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MEG-04: Aspects of Language

MEG-04: Aspects of Language

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

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Assignment Code: MEG-04 / TMA / 2022 -23

Course Code: MEG-04

Assignment Name: Aspects of language

Year: 2022 -2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


Attempt all the questions


1. Write short notes on the following: (2 x 10=20)


Q1. (i) Borrowings

Ans) Borrowing (also known as lexical borrowing) in linguistics is the process by which a word from one language is adapted for use in another. Borrowed words are referred to as borrowings, borrowed words, or loanwords.


Language borrowings occur when different ethnic groups speaking different languages come into contact for social, political, economic, or cultural reasons. To illustrate, when an ethnic minority lives in an area dominated by the host society, language assimilation, or as linguists refer to it, language shift occurs. In such a case, the language shift is influenced by pragmatic considerations such as the need to obtain a job, obtain an education, or engage in business.


Patterns of borrowing

Under the right conditions, any language borrows lexical material from other languages, usually absorbing the exotic items or translating them into native equivalents. Some languages borrow more than others, and some sources borrow more than others. English has borrowed heavily from French, Latin and Greek as well as significantly from Italian, Spanish, German, Danish, and Dutch, and to varying degrees from every other language it has come into contact with. The Cannon corpus of 13,683 new English words demonstrates that this process is ongoing.


Reasons for borrowing

Borrowing requires the following conditions: (1) close contact, especially in multilingual situations where mixing elements from different languages is more or less common. (2) The dominance of one language over another (for cultural, economic, political, religious, or other reasons), resulting in material flowing 'down' from 'high' languages into 'lower' vernaculars. (3) A sense of need, with speakers of one language borrowing material from speakers of another for purposes such as education and technology. (4) The prestige attached to using words from another language. (5) A combination of some or all of these.


When two languages come into contact, lexical and phonetic borrowings occur. Language contact occurs when different language groups interact, such as during colonisation, migration, trade, or occupation of new lands. Due to language contact, speakers of one language adopt words from the source language. Linguists call these words "loans". Borrowing is the adoption of source-language words. Cultural contact between two language groups causes borrowing. German tribes adopted Latin words after becoming familiar with the culture. Factors affecting lower and upper languages explain borrowing.


Economic, political, social, and cultural factors can motivate one ethnic group to borrow from another. Borrowing is motivated by the benefits of using new language material. Considering future values, borrowers adopt upper-language linguistic materials. Lexical borrowing, loan shifts, and loan translations are common.

Q1. (ii) Langue and Parole

Ans) The term "language" in French refers to the abstract, systematic rules and conventions of a signifying system; it is not dependent on the individual user and has existed before the user. It makes use of linguistic principles, the absence of which precludes the production of any meaningful utterance or parole.


According to Ferdinand de Saussure, the abstract structure or system of communicating meaning is referred to as langue, whereas the specific use of language is referred to as parole (speech). This concept is comparable to Noam Chomsky's notion of linguistic competence and performance. Chess is the game that De Saussure cites as an example of a game that can be played in an infinite number of ways because it is a language consisting of rules and functions (parole).


Because every possible parole is, without a doubt, determined by langue, de Saussure's distinction is significant due to the fact that it carries this connotation. When compared to langue, which only exists as a social entity and over which no one person has full control, parole is an individual concept. According to de Saussure, the primary focus of linguistic inquiry ought to be language because it is the foundation of all other linguistic activity. However, speech is still very important because the only way we can access the language is through its various idiosyncratic manifestations (parole).


The difference between langue and parole is significant for a number of other reasons as well, one of which is that de Saussure's structuralist view of language as an independent signification system centres on this distinction. The game of chess predates any actual game, and its rules are not determined by the participants in the game. If you make the mistake of using chess pieces to play checkers, no one will be able to or willing to play with you because they will think you are trying to play a different game. However, when we play chess or use language, we are concerned with the perspective relationships of the pieces within the context of the game's setting and the rules.


This is true whether we are speaking about chess or language. This brings us to the idea that de Saussure had of language being more of a system of inner relations between words and how they relate to one another than it was about referring to external reality. This indicates that there is a structure beneath everything we say that is responsible for determining whether or not it is possible.

Q 2. Discuss the description and classification of Consonants and Vowels. (20)


A. Description of Consonants

A consonant is an alphabet letter that represents a sound that can only be articulated with a vowel. This is not an exhaustive list because sibilant consonants like 'f' and 'z', as well as some laterals and nasals, can be pronounced without the aid of a vowel. As a result, the best definition of a consonant is a sound produced by a complete or partial stoppage of the breath. There are 24 consonants in Received Pronunciation (RP).


