Essays on Linguistics


Essays on Linguistics

Essays on Linguistics







Menonim Menonimus




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Essays on Linguistics (a collection of essays on the English Language) by Menonim Menonimus. Essays on Linguistics


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Essays on Linguistics

Essays on Linguistics  

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Essays on Linguistics  

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Essays on Linguistics 

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Essays on Linguistics






The Characteristics of Human Language

Language is a method of human communication- either spoken or written- consisting of the use of meaningful words in an agreed way. It is a unique gift bestowed upon human beings by nature. There are some thousand languages in the world. Language differs from region to region and community to community. The scholars have traced some characteristics of human language such as (1) Vocal-Auditory Channel, (2) Arbitrariness, (3) Rapid Fadigness (4) Interchangeability (5) Displacement, (6) Creativity, (7) Duality, (8) Patterning and (9) Structure Dependence. Let us discuss them in brief as below:

Vocal-Auditory Channel: One of the most obvious characteristics of human language is that it is a vocal-auditory channel. Language is produced by vocal tracks and received by ears.

Arbitrariness: The term ‘arbitrariness’ refers to the property of human language which relates to the fact that there is no logical relationship between the signal and the message. Except in some cases of some onomatopoeic words or expressions, the symbols (sound) used by a human being is arbitrary. For example, there is no logical relationship between the word ‘water ‘and thing it symbolizes. Had there been a logical relationship between the two, then why the same thing is called ‘pani’ in Hindi?

Rapid Fadingness: Auditory signals are transitory. They disappear quickly because spoken words cannot be heard long.

Interchangeability: It refers to the fact that a speaker or sender of a linguistic signal can be a listener or receiver.

Displacement: The term ‘displacement’ refers to the ability of a human being to talk about things that are not present at that place or at that time. Human being can communicate about things that are absent as easily as about things that are present. Human beings can cope with any subject whatever and it does not matter how far away the topic of conversation is in time and space.

Creativity: The term ‘creativity’ refers to the ability of human beings to produce and understand utterances that they have never uttered or heard before. Human beings can talk about anything they like. Hence it can be said that creativity is an important characteristic that distinguishes human communication from animal communication.

Duality: The term ‘duality’ refers to the fact that human language is organized at two levels, as- (i) the level of articulation of sounds and (ii) the level of words. Every language has a set of thirty or forty basic sounds which are called Phonemes. It is the smallest unit in the sound system of a language that can bring about a difference in meaning. These basic sounds or phonemes become meaningful only when they combine with each other in accordance with the rules of a language.

Patterning: The term ‘patterning’ refers to the fact that human language combines sounds into words and words into a sentence according to certain rules or patterns.

Structure Dependence: The term refers to the fact that human beings instinctively understand the patterned nature of language. For example, we can consider the following sentences:

(i) The student who obeyed the teacher gave him a book. He gave the teacher a really valuable book.

This sentence can be rearranged according to the rules of language. For example, according to the rules of ‘passivation’, as under:

(ii)The teacher was given a really valuable book by the student who obeyed the teacher.

Thus human language has possessed these characteristics which are not generally seemed to be present in other animal systems of communication. 0 0 0

Essays on Linguistics 

Origin and Evolution of the English Language

English, the most prestigious Lingua- Franca of the globe, is said to have taken birth in Britain around 450 A. D. to be a grand member of the Indo-European Family of Languages. But the English Language we speak today is not merely the language that it was at its birth. English of ours is the result of a tremendous evolution with a drastic change that it underwent throughout its long history of one thousand and six hundred years. The history of English may be divided into three distinct periods, as (1) The Old English Period (from 450 A. D. to 1066 A D.) (2) The Middle English Period (from 1066 to 1500) and (3) The Modern English Period (1500 to the Present Day). Let us discuss these periods with their salient features in brief, as below:

The Old English Period (450 A. D.): About 450 A. D. Britain was invaded by the Germanic tribes who included the Jutes, Saxons, and Angles. The Celts, the aboriginals of Britain called their Germanic conquerors ‘Saxon’ indiscriminately. The English Language is said to be originated from the dialects spoken by those Germanic tribes who invaded and conquered Britain and since their invasion, the history of the English Language began.

