

In linguistics, the term ablaut designates a system of vowel gradation (i.e. regular vowel variations) in Proto-Indo-European and its far-reaching consequences in all of the modern Indo-European languages. (For parallel phenomena in non-Indo-European languages, see Apophony.) An example of ablaut in English is the strong verb sing, sang, sung and its related noun song.

The term ablaut (from German ab- in the sense "down, reducing" + Laut "sound") was coined in the early 19th century by the linguist Jacob Grimm, though the phenomenon was first described a century earlier by the Dutch linguist Lambert ten Kate in his book Gemeenschap tussen de Gottische spraeke en de Nederduytsche ("Commonality between the Gothic language and Dutch", 1710). [1]

compounds (based on more than one root/stem):

  • endocentric: jam-jar, honeypot, harddisk, bus-stop, ...
  • bicentric: whisky-soda, gentleman-farmer, ...
  • exocentric: red-head, redskin, blue-stocking, ... [2]

bluestocking - noun [C] OLD-FASHIONED - an intelligent and highly educated woman who spends most of her time studying and is therefore not approved of by some men [3]

The root is the primary lexical unit of a word, which carries the most significant aspects of semantic content and cannot be reduced into smaller constituents. Content words in nearly all languages contain, and may consist only of, root morphemes. However, sometimes the term "root" is also used to describe the word minus its inflectional endings, but with its lexical endings in place. For example, chatters has the inflectional root or lemma chatter, but the lexical root chat. Inflectional roots are often called stems, and a root in the stricter sense may be thought of as a monomorphemic stem. [1]


  • Define
    • morpheme

      Morpheme is the smallest meaningful part of a word.

    • lexical morpheme - free morpheme, content morpheme, root; there is an open set of lexical morphemes.
    • grammatical morpheme - structural morpheme; threre is a closed set of grammatical morphemes:
      • free morphemes: prepositions, conjunctions, auxiliary verbs
      • bound morphemes: affixes, suffixes (in word formation and inflection)
    • stem
      • Simple (i.e. roots, lexical morphemes)
      • Complex, i.e. at least one of the following:
        • Derivations - a stem and a derivational affix, e.g. red+ish = reddish, beauty + ful = beautiful
        • Compounds - a stem plus another stem, e.g. armchair, whisky-soda, red-head
        • Both (synthetic compounds) -a derivation plus a stem, e.g. bus-driver, steam-roller [2]
    • derived stem - stem with an affix (derivation)

      ---> either a root (zero derivation) or a derived stem with an affix
    • compound stem - a derived stem or a word (stem + affix) + a derived stem or a word (stem + affix) OR a compound stem + compound stem
  • What is the difference between inflection and derivation?

    The process of derivation changes the meaning and/or wordclass of the base.

    Inflection does not change the wordclass of the base, but creates syntactically correct forms of words.

  • What is the difference between derivation and compounding?
  • In derivation bound morphemes are added to the base.

    In compounding two or more roots are put together to create a new word.

  • Collect 5 longish words and
    • divide them into morphemes
      1. straightforwardness = straight + forward + -ness
      2. irresistibility = ir- + resist + -ible + -ity
      3. fraternisation = frater + -n- + -ise + -tion
      4. livingroom = live + -ing + room
      5. acyclically = a- + cycle + -ical + -ly
    • show construction of a word from their stems as tree diagrammes
      1. straightforwardness

        straight + forwardness

        --------> forward + -ness

      2. irresistibility

        irresistibile + -ity

        irresist + -ible

        ir- + resist

      3. fraternisation

        fraternise + -ation

        fratern + -ise

        frater + -n-

      4. livingroom

        living + room

        live + -ing

      5. acyclically

        acyclical + -ly

        a- + cyclical

        cycle + -ical


[1] Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 3/12/06.

[2] Gibbon, D. 2006. Morphology - word construction., accessed 3/12/06.

[3] Cambridge Dictionaries Online. 2006. © Cambridge University Press., accessed 3/12/06.

Phonetics: realising sounds

Lecture 8

7th December 2006


Unfortunately, I was ill that week and I could not attend the class. I was very unhappy that I missed the class, because Prof. Gibbon spoke of phonetics. Phonetics is Prof. Gibbon's favourite field, so the lecture must have been very interesting and lot of fun. Prof. Gibbon is one of the best phoneticians in the world. He is one of the "Phonetics Brothers," together with Nick Cambell and Daniel Hirst.