B. Classification of Consonants

1) Voiced and Voiceless Sound Components: The voiced sounds in English are L, b, d, g, v, z, d3, m, n, l, r, w. j/. All vocoids and semi-vowels are voiced sounds. In the case of consonants, some are voiced and some voiceless.


2) Place of Articulation: The classification of English consonants according to the place of articulation are as follows:

a) Bilabial Consonant: Whose place of articulation is the upper lip and the lower lip. Examples are /p, b, m, w/.

b) Alveolar Consonant: Whose place of articulation is between the alveolar (teeth) ridge and tip and blade of tongue. Examples of such consonants are /t, d, s, z, r, 1, n/.

c) Post-Alveolar Consonant: Whose place of articulation is hard palate and tip of tongue. Example of such consonant is /r/.

d) Palato-Alveolar Consonant: Whose place of articulation is hard palate alveolar and tip, blade, and front of tongue. Examples of such consonants are /f, 3, t, f, d3/.

e) Palatal Consonant: Whose place of articulation is the hard palate and front of tongue. Example of such consonant is /j/.

f) Velar Consonant: Whose place of articulation is the soft palate and back of tongue. Examples of such consonants are /K, g, n/.

g) Glottal Consonant: Whose place of articulation is the glottis or the vocal cords. Example of such consonant is /h/.


3) Manner of Articulation: Consonants may be classified according to the manner of articulation as follows:

a) Plosives: The sound is produced by some forms of complete stopping of air stream and the letting it goes by sudden force. Such consonants are known as plosives. Those sounds are divided in three categories – bilabial plosive, alveolar plosive, and velar plosive.

b) Affricate: The sounds that are produced by some form of complete stopping of the air stream and then letting it go slowly such sounds produce in same friction are known affricate. Like /d3/, /3/.

c) Nasals: While articulating of such sounds, the velum is lower, and the air stream is allowed to flow through the nose/nasal cavity. So, the sounds are known as nasal sounds.

d) Lateral: The air comes from lungs and passed though sides of the tongue and produces certain sounds are known as lateral. Sound like /l/.

e) Approximants / Semi-vowel: The articulation of each is strongly influenced by flowing vowel sound. So, the sounds are also called some time semi-vowels. The sounds /w/, /j/, are sometime called ‘semi-vowels’ or ‘glides’ because they are typically produced with the tongue moving or gliding to or from the position of nearby vowels both /w/, /j/, are voiced. Like we, wet, you, yes.

f) Fricatives: The sounds that are articulated with a structure of close approximation are called fricative. The soft palate raises to shut off nasal cavity and the lung-air escapes through the narrow space between the active and the passive articulators.


A. Description of Vowels

A vowel is a syllable of speech that is pronounced without the use of a stricture in the vocal tract. Vowels are one of the two major types of speech sounds, the other being consonants. The quality, loudness, and quantity of vowels vary (length). They are typically voiced and play an important role in prosodic variation such as tone, intonation, and stress.


B. Classification of Vowels

Vowels are pronounced with open approximation:

  1. allowing the airflow to exit unhindered.

  2. produced in a smaller area of the vocal tract (the palatal & velar regions)

  3. vowels are voiced


Vowels can be classified by answering three questions

1) How high is the tongue?

High- mid - low

2) What part of the tongue is involved?

Front- central- back

3) What is the position of the lips?

Rounded or unrounded


Other factors

  1. Vowel length: how long the vowel lasts

  2. Nasality: whether the velum is raised or lowered

  3. Monophthong vs. Diphthong: whether or not the tongue remains in the same position.

The Vowel Space

  1. Vowel space establishes the limit of vowel articulation

  2. If the tongue is higher than the highest point, or further back than the furthest back vowel, a

  3. consonant is pronounced.


Cardinal Vowels

  1. unrounded

  2. rounded

  3. doesn’t represent an accurate anatomical diagram of the vowel space

  4. not necessarily the vowels of a particular language


Further classifications

  1. vowel Length indicated by (:, or doubling symbol); e.g., vowel is ‘seat’ is longer than the one in ‘sit’ ([i:] vs. [ɪ])

  2. Vowel length is not major in distinguishing between vowels in English

  3. monophthongs: vowels that are steady (e.g., see) [i:]

  4. diphthongs: involve tongue movement; (e.g., sigh; low front to

  5. high front) ([aɪ]’sky’, [ɔɪ] ‘boy’, [aʊ] ‘cow’, [eɪ] ‘face’)

  6. nasal vowels: with a lowered velum (when precedes a nasal stop); e.g., ‘bean’

  7. oral vowels: with a raised velum.


