Linguistics As The Scientific Study Of Language

Categories: English Subject

History of English started many years back. Old English 3500-2500 BC was the start of Western Indio European Distribution of English. It started as a language that was basic, simple and earthy. It was used by farmers, and people from the village. Middle English 1066-1500 was the start of the Latin language of church and education. It represented poor and powerless, working class people, and farmers. Early Modern English 1500-1700 started with Queen Elizabeth and Shakespeare. Shakespeare claimed that through his plays, English was the language of the people.

Late Modern English 1700-Present was the global spread of English from the colonization of New England to the space age. English is constantly Changing and is known as the kaleidoscope of dialects. Below is a family tree of how English has evolved.

Linguistic Features

Linguistics is the scientific study of language. This also included sign language. It involves explorations of the essence of language variability, language change over time, how language is interpreted and retained in the brain and how young children learn this.

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Along with studying linguistics, we should pay attention to the etymology of words. Etymology is the history of words, their origins and how they have changed their form and meaning over time.

There are several features when it comes to linguistics that I will be discussing. Morpho-Syntactic, which consists of the structure of words and sentences. Phonetics deals with people making speech sounds, often without advanced knowledge of the language being spoken. Phonology is about sound patterns, particularly different sound patterns in different languages, or varying sound patterns in different word positions within each language.

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Semantics is the study and interpretation of how language is used to create meaning in a figurative and literal context. Native and Nonnative English Speakers

Subject 1 is a 47 year old man from Mercedes Umana, El Salvador as my non native English speaker to research on. He was born in 1964. He works as a property supervisor. He currently lives in Texas, USA and has been there for 25 years. He is the only member of his family that speaks english. Subject 2 is a native English speaker, a 60 year old Jewish male from New York City, Harlem. He was born July 06, 1940, he works as a financial consultant and has a masters degree in Economics.

Morphology and Syntactic Analysis

Morphology Analysis

Listening to both recordings several times, it was a bit complicated. They both have different styles of talking. Subject 2 (New Yorker) read the passage with ease. He didn’t pause as much. As for my subject 1(El Salvador), it sounded like he felt nervous reading. He had to stop to try to pronounce the word. He even tried to correct what he said. His accent is very distinct, so it causes some of his words to seem like they are missing vowels.

As stated in the book, “ Languages make an important distinction between two kinds of words-content and function words.” (pg 35) As we see below how a lot of words can be changed in their meanings by just changing the root of a word. I have included some samples of how a root word can change its meaning:

Roots: the main word

Work, Sentiment , Near

Derivational: carries related meaning to the content, change the grammatical class of a word

Sentimental SENTIMENT + AL – root with derivational suffix

Sentimentally, sentimentalism

Inflectional : mark grammatical function

Nearer NEAR+ER root with inflectional suffix

Nearest, nears

With my subjects, listening to how they speak and pronounce their words, I had to take into account the little bit of differences in their words as they sounded them out. How adding simple suffixes and prefixes to words can change how my subjects would interpret that word.


The rules to Syntax is to combine words into phrases and the phrases into sentences. This helps with the correct word order for a language. This “specify the grammatical relations of a sentence such as subject and direct object.” (pg 77) When creating a sentence, it needs to tell who is doing what to whom. Both my subjects could follow what they are reading and understand the order of words. I have included a tree diagram of one of the sentences that was read in “Comma Gets A Cure.” Tree diagrams help to break down sentences and how they are formed. Each word of the sentence breaks down into nouns, verbs and prepositions. It also includes determiners.

In my analysis, both my subjects were capable of understanding what they were reading. My non-native English speaker did struggle more on the pronunciation of the words. When listening to subject one’s free description of himself, he speaks out of order in his sentences. He doesn’t talk in a complete sentence. At times, I noticed he uses broken sentences that are not constituents. For example, he says in the dialect, “Is little country but rich and um, and my food.”( When breaking down this sentence, my subject didn’t follow the rules on the grammatical relationship of a subject and its direct object. He also used the word “Um” because his English was not very good, he stuttered on speaking.

The Native English speaker spoke with confidence. When speaking, he pronounced every word and spoke at a slow pace. He didn’t stutter when describing himself. His speaking was a lot different from my non native speaker.

Phonetics Phonology Analysis


Through my analysis, I noticed the subjects place their tongues in different locations in their mouth when saying words. The place of articulation “creates the constriction, reshaping the oral cavity in various ways to produce the various sounds.” Listening to them speak, I can hear the difference in how they place their lips and tongues when pronouncing words. It creates different sounds. My non native speaker uses his palatals when he is trying to say the word zoo. His “z” sounds more like a “sh” sound. If you see below, I have listed some examples of the words that both my subjects used. As you can see the similarity in the first word is the same sounds. As we look down the list, they tend to branch off in different pronunciations and positions of their tongue to create the sounds of these words.