Old English was not entirely a uniform language. In all, there were four dialects, as Northumbrian, Mercian, West Saxon, and Kentish. Of those dialects, Northumbrian and Mercian were spoken in the north region of the River Thames, the abode of the Angels. They possessed certain features in common and were sometimes collectively known as Anglican. The only dialect in which there are an extensive collection of texts is West Saxon which was the dialect of the Jutes in the South-West. With the ascendency of the West- Saxon kingdom, the West- Saxon dialect attained something to the position of the literary standard. Old English was a very resourceful language. It was full of inflections and synthetic. From a root word, it was possible to form more than a hundred words by means of prefixes and suffixes. The Old English gender was grammatical and not natural. The Old English Noun had four cases and there was no Ablative or Locative case. Its adjectives have two-fold declension- one Weak Declension and the other Strong Declension. Like other parts of speech, the Old English verbal system was complicated. It had only two tenses- past tense and present tense. There is some literary text still in existence written during this Old English Period. Among them, mention may be made of the epic entitled Beowulf, Seafarer, The Ruin and a few others. Most of these books are Christian in themes. The most noticeable feature of Old English Poetry is that it was alliterative.

The Middle English Period (1066 to 1500): In 1066, the Normans, belonging to the Northern Coast of France, made a conquest over Britain and with their conquest, a new turn came over English and the Middle English Period began. When William the conqueror became the king of England the entire English nobility was replaced by the French aristocracy and the French Language disposed of English of its rightful place. Only gradually, with the loss of Normandy, particularly in the next century, the ruling class begin to think in English and thus began the process of rehabilitating English.

The Middle English Period was a period of momentous changes in English. One striking feature of Middle English was its great variety, not only in the spoken forms but also in written literature. In absence of a standard medium, the writers naturally wrote in their respective dialects. There were, however, four dialects, as- Northern, East Midland, West Midland and Southern. The peculiarities that distinguished these dialects were partly the matters of pronunciation, partly of vocabulary and partly of inflection. But it was the East Midland Dialect which was the dialect of the metropolis of London became the basis of Standard English. The prominent poet of that period was Geoffrey Chaucer (1350- 1400). His Canterbury Tales may be taken as a specimen of Middle English. Among few others mention may be made of William Langland, John Wycliffe, Malory, Lydgate and Coxton who contributed to the rise of Middle English.

The Modern Period (1500 to the Present Day): At the end of the 14th century and at the beginning of the 15th century the East Midland Dialect became the recognized standard in both speech and writing and with this, the Modern Period of the English Language made a glorious beginning. Soon within a hundred years which is termed as the Elizabethan Age, English paves its way from modernity to modernity till the present day. During this period English makes tremendous changes in grammar and vocabulary. Many European and even Non- European elements have been added generously to the stock of English and thus it becomes the richest and most flexible language in the world. Now it is used as the prestigious lingua- franca of the present-day world. 0 0 0

Essays on Linguistics 

The Process of Word Formation

One of the major characteristics of human language is that it can form – more or less- new words for its purpose. But new words are formed according to some pattern and not arbitrarily. English is a language that has got a rich storehouse of new words formed for themselves out of old and familiar materials. There is some certain processes (ways) by which new words are formed and added to the vocabulary. These processes are (1) Compounding (2) Derivation, (3) Backformation, (4) Shortening (5) Conversion (6) Blending and (7) Authors’ Contribution. Let us discuss them as below:

Compounding: The simplest way of forming new words is compounding. It is a process of making new words by joining together two existing words. Generally, in this process, different parts of speeches are combined together and a compound word with a meaning is made. Among the most common are formed as below:

(i) Noun with a noun, as: rail-road (rail +road), house-top, week-end, wood-shed etc.

(ii) Noun with adjective, as: coal-black, hot-house, air-tight, foot-sore etc.

(iii) Adjective with noun, as: black-berry, sweet-meat, big-shot etc.

(iv) Adverb with noun, as: up-shot, over-head, down-fall, after-thought, under-dog etc.

(v) Verb with adverb, as: dug-out, walk-over, tie-up, kick-up etc.