Q 3. Why is language planning essential in any country? What are the factors which influence language planning? (20

Ans) "Language planning is deliberate language change; that is, changes in the systems of language code or speaking or both that are planned by organisations that are established for such purposes or given a mandate to fulfil such purposes," write Rubin and Jernudd. As a result, language planning is problem-focused and characterised by the formulation and evaluation of alternatives for solving language problems in order to make the best decisions."


Many countries have language policies that encourage or discourage the use of a specific language or set of languages. Although nations have traditionally used language policies to promote one official language over others, many countries now have policies in place to protect and promote regional and ethnic languages whose viability is threatened. Indeed, while the presence of linguistic minorities within their jurisdiction has frequently been viewed as a potential threat to internal cohesion, states recognise that providing language rights to minorities may be more in their long-term interests, as a means of increasing citizens' trust in the central government.


Language policy is what a government does, either officially through legislation, court decisions, or policy, to determine how languages are used, cultivate language skills required to meet national priorities, or establish individuals' or groups' rights to use and maintain languages. In practise, the scope of language policy varies from state to state. This could be explained by the fact that language policy is frequently based on speculative historical reasons.

The Factors Influencing Language Planning

Since language planning does not take place in a social vacuum, several factors may affect language planning. These may be:

1. Socio-Demographic Factors

Socio-demographic factors such as the number of languages spoken, the number of speakers, and the geographical distribution of those languages.  The socio-demographic factor refers to the number of language speakers and their geographical distribution. Language planners usually take into account not only the majority language but also the minority languages.


2. Linguistic Factors

Linguistic factors that primarily concern the status and character of a language, as well as the similarities and differences between them. Linguistic factors are those that must be considered on the part of a language in relation to other languages. It is concerned with the status and characteristics of a language, as well as the similarities between languages. Such considerations would explain why a speech community, such as a country, would prefer a language like English over a language like Chinese.


3. Socio-Psychological Factors

Socio-psychological factors that, in the broadest sense, concern people's attitudes toward a language. The attitudes can be expressed in terms of both the social meanings associated with various languages and the social distribution of languages within the speech community.


4. Politico-Economic Factors

Politico-economic factors play a significant role in the success or failure of language planning. Political factors are considerations that link a country's overall policy to its language policy. It is not an exaggeration to say that the government is the primary actor in the language planning process. Language planning is used by the government to achieve other goals such as political stability and economic benefits from other countries (s). The government also funds the implementation of any language policy.


5. Religious Factors

Religious factors relating to the relationship between language and religion, and, more specifically, the use of local languages in the spread of religion Another factor that can influence language planning is religion. When a language exists, it does not exist in isolation; it is accompanied by a culture. Culture refers to a group of people's beliefs, ways of life, customs, art, and social organisation. Learning about the culture to which a specific language is attached is essential for planning such a language, particularly in corpus planning.


6. PR Factors

People who own a territory's languages should also be considered in language planning. If the argument that language is the people who use it is any guide, then an examination of the people who use the language will never be out of the question.

Q 4. Do you agree with the ‘one language: one community’ theory? What other factors, apart from language, may determine one’s identification with a speech community? (20)

Ans) A speech community is a group of people who follow rules for speaking and interpreting at least one type of language or shoptalk. The term can refer to a neighbourhood, a megacity, a region, or a country. We are all members of at least one speech community.


The primary speech community we belong to is the one we participate in with our primary caregivers (typically our parents) and serves as the foundation for some of the most intimate and long-term connections we form throughout our lives. The rules and morals of this speech community manifest themselves in a shoptalk referred to as the conversational, the most basic variety or shoptalk of language we command. Our conversational speech is the least susceptible to monitoring and the least likely to change over time. Most of us have been immersed in language since our first awareness of the world around us. We presumably hear our first sounds before we take our first breath because babies can hear their mother's voice and the noises and relationships in her terrain in the womb. One community, one language We target the sounds that form the phonology of our language or shoptalk in our prattling fairly early in our development.


Our mama adjusts her speech in conversation with us to reflect the phonology, morphology, semantic, and syntactic connections that we're learning. Indeed, our conversational speech serves as the foundation for all future verbal commerce and development. Throughout our lives, we will participate in, build, engage in, and possibly abandon numerous speech communities. Nobody else will be as important. The language of this primary communication is our conversational speech. We are introduced to our culture, heritage, and ways of being that are important in our development as members of the mortal community through this community. It is the foundation of our adult identity. That's why conversational speech is often referred to as "mama lingo." It's the way our teachers speak to us in one language, one community. It is also the mother of (the foundation for) the development of other forms of speech.