Phonetics is a discipline which examines speech sounds around the world.

When we talk about speech we can discuss different aspects:

  • speech production
  • speech transmission
  • speech perception

In phonetics we distinguish three subfields, namely

  • Articulatory phonetics (production)
  • Acoustic phonetics (transmission)
  • Auditory phonetics (reception)

Phonetic domains: the Phonetic Cycle

  • The Articulatory Domain
    • The IPA (A = Alphabet / Association)
    • The Source-Filter Model of Speech Production
  • The Acoustic Domain
    • The Speech Wave-Form
    • Basic Speech Signal Parameters
    • The Time Domain: the Speech Wave-Form
    • The Frequency Domain: simple & complex signals
      • Fourier Analysis: the Spectrum
      • Pitch extraction
    • Analog-to-Digital (A/D) Conversion
  • The Auditory Domain: Anatomy of the Ear [1]

midsagittal - adjective, of imaginary midline plane through body: relating to or situated along an imaginary plane that passes through the midline of the body or an organ. [2]

Mid-sagittal section of the human head (black and white); (c) Wells & Colson, 1972. [3]

The articulatory organs

  • The articulatory organs:
    • Lungs
    • Vocal cords in the larynx (Adam's Apple)
  • Positions:
    • Uvula - with back of tongue
    • Pharynx - with velum (nasals)
    • Velum (soft palate) - contact with tongue: velars
    • Palate (hard palate) - with tongue
    • Alveolar ridge
    • Upper teeth
      • with tongue
      • with lower lip
    • Upper lip
      • with lower lip
      • perhaps with tongue [1]

Play with Interactive Sagittal Section.

For general pronunciation representation in the lexicon phonemic transcription is used. Phonemic transcription just gives enough phonetic detail to distinguish words.

For detailed representation of speech pronunciation phonetic transcription based on articulatory phonetics is used. [1]


[1] Gibbon, D. 2006. Phonetics: realising sounds., accessed on 30/01/07.

[2] Encarta. World English Dictionary, North American Edition., accessed on 30/01/07.

[3] Wells & Colson. 1972. Mid-sagittal section of the human head (black and white)., accessed on 30/01/07.

Phonetics: realising sounds

Lecture 9

14th December 2006


The topic of today's class was acoustic phonetics and auditory phonetics. Prof. Gibbon showed us how to work with PRAAT, software for acoustic analysis of sound. We also learned the structure of the ear.

The Acoustic Domain

  • The Speech Wave-Form
  • Basic Speech Signal Parameters
  • The Time Domain: the Speech Wave-Form
  • The Frequency Domain: simple & complex signals
    • Fourier Analysis: the Spectrum
    • Pitch extraction
  • Analog-to-Digital (A/D) Conversion [1]

Analog-to-Digital (A/D) Conversion - measuring values at regular points, e.g. 44000/100 per sec.

Some useful phonetics knowledge

  • Oscillogramme - the wave form of the sygnal.

    time domain - amplitude + time
  • Spectrum - intensity of frequencies at particular time.
  • Spectogramme - visualisation of (speech) sound. The horizontal axis shows time. The vertical axis shows frequency. The darkness of the trace shows the amount of energy present at a given time and frequency. [2]

    In the most usual format, the horizontal axis represents time, the vertical axis is frequency, and the intensity of each point in the image represents amplitude of a particular frequency at a particular time. Often the diagram is reduced to two dimensions by indicating the intensity with thicker lines, more intense colors or grey values. [3]

  • Pitch track - shows fundamental frequency
  • Formant - A formant is a peak in an acoustic frequency spectrum which results from the resonant frequencies of any acoustical system. It is most commonly invoked in phonetics or acoustics involving the resonant frequencies of vocal tracts or musical instruments. [3]
  • Fundamental frequency - is the lowest frequency in a harmonic series. [2]
  • Harmonics - multipiers of fundamental frequency (F0).

Whistle - changing frequency by moving your tongue up and down

The ear has three main parts: the outer ear which works like microphone, the middle ear which behaves line an amplifier and the inner ear which conducts the spectral analysis and transforn the ananysed signal to the brain.