(vi) Verb with noun, as: cry-baby, play-boy, star-board etc.

(vii) Adjective with verb, as: over-throw, under-staff, set-off, by-pass etc.

(viii) Noun with adverb, as: hands off, head on, hind side etc.  

Derivation: In this process a new word is formed out of an old one by the addition of some prefixes or suffixes. In English, many words are formed by this process, as:

(i) By adding the prefixes like- mis, dis, re, en, fore etc.- we get such words as misdeed, mistake, miscarry, dismal, disturb, discover, forgive, forego, withdraw, withstand, revival, recover, resist, endear, enrage, encourage etc.

(ii) By using the suffixes like- dom, full, less, ness,  ish, tion etc.- we can form such words, as kingdom, wisdom, beautiful, handful, ripeness, business, contribution, estimation, formerly, finally etc. 

Backformation: By this method, new words are formed by removing or subtracting affixes (prefixes and suffixes), such as- the verb ‘edit’ has been formed by backformation from the noun ‘editor’. Thus ‘peddle’ is the backformation of the noun ‘peddler’. In this way, we get a lot of new words as- ‘burgle’ from ‘burglar’, ‘diagnose’ from ‘diagnosis’, ‘rove’ from ‘rover’, ‘grovel’ from ‘grovelling’ ‘orate’ from ‘oration’.

Shortening: It is a method of word- formation in which a new word is created by clipping suffixes. For example- ‘fridge’ from ‘refrigerator’, ‘pram’ from ‘perambulator’, ‘curio’ from ‘curiosity’, ‘photo’ for ‘photograph’, ‘wig’ for ‘periwig, ‘sport’ for ‘disport’ ‘spite’ for ‘despite’ etc. 

Conversion: It is a process of word-formation in which the word remains unchanged but the word is used in different parts of speech or in different grammatical functions. For example- the word ‘feature’ may be used as a noun, as a verb and as an adjective. The most common conversion is that of a noun into a verb as: bell, bridge, colour, ditch, ink, paper, stone etc. Words that can be used as nouns and verbs are as- sabotage, camouflage, enact etc.

Blending: In this process, the beginning of one word is added to the end of another and subtracts what is between. For example ‘flaunt’ is a blend of ‘flout’ and ‘vaunt’. Likewise ‘slide’ is a blend of ‘slip’ and ‘guide’; swirl’ is a blend of ‘twist’ and ‘whirl’; ‘galumphing’ is a blend of ‘gallop’ and ‘triumphing’. By this process, the vocabulary of English has immensely been enriched during the last hundred years or so.

Authors’ Contribution: Apart from the above-discussed processes, some authors since Geoffrey Chaucer to the present day, in their own right, have immensely contributed to the growth of the English word- stock. Chaucer was instrumental in introducing many important words which are still in vogue. Some of such words are: attention, duration, fraction, position and so on. During the early 16th century, Tyndale and Coverdale often created new English equivalents of original Greek and Hebrew while translating The Bible. From them, we have inherited the phrases like- loving kindness, morning star, kind hearted and so on. Likewise, William Shakespeare has contributed a lot of felicitous and poetic phrases to the vocabulary of English. For examples, we can quote such phrases, as- ‘cudgeling one’s brain’; ‘breathing one’s last’; ‘backing a horse’; catching a cold’ etc.

Thus by means of these processes discussed above many new words have been being created till the present day. 0 0 0

Essays on Linguistics

Sociolinguistics: Nature and Scope

Sociolinguistics is a branch of linguistics that studies the relationship between language and society with the goal of understanding the structure of language and of how language functions in communication. The study of sociolinguistics is partly empirical and partly theoretical. It is based on adequate data like census, documents, surveys and interviews. Conclusions are based on evidence and scientific analysis. 

Sociolinguistics studies everything about the relationship between language and society. The nature and the scope of sociolinguistics may be summarized below:

First, Sociolinguistics is a link between linguistics and social scientists. It is a meeting ground for them. They, often investigating both language and society, help us reflect on the nature of language and society and realize how in reality, the relationship between the two is inextricably interwoven.

