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Aspects of English Language

The language is the collection of symbols and rules for combining the symbols, which can express and infinite variety of messages. In the definition, language separate to three criteria. First is language is symbolic which known as the use of symbols such in spoken or written words to express ideas to the world. The second is language is generative which define as the capability to produce many different messages by combining symbols in different ways. The third language as structured which mean following grammatical rules and produce grammatical sentences. Besides the criteria, language has three aspects such as grammar, meaning and sounds.
Three Aspects of Language Grammar is known as a set of rules for producing correct sentences in a language. Meaning is known as semantic understanding of sentences but is not necessary grammatically correct. Meaning of words can represent by breaking them into morphemes which is known as small units of meanings. Morphemes include stem words, prefixes and suffixes. For example word ‘unfairly’ which has stem word as fair adding of prefix un and suffix ly and these morphemes produces changes in word stem. Each of morphemes contributes the different meaning for the words. The sounds are also very important in language. Its produce the phonemes to understand the spoken sentences. In hierarchical organization when producing sentences people will make error in speaking or slip of the tongue. The errors also can divide into word errors, morphemes errors and phoneme errors. There are other types errors occur in the linguistic such as word exchange, morpheme exchange and phoneme exchange. Word exchange is an error in which two linguistic units are substituted for each other during sentence production. For example “buying mother for my fruits” rather than “buying fruits for my mother”. The morpheme exchange is known as error in which two morphemes are substituted for each other during sentence production. For example, sentence like “speakly loud” rather than “speak loudly”. Finally, phoneme exchange is known as an error in which two phonemes are substituted for each other during sentence production. For example, “twit nower” for “twin tower”.
Psychology and Grammar Psychologists are interest to study how people learn to speak in grammatically correct sentences. Phrase structure grammar can define as a set of rules for partitioning a sentence into its grammatical units and it has 3 rules. The first is partitions the sentence into noun phrase followed by verb phrase. The second rule is states that the noun phrase can be partitioned into a determiner followed by a noun. The third rule states that the verb phrase can be partitioned into a verb followed by noun phrase, which is again broken down into a determiner and a noun. But Chomsky (1965) found that the phrase structure grammar does not explain how sentences can be modified to form of similar meaning. Later it came up with transformational grammar which known as a set of rules for transforming a sentence into a closely related sentence. For example, how we change an active statement into a passive statement. Besides that, words can be grammatical clues. The relation between meaning and grammar is important because producing a grammatical sentence does not make the sentence will be meaningful. The meaning of words sometimes provides hints as to grammatical phrases will come next in sentences. Many words have more than one meaning but this would not confuse us. The context in which the word appears gives information about which meaning is appropriate. Carpenter and Daneman’s (1981) general model of the stages involved in the sentence comprehension. The first stage is as fixate and encode the next word and then second stage is retrieving the meanings of words. The third step is try to integrate retrieved concepts with prior context and the fourth step is seeing whether it has integration been successfully completed for at least one concept. If the integration is successful, the process encodes next code and if not successful, we try to recover the error.
Using Semantic Context in Sentence Comprehension The word recognition is often facilitated by the semantic context. Sometimes, people face difficulties in recognizing a word when reading the illegible handwriting and they rely on the surrounding words and sentences to help us identify the illegible word. People also select the meaning of ambiguous words by looking context of sentences. In resolving ambiguities, good readers those who are active in working memory able to interpret of an ambiguous word and quickly select the suitable meaning when they receive a clarifying context. Interpreting phrases is to produce syntactic and semantic representations of a sentence and relate the sentence to prior knowledge. For example, when people heard phrase ‘a business man’ and they might have few interpretation like ‘have luxury cars’, ‘a big bangle’ and ‘rich with money’.
Implication of Sentences Comprehension is considering how people understand sentences in which the information asserted directly. But, using language can imply something without directly. In Courtroom testimony, implications can influence not only how a witness responds to questions but also helps the jury to remember about testimony of witness. The implication without telling the original meaning of something can find advertising. Some advertisement tells the problems face by customer and show their product as solution. So that people then understand how the product functioning.
Literature Review Title: Investigating the role of language in children’s early educational outcomes
From: Sue Roulstone, Judy Clegg