Source-Filter Model

Source-Filter Model by Dafydd Gibbon [1]


[1] Gibbon, D. 2006. Phonetics: realising sounds., accessed on 30/01/07.

[2] Ashby, M. & Maidment, J. 2005. Introducing Phonetic Science. Cambridge University Press.

[3] Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 16/11/2006.

Syntax (parts of speech categories and subcategories)

Lecture 10

21st December 2006


Prof. Gibbon gave a lecture on the study of the structure of language, syntax. We discussed syntagmatic and paradigmatic relations. Prof. Gibbon provided us with a very good description of naun categories and verb categories.

Structure of sentences - allows to create infinite number of sentences.

THE STRUCTURE OF LANGUAGE - units of different size ---> ranks

Signs are structured in terms of their position in a size hierarchy; the positions in the hierarchy are sometimes referred to as ranks. [1]

  • diallogue
  • monologue/text - turn in a diallogue
  • sentence
  • word - stem, affixes --> nouns, verbs
  • morpheme - phonemes, syllables
  • phoneme - distinctive features

Language structure is determined by following kinds of constitutive relation:

  • structural relations:
    • syntagmatic relations:
      • "glue"
      • combinatory relations which create larger signs (and their realisations and interpretations) from smaller signs (and their realisations and interpretations)
    • paradigmatic relations:
      • "choice"
      • classificatory relations of similarity and difference between signs.
  • semiotic relations:
    • realisation: the visual appearance or acoustic representation of
      signs (other senses may also be involved).

    • interpretation: the assignment of meaning to a sign.

Syntagmatic relations are combinatorial relations which define larger units on the basis of their component parts.

Syntagmatic relations - linguistic "glue": combinatory relations which create larger signs (and their realisations and interpretations) from smaller signs (and their realisations and interpretations).

Syntagmatic relations are very often hierarchical.[1]



Cs and Vs are glued together as core and periphery of syllables.


lexical morphemes and affixes are glued together into stems.

stems are glued together into compound stems.

stems and inflections are glued together into words.


nouns and verbs are glued together as the subjects and verbs of

Paradigmatic relations are classificatory relations, i.e. they define sets of items on the basis of similarities and differences.

Paradigmatic relations - classificatory relations of similarity
and difference between signs.

Similarity and difference of

  • internal structure
  • external structure
  • meaning
  • appearance

Noun category: Determiners

  • articles - definite (the), indefinite
  • possesives - in the first position of the
    nominal expression (my mother, your father)
  • demonstratives - proximal (this - these),
    distal (that - those)
  • Quantifiers
    • cardinal numbers: one, two
    • existential: some, several, few,
    • dual: both, either
    • universal: each, every, all

Noun category: Adjectives

  • Adjective type
    • scalar - many degrees (small ...
    • polar - YES/NO (married/unmarried)

      "Susan is very unmarried."
      Special meaning of polar adjective in connections of
      adverbs of degree.
    • appraisive - express attitude of
      the speaker (good, great, fantastic)
    • ordinal (first, second)
  • Special feature of scalar adjectives -
    "adverbs" of degree (very, highly, extremely,
    incedibly) [1]

Noun categories: nouns

  • Proper nouns - names: personal, place,
    product, ...

  • Common nouns:
    • Countable nouns: knife, fork, spoon
    • Mass nouns (uncountable nouns):
      bread, butter, jam, ... [1]

Noun categories: pronouns

  • personal: I/me, you, he/ him
  • possessive: mine, yours, his, hers, its,
    ours, theirs
  • demonstrative pronouns - proximal (this -
    these), distal (that - those, yonder - "that thing that
    is far away")
  • Quantifier pronouns
    • cardinal numbers: one, two
    • existential: some, several, few,
    • dual: both, either
    • universal: each, every, all
  • Relative pronouns - more like conjunctions

Verb categories: verbs

  • Main verbs:
    • finite forms: person (1st, 2nd, 3rd), number (singular, plural), tense (present, past)
    • non-finite forms: infinitive, participle (present, past)
  • Periphrastic verbs (auxiliary verb + non-finite main verb):
    • modal: can, may, will, shall, ought, ...
    • aspectual: be+prespart (continuous), have+pastpart (perfect)
    • passive: be+pastpart [1]

The car might (modal) have (perfect) been (continuous) being (passive) repaired (main verb).