Second, Sociolinguistics examines the variable nature of language. It believes that language is not a static entity but is dynamic. Language variation may be investigated at any of the levels- phonological, morphological, semantic etc. Variation may be due to a number of factors – like sex, age, geographical separation, education, social class, caste etc. Language can also vary according to the social context and situation. Sociolinguistics tries to examine and explain linguistic variation in terms of personal, geographical or social reason. 

Third, Sociolinguistics studies the cause and nature of unity in diversity both linguistically and socially. In India, there are as many as 1,652 spoken languages and there is enough good reason to believe that there is a good deal of diversity yet despite this diversity and linguistic variation, there seems to be some kind of underlying unity which take place quite easily. Sociolinguistics studies the mysteries behind this unity.

Fourth, Sociolinguistics regards language as a maker of group solidarity and group identity. An individual creates his identity in terms of the social group he belongs to. He shares certain social and linguistic norms with the other members of his group. Therefore, there is a sort of conformity to a social group. Yet the uniqueness of each individual’s experience of language and the society he belongs to enables him to filter his experience of a new situation in different ways and construct mental maps according to their own interpretation.

Fifth, Sociolinguistics uses language as a tool of power of social life, be it in education, media, religion, administration and so on. Language of the rich and the powerful often makes a standard variety at the cost of all varieties, which are in no way linguistically inferior. Sociolinguistics is getting concerned with such issues to bring about social change. 0 0 0

Essays on Linguistics

The Aspects of Bilingualism

Bilingualism refers to proficiency in the use of more than one language. Some linguistics has attempted the definitions of Bilingualism. But the satisfactory definition of Bilingualism has been put forward by Uriel Weinrich as follows:

“Bilingualism is the practice of using two languages simultaneously.”

Now we would bring into account the various aspects of Bilingualism, especially- the Types of Bilingualism, Purpose of Becoming a Bilingual, Domain or Scope of Bilingual and Consequences of Bilingualism as below:

A. Types of Bilinguals: The Bilinguals may be of three types, on the basis of the method of learning a second language as- Subordinate Bilingual, Co-ordinate Bilingual and Compound Bilingual. 

The Sub-ordinate Bilingual is a person who learns the second language through the grammar-translation method. He operates with a simple mechanism whereby the items of the first language are translated into the equivalent items of the second language. For example, a Sub-ordinate Bilingual of Hindi-English finds out the equivalent word for ‘kalam’ as ‘pen’ in English. Thus he always depends upon the translation method while functioning as a Bilingual. The Sub-ordinate Bilinguals are called Incipient Bilinguals.  Such Bilinguals obviously get minimal proficiency in the second language.

The Co-ordinate Bilingual is a person who operates with two separate semantic bases- one for the first language and the other for the second language. Thus, the Co-ordinate Bilingual does not take the procedure of item-to-item translation. He operates with two separate items (referents) and produces the matching linguistic signs in the two languages concerned. The intermediate learners of a second language can think in the second language as he thinks in his first language. They may be referred to as Partial Bilinguals.

The Compound Bilingual is a person who operates with a single semantic base and has complete control over the two linguistic codes. He can call up the items of the first language or second language without having to translate or without feeling that he is referring to two different items. The Compound Bilingual has native-like proficiency in two languages and feels equally at home in them.

B. Purpose of Becoming Bilingual: A Bilingual should have some apparent purpose of becoming so. The purpose of learning a second language may be as follows:

(i) For interacting formally and casually with the speakers of the second language. 

(ii) For purposes of higher education.

(iii) For getting access to both print and electronic media.

(iv) For professional and administrative purposes.

(v) For functioning as an ambassador.

(vi) For trade and commercial purposes.

(vii) For the purpose of getting access to the literature and culture of the second language. 

(viii) For the purpose of introducing with the peer groups.

C. The Domains or Scope of Bilinguals: There are several scopes of Bilinguals to which the Bilinguals may go into contact and operate their functions. These domains or scopes are-

(i) Family,

(ii) Neighbourhoods,

(iii) School or any other educational institutes,

(iv) Trade and commerce,

(v) Government and administration, 

(vi) Workplace,

(vii) Religion etc.

D.The Consequences of Bilingualism: Becoming a Bilingual we may have the following consequences, as- 

(i) Learning a second language enhances a person’s linguistic repertoire.