Importance f Pronunciation

According to the Oxford Dictionary pronounce is defined as ‘make the sound of (a word or part of a word) in the correct or a particular way’. ‘The way in which a word is pronounced is known as pronunciation’. Pronunciation can be defined as a way in which a language is spoken, especially the way in which it is generally accepted or understood. Pronunciation means production and utterance of sounds of a language.
“English pronunciation has various components such as sounds, stress, and variation in pitch, and the learner needs to understand the function of these as well as their form”, (Kenworthy, 1987). Once the learners are aware that English words have a stress pattern, that words can be pronounced in slightly different ways, that the pitch of the voice can be used to convey meaning then they will know, that to pay attention to can build upon this basic awareness”, (Kenworthy, 1987: 27). Sounds are the part of a code in a language. These particular sounds make a language. Due to this code we can distinguish between different sounds and different languages. In this sense pronunciation can be defined as production and reception of sounds of speech.
According to Dalton, et al. (1994), language is a speech act. Its code joins hands with other factors to make sense of communication. In this study researcher has tried to explore the pronunciation of diphthongs with special reference to the physical features of diphthongs that is of prominence to the English language learners.
Since all second language learners belong to one or other group of language, their pronunciation of second language is very different of their origin. The teaching of a foreign language always deals with changing of learner’s pronunciation as learners find it difficult to pronounce the diphthongs. The pronunciation of one person depicts his geographical identity; hence a person’s pronunciation reveals his complete personality including origin and his social background. The pitch of the voice, the speed and the utterance all indicate the background and the linguistic knowledge of that person. It is an acknowledged fact that the speaker of the second language utters the sounds through the basic knowledge that he has built up in his mother tongue. It is through the pronunciation that we distinguish between American, British and Cambridge speakers. Although all these use a Standard English accent yet they are different from one another in terms of their accent and pronunciation.
Therefore what is needed and what we are concerned within Pakistan is the achievement of a comfortably intelligibility. It is very important for second language learners to pronounce correctly and follow a particular accent. There is a need to train the second language learners to pronounce the phonemes correctly. In teaching correct pronunciation we shall be able to draw inferences to determine and overcome the factors that hinder our speech. Joanne Kenworthy (1987) states, “Learner needs to develop concern for pronunciation. They must recognize that poor unintelligible speech will make their attempts at conversing frustration and unpleasant both for themselves and for their listeners”.
Vocal cords become hardened by speaking the native language. It needs proper training to speak the second language as the learners grew older. Unfortunately despite it being a language of teaching, English is very seldom used as a medium of speech in our day-to-day transaction. Despite that teachers do not know how to produce acceptable sounds hence learners also speak what they hear. Therefore we need to concentrate our efforts in teaching an acceptable pronunciation to our learners who ultimately might seek admission in the English speaking countries. Attitude and motivation shall intermittently guide the learner to produce the sounds, which are acceptable to the native Learners. That is why the teachers of English Language must have the knowledge of phonetics of English and they should know different techniques to teach pronunciation so that the learner’s pronunciation would be nearer to the Received Pronunciation and also having characteristics of a distinctive Pakistani pronunciation of English. Certainly this is an uphill task. Since Urdu is the mother-tongue, the learners are in the habit of using Urdu sounds. The sounds of Urdu and English are certainly different from each other. The Pakistani speakers mix up the sounds of English with that of Urdu sounds and try to shape their speech organs according to sounds of Urdu while pronouncing English. The teacher of English language in Pakistan needs to build a uniform system of speech, which should be closely and implicitly nearer to the Received Pronunciation.
Ur (2000) explained the following pronunciation errors:
A particular sound may not exist in the mother tongue, so that the learner is not used to forming it and therefore tends to substitute the nearest equivalent he or she knows.
A sound does exist in the mother tongue, but not as a separate phoneme: that is to say, the learner does not perceive it as a distinct sound that makes a difference to meaning.
International Phonetic Association On the international scene, after 1950s, when new superpowers emerged the problem of pronunciation came to surface. There was no standard variety of English. Australia and New Zealand were fully colonized so the problem of accent also increased. In 1886, in Paris, a small group of language teachers formed an association to encourage the use of phonetic notation in schools to help children acquire realistic pronunciations of foreign languages and to have a common accent. But this was not an easy task since English-speaking people themselves were spread in Europe, America and Australia, not to speak of the persons using English language in thickly populated countries of Asia and the British colonies in Africa. This naturally diversified and proliferated the problems with regard to the IPA since each local language has its own ways of articulation which are hardened with the passage of time and therefore make it doubly difficult for the second language learner to imitate successfully the accent of native speakers. This and such lie problems further accentuated the problems and pitfalls in pronunciation more so in the area of diphthongs.
For this difficulty, language teachers should know how to use IPA symbols and how to teach English language by using IPA symbols. Teachers should help students to become aware of the correct pronunciation. If IPA symbols are introduced to the English language learners at the beginners’ level, they would not have the pronunciation problem as much as they have.
Phonetic transcription It is a noticeable difficulty in pronunciation that there are many letters and combination of letters which produce numerous sounds at different places. According to Hornby (1978) the students of English are aware of the problems created by the English alphabet, unlike the oriental languages where each alphabetical letter stands for a distinctive sound, not all the English alphabets represent the phonetic sounds. For example letter ‘c’ sometimes gives the sound of ‘s’ as in ‘ceiling’ while on the other occasion it stands for the sound of ‘k’ as in ‘class’. ‘ch’ gives three sounds, sound of ‘ch’ as in ‘chain’, sometimes it gives sound of ‘k’ as in choir” and sometimes it gives sound of ‘sh’ as in ‘chef’. Sometimes we combine two letters to form a new sound as ‘th’ in ‘thin’ gives the sound of ‘th o’ ;while in the word ‘then’ it gives a new sound of ‘d’. The sound ‘sha’ is obtained by joining ‘sh’ as in ‘she’ and the sound ‘cha’ is formed by combining ‘ch’ as in ‘chin’. Therefore the phonetic transcription is of utmost importance. The experts in English language all agree on International System on Phonetic Alphabet IPA which assigns each English sound a special symbol. Phonetic transcription is usually given in brackets, like this.
Stage /steidz/
Ich dien /ix’di:n/
Bulge /b^ldz/
Special attention shall therefore be paid to provide correct forms of transcriptions.
Diphthongs Diphthongs are regarded as a sequence of two vowels within the nucleus (Bernhardt