Verb categories: adverbs

  • Deictic, e.g. here, there; now
  • Time (when), e.g. soon, immediately;
    yesterday, ...
  • Place and direction (where), e.g.
    upwards, into, towards
  • Manner, e.g. slowly, quickly; cleverly,
    stupidly; nicely, nastly; well
  • Degree, - better dealt with in
    connection with adjectives

Glue categories: prepositions

  • Basically - make nominal expressions into

  • Pretty much categories as adverbs
  • Except the "all purpose preposition" of [1]

Glue categories: conjunctions

  • Co-ordinating conjunctions: and, but
  • Subordinating conjunctions:
    • conjunction-like relative pronouns
      - make sentences (clauses) into adjective-like noun

    • basically - make sentence (clauses)
      into adverb-like verb modifiers [1]

Glue categories: interjections

  • Interjections link parts of dialogues
    together ("Hi!", "er..")
  • They may also be expressions of subjective
    reactions: "Ouch!", "Wow!") [1]

For example, in grammar the class "noun" is based on paradigmatic relations of similarity of various kinds between nouns. However, the relation "subject" denotes the relation between a noun (or noun phrase) and the verb, making up a larger unit such as a sentence.

In phonology, the terms "consonant", "vowel" etc. express paradigmatic relations of similarity and difference on the basis of distinctive features.

In phonology, the terms "onset", "nucleus", "coda" express syntagmatic relations between parts of a syllable.

  • Adjective Phrase = (DegreeAdverb)* Adjective
  • Nominal Phrase = (Adjective Phrase)* Noun
  • Noun Phrase = (Determiner) Nominal Phrase (Relative Clause) [1]


[1] Gibbon, D. 2007. Syntax (parts of speech categories and subcategories)., accessed on 29/01/07.

The Structure of Language

Lecture 11

11th January 2007


At the beginning of the lecture, we had a thorough revision on syntagmatic and paradigmatic relation. I think that additional explataion was extremely helpful. Then we dealt with a bit of phonology.

THE STRUCTURE OF LANGUAGE - units of different size ---> ranks

  • Signs are structured in terms of their position in a size hierarchy; the positions in the hierarchy are sometimes referred to as ranks.
  • The main ranks (there are subdivisions) are:
    • diallogue
    • monologue/text - turn in a diallogue
    • sentence
    • word - stem, affixes --> nouns, verbs
    • morpheme - phonemes, syllables
    • phoneme - distinctive features
  • Signs at each of these ranks have
    • structure (internal and external)
    • semiotic relations (functions and realisations) [1]

Language structure is determined by following kinds of constitutive relation:

  • structural relations:
    • syntagmatic relations:
      • "glue"
      • combinatory relations which create larger signs (and their realisations and interpretations) from smaller signs (and their realisations and interpretations)
    • paradigmatic relations:
      • "choice"
      • classificatory relations of similarity and difference between signs.
  • semiotic relations:
    • realisation: the visual appearance or acoustic representation of
      signs (other senses may also be involved).

    • interpretation: the assignment of meaning to a sign.



  • PHONEMES (acoustic encoding) or
  • GRAPHEMES (visual encoding)

Realisation of words/ Rendering structures:

  • Pronunciation rules (acoustic modality)
  • Spelling (visual modality)
  • Sound-spelling rules (inter-modality conversion) [1]

Representation of sounds

Representations of sounds in dictionaries:

- prosodic hierarchy:

  • phonemes - signs, code sounds:
    • function: "smallest word-distinguishing segments"
    • internal structure: "configuations of distinctive phonetic features"
    • external structure (see syllables)
    • rendering: "contextual variants", "allophones"
  • syllables - unit of pronunciation:
    • function: "word distinguishing phoneme configurations"
    • internal structure: "configurations of sequential features (consonantal, vocalic; voiced, unvoiced; ...) and simultaneous features (tone, accent)
    • external structure (word)
    • rendering: a function of the rendering of phonemes [2]


There are several ways of defining phonemes, depending on which of the four sign components is focussed:

  1. The minimal word-distinguishing sound segment (based on the contrastive function of phonemes)
  2. The smallest unit of a syllable (based on external sound structure)
  3. Consists of distinctive features (based on the internal sound structure)
  4. Consists of a set of allophones (based on the rendering of phonemes) [2]

Syllable structure:

  • CV structure - Japanese
  • CVC
  • CCV
  • CCCVVCCC - strange (8 phonemes in a syllable)

How many potential syllables does English permit? - 11982!!!