(ii) It makes him more skilled and versatile in communication.

(iii) It makes a Bilingual more open-minded.

(iv) Bilingualism increases a person’s store of knowledge. It makes him cultivate tolerance and a sense of brotherhood. 0 0 0

Essays on Linguistics 

The Factors influencing the Acquisition of a Second Langage

Language other than one’s mother tongue is called Second Language. Nowadays the importance of learning a second language has immensely increased. But learning a second language is not an easy task. A successful acquisition of a second language needs sheer determination, hard work, persistence and practice. However, there are some factors- both internal and external- that influence the acquisition of a second language. These factors are- Age, Sex, Personality, Motivation, Cognition, Same Language Family, Access to Native speakers and Intelligent. They are being discussed below:

Age: Second language acquisition is influenced by the age of the learner. The children who already have literacy skills in their mother tongues seem to be in the best position to acquire a second language efficiently. Motivated elder learners (adults) can be successful too. But they have to struggle to acquire native-like fluency in the second language.

Sex: Trudgill, a research scholar has found out that girls are better learners than boys. He argues that women are socially and economically less secure than men. They compensate for it linguistically. Society expects women to be more correct, discreet, quiet and polite and increases the pressure on them to use more correct and prestigious forms of language than men.

Personality: The researches have shown that the personality of a learner affects his skill in learning a second language. It is seen that introverted or anxious learners usually make slower progress, particularly in the development of oral skills than those learners who are extroverts. Introverted learners are likely to take advantage of opportunities to speak or to seek out such opportunities. But the extrovert and more outgoing students take more risks and thus give themselves too much practice.

Motivation: Intrinsic motivation correlates strongly with educational achievement. The students who enjoy learning a language and take pride in their progress can do better than those who don’t. For example, a person who needs to learn English to take the office of an ambassador or to communicate with a friend is likely to make a greater effort and thus gets greater progress.

Cognition: The term ‘cognition’ refers to the process of gaining knowledge through experience, thought and senses. Some linguistics believes that there is an especially innate language-learning ability that is stronger in some students than in others. And students having strong cognitive abilities can acquire a second language more easily.

Same Language Family: A learner who goes to learn a language that belongs to the same language family of his mother tongue can learn very easily than those who are not. For example, a child will learn Bengali more quickly and easily than English whose mother tongue is Hindi.

Access to Native Speakers: The opportunity to interact with native speakers both within and outside the classroom is a significant advantage. Native speakers are linguistic models and can provide appropriate feedback. They show progress, particularly in the oral and aural aspects of language acquisition.

Intelligence: Intelligence is usually conceived of as an ability to understand, to learn, and to think things out quickly. It consists of verbal ability, reasoning ability, concept formation ability etc. The students having more intelligence can acquire a second language more aptly and easily than those who don’t.

These are the principal factors that contribute to the acquisition of a second language.  0 0 0

Essays on Linguistics

A Brief Note on Morphology

Morphology is the study of the grammatical units of a language and of their formation into words including inflection, derivation and composition. Broadly speaking, Morphology is the study of the patterns of word forms. It studies-

(i) How the words are formed,

(ii) Where they originate from,

(iii) What their grammatical forms are, 

(iv) What the functions of prefixes and suffixes in the formation of words are,

(v) On what basis the parts of speech are formed,

(vi) How does the system of gender, number etc. function and

(vii) How and why the word forms change.

The morphological analysis is the observation and description of the grammatical elements in a language by studying their forms and functions. There are two main branches of Morphology: (1) Inflectional Morphology and (2) Derivational Morphology. 

Inflectional Morphology distinguishes different inflections of the same lexeme, whereas Derivational Morphology distinguishes different lexemes that are related to one another. But they both use the same range of morphological resources to do it. For example, ‘ing’ of ‘painting’ is inflectional in example no. (1)  and derivational in example no. (2) as given below:

(1) He was painting a picture.

(2 )We bought a painting.

In example no. 1 ‘painting’ is one of the four distinct forms of the lexeme “paint’ contrasting with –paint, paints and painted. 

In example no. 2 ‘painting’ is a distinct lexeme. It is a noun. Its two inflected forms are ‘painting and ‘paintings’.