El Salvador : New York:

Comma: /Kama/ /Kama/

Warned: /wirnd/ /wə(shaw)nd

Story: /Istori/ /stoi/

Zoo: /ʃu/ /zu/

If my non-native speaker speaks in English the main cause of communication breakdown is mispronounced or mistaken phonemes. There are segment problems that create more issues than grammar, vocabulary or some of the other potential pitfalls when non- speakers use English. Emphasis on supra-segmentals can be overstated, since these features of spoken English only come into play when a native speaker is one of the conversation partners. Considering the status of English as a global language and the fact that my subject one is likely to use non-native English with native speakers, we need to understand the importance of teaching them to detect the difficult sounds and to produce them.

Vowels and consonants are viewed as the segments which make up speech. They form syllables together which in effect compose words. There are other elements superimposed on the syllables that include the stress and pitch variations. Length variations are often commonly called sound features, although they can affect single segments as well as syllables as a whole. All the sound characteristics are distinguished by the fact that they are to be represented in the same utterance in relation to other objects. It is the relative values of the significant pitch, duration, or degree of stress of an object.


From listening to my non native and native english speakers, I noticed subject one had more stress on a lot of his words he spoke. He turned some of the speech into questions. He did struggle with pronouncing some of the words which caused him to strain a little more on the words. He tends to stutter when he speaks. His accent is very strong so you can hear is native spanish side come out as he speaks the words. For subject two, he is a New Yorker. He doesn’t stutter in his speech. He has a slight accent that seems italian maybe but it doesn’t slow him down on what he is reading. He sounds similar to how I would read the story. Here are some samples of what how they stress their words and break up syllables:

Sub 1: Wéll, here’s a+story for you: Saráh Pérry was a vet + ér +i nary nursé who had been wor+king da+íly at an old zoo in a dés+erted dís+trict of the ter+ritry, so she wás véry hap+py to stárt a new job at the supér+b príva+te practice in North Sq+uare néarr Dúke Streét Tówer.

Sub 2: Well, here’s a story for you: Sarah Perry was a vet+erinary nurse who had been working daily at an old zoo in a deserted district of the territory, so she was very happy to start a new job at the superb private practice in North Square near Duke Street Tower.

Sub 1: That área was much néa+rer for her and more to her li+kíng.

Sub 2: That area was much nearer for her and more to her liking.

Sub 1: Even so, on hér first mor+ning, she felt s+tréss+ed.

Sub 2: Even so, on her first morning, she felt stressed.

Sub 1: She ate a bowl of porrí+d+gé, ch+écké+d herself in the mirror and washed her face in a húrry.

Sub 2: She ate a bowl of porr+idge, checked herself in the mirror and washed her face in a hurry.

I have found that listening to both passages from my subjects, they generally stress a lot on their vowels so as to enhance the ability to grow their language skills. As stated in our textbook, “The phonological rules in a language show that the phonemic shape of words is not identical with their phonetic form.” (pg 255) Both subjects stressed their words in different areas. Subject one is learning the English language, so a lot of the function marks are on the vowels. Subject one stressors more when he is speaking on those particular letters. Both native and non-native English speakers have struggled in how words come together. More so the non native speaker has a challenge before him. Having to speak in a second language, it is not the same as operating in a native language. It is expected to have effects for how information is obtained, how it is perceived and how it is used while communicating with others of second language speakers.


I learned from listening to both passages from my subjects that the general reason for teaching them English is to improve the subjects ability to develop proficiency in their vocabulary. All native and non-native English speakers possess their own strengths and weaknesses. The biggest distinction between the two classes is that native speakers have a broader background as language users, and non native speakers have a background as language learners. Linguistics helped me to better understand how different cultures learn and say certain words. It helps gain a better understanding and overall approach on how I will teach my future students. As well as the expectations on their work and assignments.

From what I have learned, both the non-native English and native English speakers are engaged with their linguistic varieties in defining and influencing their culture . Their primary emphasis is on attempts to mold themselves to overcome the challenges they experience in their learning environment. It became apparent through this analysis that many of the factors influencing the relationship between non-native speakers and native speakers often influence how they learn to speak English.

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Linguistics As The Scientific Study Of Language. (2022, Apr 26). Retrieved from

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