The directed acyclic graphs (DAGs) consist of nodes connected by edges. The nodes are artefactual and do not correspond to actual properties of speech, but are simply anchors for the edges. The edges are labelled with relevant linguistic units such as phonemes; the nodes may also be labelled for convenience of reference.A syllable is defined formally as a path from the starting node to another node via an edge, and from there to the next node via another edge, and so on until a final node is reached.

The network defines syntagmatic relations between the components of syllables.

FSA - In automata terminology, the nodes represent states of the automaton, and the edges represent transitions between states. [3]

More about the structure of the English syllabe can be found in the paper Phonotactics of English monosyllables, by Prof. Gibbon.

transition network or a state diagramme - each transition from one circle/node/state describes the correct position of one phoneme.

Syllable - onset & rhyme: peak (nucleus), coda

Phonemic transcription - sounds represented in minimal details.

Phonetic transcription - all possible information about pronunciation included, all the physical details.

Spelling-to-Sound rules

ghoti /fIS/ - tough + women + nation

Graphemes - character combination corresponding to a phoneme


  • make a list of 5 spelling rules
    1. /Z/ - spelt "si" in words like vision, invasion, but not after a consonant as in tension, nor where there is a double "s", as in mission.
    2. /j/ - spelt "y" when it occurs at the beginning of a syllable, as in yellow, yeast.
    3. /I@/ - spelt:
      • "eer" - beer, deer
      • "ear" - ear, clear
      • "ere" - here, merely, but not were, where, there
    4. /t/ spelt "t" or "tt" in words like tiny, better, and also "th" in a few words: thyme, Thomas, Thompson, Thames, Theresa, Anthony.
    5. /O/ - spelt:
      • "au" - audience, fraud
      • "aw" - law, awe
      • in words ending "-ought" - ought, bought
      • "a" in some words, especially before "l" - water, all, ball, almost
  • make a list of 5 main spelling problems
    1. Pronunciation does not correspond to spelling.
    2. "Silent characters" - letters that are not pronounced, eg. who, handsome.
    3. The same pronunciation of different combinations of letters , see above.
    4. Different pronunciations of the same combination of letters, eg. read (present and past tense), ending "-ed".
    5. Irregular spelling, eg - talk, broad, there, buffet, duvet, crepe, peapole, key, should

Homework: English and German



  • the consonants of German which do not occur in English
    • /C/ --- sicher --- "zIC6
    • /ts/ --- Zahl --- tsa:l
    • /pf/ --- Pfahl --- pfa:l
    • /x/ --- Buch --- bu:x
  • the consonants of English which do not occur in German
    • /T/ --- thin
    • /D/ --- this
    • /w/ --- wasp --- wQsp
  • the vowels of German which do not occur in English
    • /Y/ --- hübsch --- hYpS
    • /9/ --- plötzlich --- "pl9tslIC
    • /e:/ --- Beet --- be:t
    • /y:/ --- süß --- zy:s
    • /2:/ --- blöd --- bl2:t
  • the vowels of English which do not occur in German
    • /V/ --- but --- bVt



  • the characters of German which do not occur in English
    • ä
    • ü
    • ö
    • ß
  • the characters of English which do not occur in German
    • ï --- naïve
  • 5 English graphemes containing more than one character

    In a phonological orthography, a grapheme corresponds to one phoneme.
    1. sh - /S/ - ship
    2. th - /D/ - this
    3. au - /O/ - Laura
    4. ie - /i/ - piece, priest, hygiene
    5. ch - /k/ - school, character
  • 5 German graphemes containing more than one character
    1. ss - /s/ - Tasse
    2. sch - /S/ - waschen
    3. tt - /t/ - bitte
    4. ie - /i:/ - lieben
    5. ch - /C/ - ich

The homework was done using information about English and German SAMPA alphabets. [4]


[1] Gibbon, D. 2007. The Structure of Language., accessed on 29/01/07

[2] Gibbon, D. 2006. Phonology: encoding words., accessed 29/01/07.

[3] Gibbon, D. 2004. Phonotactics of English monosyllables., accessed 2/12/06.

[4] SAMPA, computer readable phonetic alphabet. 25th October, 2005., accessed 2/12/2006.