The main differences between Inflectional and Derivational Morphology are- 

(i)Inflectional Morphology relates the forms of the same lexeme, and Derivational Morphology relates distinct lexemes.

(ii) Inflections are distinct word classes with distinct rules of grammar (there are rules that mention singular and plural) whereas derivational morphology creates new lexemes which are grammatically indistinguishable from underived members of the same word classes (e.g. apart from their morphology grammar does not distinguish derived nouns like ‘painting.

(iii) Inflectional Morphemes are always outside derivational one, e.g. the plural of ‘painting’ is ‘paintings’ not ‘paintsing’.

Inflectional Morphology is usually discussed in terms of ‘paradigms’ (Paradigm refers to a set of forms derived by the application of certain grammatical rules to lexical words). For example, the paradigm of the verb ‘break’ contains these forms: breaks, breaking and broken. Each of these forms is derived by the application of separate grammatical rules like- present tense form, past tense form and past participle form etc. Inflectional Morphology of English is discussed by describing the paradigms of all major grammatical categories. 0 0 0

Essays on Linguistics

Description and Classification of Consonants

The word ‘Consonant’ has been derived from the Greek word ‘Consonatum’ which means the sound produced with the help of some other sounds (vowels). Both the ancient Greeks and the Indians defined Consonant as a sound produced with the help of a vowel. But such a definition is faulty because there are some lateral and nasal consonants that can be produced without the help of a vowel. Hence a consonant has been defined by most modern linguists as a sound that is produced by a stoppage or partial stoppage of the breath.

A description of Consonant sounds, according to A. C. Grimon, must provide the answers to the following questions:

(i) Is the airstream provided by the lungs or by some other organs?

(ii) Is the air stream forced outward or drown inward?

(iii) Do the vocal cords vibrate or not?

(iv) Is the soft palate raised or lowered? 

(v) At what place does the articulation take place?

(vi) What is the manner of articulation? 

Consonant sounds are classified on the basis of (a) Voicing, (b) Manner of Articulation and (c) Place of Articulation. English Consonants are classified according to the place of articulation as given below:

Bilabial: The Bilabial Consonants are those consonants in the articulation of which the upper lip and the lower lip are involved. The consonants- b, p, m, w- belong to this class. For example, the initial sounds in the English words as- post, boast, meal, win etc.

Libido-dental: This class of consonants consists of those consonants in the articulation of which the active articulator is the lower lip and the passive articulator is the upper teeth. The letters- ‘f’ and ‘b’ are of this class as in ‘fat’, ‘bow’ etc.  

Dental: The Dental Consonants are those consonants in the production of which the active articulator is the tip of the tongue and the passive articulator is the upper teeth. The consonant ‘t’ in English is a dental consonant as in ‘thin’.

Alveolar: The Alveolar consonants are articulated with the blade of the tongue as the active articulator and the teeth ridge as the passive articulator. The consonants like- t, d, s, z, r, l, n- belong to this class. For example, the initial consonants in the English words as- tool, day sit, zoo, nail etc.

Post-alveolar: This class of consonants consists of those consonants in the articulation of which the active articulator is the tip of the tongue and the passive articulator is the rear part of the teeth ridge. For example, the consonant ‘r’ is post-alveolar as the initial in the word ‘red’.

Palate- alveolar: This class of consonants includes those consonants in the articulation of which the blade of the tongue acts as the active articulator and articulates against the teeth ridge which is the passive articulator. For example, the initial consonants in the English words – chop, just, ship etc.

Palatal: The Palatal consonants are produced with the front of the tongue as the active articulator and the hard palate as a passive articulator. For example, the initial consonants in the English word ‘yard’.

Velar: For the production of Velar Consonants the soft palate of the tongue becomes the active articulator and the back of the tongue becomes the passive articulator. For example, the final consonants in the English words as- rock, bag, ring etc.

Glottal: The Glottal Consonants refer to those consonants in the articulation of which the glottis (vocal cords) are used. For example, the initial consonant in the English word ‘hat’. 0 0 0

Essays on Linguistics

Types of Sentence in English

When a set of words are combined together under certain grammatical rules to express a complete sense is called a Sentence. In a sentence, there are two parts– subject and predicate. Again according to construction English sentences may be classified mainly into three types as- (i) Simple Sentence (ii) Compound sentence and (iii) Complex Sentence. Let us discuss these types of sentences in brief as below: 

Simple Sentence: A Simple Sentence is a sentence that has only one subject and a predicate. In other words, to say, Simple Sentence consists of only one independent clause and no subordinate clause. For example: 

God is good.

Come here. 

The above two sentences are simple sentences because they contain only one subject and a predicate. In the first sentence ‘God’ is the subject and ‘is good’ is a predicate. In the second sentence, ‘You’ (silent) is the subject and ‘come here’ is the predicate.

Again according to the mood, the simple sentences can be classified into two types as: (i) Simple Indicative Sentence and (ii) Simple Imperative Sentence. 

A Simple Indicative Sentence is a sentence that expresses a statement of a fact. For example:

Ram is a boy.

On the other hand, a Simple Imperative Sentence is a sentence that expresses an order, request, command, prayer, etc. The subject of a sentence in the Imperative Mood often remains silent. For example:

Do not make a noise. 

In the above sentence the subject ‘You’ remains silent.

Compound sentence: A Compound Sentence consists of two or more clauses of equal rank joined together by some coordinating conjunction. These clauses are independent of each other. For example:

Kamala is my sister and Kanak is my brother. 

The above-mentioned sentence has two clauses of equal rank as: (i) Kamala is my sister and (ii) Kanak is my brother. These two clauses are joined by the coordinating conjunction ‘and’. 

Complex Sentence: A sentence that contains one principal clause and one or more dependent  (subordinate) clauses is called a Complex Sentence. The principal clause stands by itself and makes complete sense. The subordinate clauses cannot stand by themselves but are dependent on the principal clause. They are joined together by subordinating conjunction. For example;

The young boy who came yesterday is my brother.

She came here when it was noon.

Kamala is a girl who is good. 0 0 0

Essays on Linguistics

Theories of Style: Monism, Dualism and Pluralism

‘Style’ refers to the characteristic manner or way of expression in prose or poetry- it is how a speaker or writer represents whatever he says. In brief, to say, it is a way or mood of expression. In any literary discourse ‘style’ is often taken into prominent consideration. Concerning style, three distinct theories have been given rise to by scholars. They are- (1) Monism, (2) Dualism and (3) Pluralism. Let us discuss these theories as below:

Monism: This theory of style advocates the inseparability of style and content. In other words to say, style and content are the same things. There is no distinction between the two. It holds the view that matter and manner are innate. Any endeavour to separate one from the other leads any literary piece to death. This theory believes that-

(i) It is impossible to paraphrase any literary writing.

(ii) It is impossible to translate a literary work.

(iii) It is impossible to set aside the appreciation of a literary work from the appreciation of its style. 

The advocators of this theory of style often quote the following lines from Shakespeare, as-

‘Come steeling night

Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day.’

(Macbeth, III, ii, 46)

The quoted lines are metaphorical. Every metaphorical saying bears two meanings: one surface meaning and the other is hidden (figurative meaning). But metaphor always denies a literal sense. Hence the writings as quoted above are impossible to paraphrase and translate. This theory holds well in poetry, though it finds its ground in prose also.

Dualism: This theory of style advocates that manner and matter or style of expression and content may be separable. Any literary piece is possible to be expressed in other words, phrases and language and thus contents and style of any literary work can be appreciated separately. Dualism is said to be of two kinds, as- (i) style as the dress of thought and (ii) style as a manner of expression.

One group of Dualists holds the view that language is used as the dress of thought.  In any case, the degree of style makes no difference to the content.

The other group of Dualists holds the view that style is a manner of expression. They believe that every writer necessarily makes the choice of expression while the substance or the content of the thought remains the same.

The main difference between Monism and Dualism is that the Monists equate the choice of expression with the choice of contents and allow no room for paraphrasing or translation. It trends to eliminate any discussion of language or style. On the other hand, the Dualists hold that there can be different ways of conveying the same content.