Semantics: interpreting signs

Lecture 12

18th January 2007


Prof. Gibbon gave a lecture on the study of the structure of meaning, semantics. A few signs were presented to us and we were asked to describe their meanings.

Noam Chomsky distinguishes between:

  • competence (implicit knowledge of a language)
  • performance (actual use of a language in concrete situations). [1]

  • knowledge of a language ---> implicit knowledge, competence, knowledge which everyone has as native speakers, knowledge of how to use the language.
  • knowledge about a language ---> explicit, metalinguistic knowledge, which linguists have. [1]

Sense and reference

The term "meaning" is ambiguous; it has

  • a general aspect: sense (German: Sinn)

    - the combination of lexical and sentence meanings of an expression, dependent on semantic relations within the language

  • a specific, concrete aspect: reference (German: Bedeutung)

    - the actual objects, entities, events, etc., in the world, which an expression refers to [1]

There are different kinds of signs:

  • verbal signs
    • phonemes - encode words
    • morphemes - encode words
    • words
    • sentences
    • texts
    • diallogues - create social relationships
  • non-verbal signs: gestures, traffic signs
  • signs in different modalities/media
    • visual: gestures, clothing ("I don't identify myself with this group.")
    • acoustic: laughter, clapping hands
    • tactile (Polish: dotykowy): shaking hands
    • olfactory (Polish:wêchowy): wearing perfumes

Semantic sign types (C.S. Pierce)

  • Index - a sign with a relationship of physical proximity with its meaning:
    • place
    • cause
  • Icon - a sign with a relationship of similarity with its meaning:
    • visual similarity
    • acoustic similarity
    • maybe similarity in the other senses
  • Symbol - a sign with an arbitrary relationship with its meaning [1]

"Descriptive" vs. "subjective" meanings

  • Descriptive meanings: concern properties of persons, places, things, events, ...


    • any concrete object ...
    • any abstract entity ...
  • Subjective meanings: concern attitudes of the speaker and hearer


    • appraisive expressions
    • taboo expressions [1]

Semantic components

  • property components: features:
    • abstract vs. concrete
    • human vs. nonhuman
    • animate vs. inanimate
    • male vs. female
    • young vs. old

    Examples: child, woman, ...

  • relation components: features:
    • bigger
    • parent
    • ...

    Examples: aunt, grandfather, cousin .... [1]

Semantic relations

  • taxonomy (generalisation-specialisation relation,
    paradigmatic relations)

    • hyperonym - general term, e.g. dog, pet
    • hyponym - specific term, special term, e.g. poddle
      • synonym
      • antonym:
        • opposite
        • complementary
        • inverse
      • co-hyponym
  • meronomy (part-whole relation, syntagmatic relations) [1]

Taxonomy - a hierarchy, classification

Meronomy - a different kind of hierarchy - How to build up larger units from smaller units, e.g. car <--- wheel

Colourless green ideas sleep furiously.


[1] Gibbon, D. 2007. Semantics: interpreting signs., accessed on 30/01/07

Interdisciplinary aspects: Text Technology

Lecture 13

25th January 2007


In class we were shown the practical application of linguistic knowledge. Prof. Gibbon showed his students how to professionally format a text. The class was very useful. I knew most of these stuff, but I also learn something. I found out that you can make a cross-reference between a figure and a part in the text.

Linguists know about

  • text construction
  • spelling (cf. spell checkers)
  • correct inflection (cf. grammar checkers)
  • thesaurus as a writer's help
  • word prediction/completion (cf. also mobile phones)
  • capitalisation
  • use of correct quotation marks
  • translation of terms for localisation to other languages [1]

Text objects:

  • Character:
    • Properties: font, size, highlights, ...
  • Paragraph
    • Properties: upper, lower, left, right margins
    • Types: Default, Text body, Heading, Ordered/Bullet list
    • Tables
  • Figure [1]

Document objects:

  • Document:
    • Filename
  • Page
    • Orientation: portrait, landscape
    • Margins: top, bottom, left, right
  • Running titles
    • Headers
    • Footers
  • Fields for insertion into running titles etc.
    • Page number
    • Total number of pages
    • Date
    • ... [1]


[1] Gibbon, D. 2007. Interdisciplinary aspects: Text Technology., accessed on 30/01/07

Jolanta Bachan,
30th January 2007