Pluralism: The third approach to style is called Pluralism. According to this theory, language performs a number of different functions, as-

(i) Referential,

(ii) Directive (or Persuasive), 

(iii) Emotive (or Social). 

For example, we can take the following sentence:

Are you getting better? 

The sentence may be interpreted under a variety of functions, as-

(i) Referential (referring to a person and his illness)

(ii) Directive (demanding a reply)

(iii) Emotive or Social (maintaining a bond of sympathy between the speaker and the hearer).

The Pluralists take account of the complexities of literature and its appreciation. It adopts tenets of both the Monist and the Dualist schools. It considers style in terms of the functions of language and accepts that a piece of literature can be multifunctional. 0 0 0

Essays on Linguistics 

Indianness in Indian English

The history of Indian English Literature began in 1830 with the publication of ‘Shair and Other Poems’ by Kashiprasad Ghose. Hence many Indian writers have come out boldly with their creative pens to give rise to an independent world of Indian English Literature like British English Literature, American English Literature, Australian English Literature, and so on. The Indian English Literature has employed many native linguistic ingredients in their writings besides cultural ingredients which have added the flavour of Indian-ness to their English writings and this process has been going on incessantly. The Indian linguistic elements to the English Language have been making their entries through a variety of ways as enumerated below:

First, many native words, phrases, and terms have got their entry through translation. For example, ‘Ishwar-prem’ is an Indian word that is translated by Mulk Raj Anand as ‘god-love’. Another phrase ‘namak-haram’ is translated as ‘spoiler of salt ‘by the same author. Various other examples of this kind are available in the writings of the Indian English writers. For examples we can quote these phrases like- ‘cow-worship’, ‘twice-born’, ‘car-festival’, caste-mark’, cousin-brother’, ‘waist-thread’ etc.

Secondly, many Indian words, and phrases especially proverb-like sayings have entered the Indian English Language by means of ‘shift’. A Shift is different from translation in the sense that in a shift no attempt is made to establish a formal equivalent. The following phrases and sentences may be treated as a shift which have been taken into the domain of Indian English, as-

(i) “May the fire of ovens consume you!”

(ii) “May the vessel of your life never float in the sea of existence.”

(iii) “A crocodile in a loin-cloth.”

Thirdly, there are many Indian phrases that have got their entries through collocation and deviation such as- ‘sister-sleeper’, ‘dining- leaf’, ‘flower-bed’, ‘rape-sister’ etc.

Fourthly, there are some English phrases especially British and American English phrases which have been used in Indian English in Indian-like reduced form. For example, we get such phrases as-

(i)‘An address of welcome’ in reduced form as ‘welcome address.’

(ii)‘A bunch of keys’ as ‘key-bunch.’

(iii)‘Love of god’ as god-love.’

Fifthly, many phrases pertaining to Indian culture have been connoted to Indian English. For example- ‘flower-bed’ (for ‘nuptial bed’), ‘alms-bowl’, ‘bath-fire’, betel-bag’, ‘cow-dung-cakes’, ‘leaf- plate’, ‘rice-eating- ceremony’, ‘sacred ash’, ‘reed- mat’, upper-cloth’, ‘village-elder’, ‘wedding-house’ etc.

Sixthly, we have some hybrid or mixed formations of some phrases in which one element is from native language and the other from British or American English. For examples, we can roughly quote these phrases as- ‘attar-bottle’, police-jamadar’, ‘congress-pandel’, ‘kumkum-mark’ ‘nazul-land’ etc. Thus in India, the English Language has blended with the social and cultural life of India and this blending has rendered the flavour of Indianness in Indian English Writings. 0 0 0

Essays on Linguistics

The End

Books of Composition by M. Menonimus:

  1. Advertisement Writing
  2. Amplification Writing
  3. Note Making
  4. Paragraph Writing
  5. Notice Writing
  6. Passage Comprehension
  7. The Art of Poster Writing
  8. The Art of Letter Writing
  9. Report Writing
  10. Story Writing
  11. Substance Writing
  12. School Essays Part-I
  13. School Essays Part-II
  14. School English Grammar Part-I
  15. School English Grammar Part-II..

Related Essays:




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I am Menonim Menonimus, a Philosopher & Writer.


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