Factors that Determine One’s Identification with a Speech Community

Speech communities are groups of people who have similar values and attitudes toward language use, varieties, and practises. These communities emerge as a result of long-term interaction among those who operate within these shared and recognised belief and value systems regarding communication forms and styles.


While we are born with the ability to learn language, we do so within the context of cultures and societies that frame the process of learning how to communicate with others. This framing used to take place solely through face-to-face interactions within speaker communities. Constant relocation, mass migration, transmigration, ever-evolving technology, and globalisation have transformed many societies, necessitating more detailed descriptions and theories about the nature of speech communities.


This type of individual strategy can be understood in a bi-multilingual setting by using the example of a tribal child. Assume a Munda speaker learns Munda as his/her first language, then a variety of Hindi, and finally standard Hindi and English through formal education. There are now identity options for this tribal individual. She/he can claim Munda speech community membership or project himself/herself as a member of the Hindi speech community or the speech community represented by the dialect of Hindi used in his/her region or neighbouring region.


Imagine this person travelling to America and settling down, speaking only English most or all of the time. This would give his/her language identity a new dimension. After about twenty years in America, she completely abandons his/her Munda identity, partially employs his/her Hindi identity, and operates primarily with his/her English identity. To members of the English-speaking community, she will always be an outsider - an Indian, a Hindi speaker, or a tribal Munda speaker.


Individuals are constantly redefining their linguistic identities and relocating themselves in relation to this or that speech community, as well as in relation to different sub-groups within a large, diverse, and widely dispersed speech community. Individuals within speech communities tend to have local, regional, and national identities and thus situate themselves in relation to smaller or larger speech groups or speech communities.

Q 5. What do you think is the role of English vis-à-vis the Indian languages in modern India? (20)

Ans) Language policy after independence was expected to be pro-vernacular rather than pro-English. Because English has been made the medium of instruction in all higher branches of learning, a permanent divide has been created between the highly educated few and the uneducated many, according to Mahatma Gandhi, who expressed concern about the negative effects of early English education as early as 1937. It has stifled the spread of knowledge among the general public. The overvaluation of English has burdened the educated class, mentally maiming them for life and making them strangers in their own country.


The Indian Constitution superseded the Government of India Act of 1935. Article 343 of the Indian Constitution designated Hindi in Devanagari script as the official language of the Union, making the country's bilingual situation officially trilingual. An integrated language policy has become even more important for educational, cultural, and political reasons. The specific issue was the need to introduce the vernacular while keeping English as a library language, a medium of higher education, a link language, and the official language.


This necessitated English proficiency, but the importance of English study had to be reduced. Numerous controversies arose as a result of the language issue, and the Government of India established various education commissions, language commissions, and study groups to find a solution. The Indian Constitution of 1950 recognised fourteen Indian languages, with Hindi serving as the first. Until 1965, English was supposed to serve as a transitional language.


This ambivalence toward English may be due to both post-independence language policies and English's inherent position in relation to Indian languages. As a result, while the majority of commissions advocated for the use of Indian languages as mediums of instruction in the post-British period, they all advocated for English to be preserved as a "library language."


English is now constitutionally recognised as the Associate National Official Language and as an inter-regional link language; educationally, it is recognised as an essential component of formal education and as the preferred medium of learning, with specialised science and technology education only available in English. It's a symbol of culture, education, and prestige. Politics and society value English and recognise its enormous potential, creating a high demand for English-speaking Indian bi- or multilinguals. Globalization has increased English's value. English is here to stay.


Role and Importance of English in India

English plays a significant role as an international language. According to the British Council, by 2020, approximately two billion people worldwide will be able to speak and understand English.


Importance of English language in India

  1. English is the world’s leading language. Out of 19000+ languages, English is spoken in every part of India.

  2. Union Government Records are written in Hindi and English. Other State Governments have records written in the State’s official language and English.

  3. English is essential to the field of education. From primary to higher education in India, almost all books are in English.

  4. In the era of digitalization, English is a must for online international business.

  5. In freelancing, India ranks as the 2nd largest freelance workforce after the US with over 15 million people working independently in various sectors and they can’t work without knowing English.

  6. English is important because it is the Language of International Communication.

  7. English is the language of the web. Over 565 million individuals use the web each day, and about 52% of the world’s most visited sites are shown in English.

  8. Numerous movies, TV shows, books, and music are produced in English. By getting to these media, you will likewise consistently improve your English communication and understanding abilities.

  9. It gives you an open way to the world and assists you with speaking with worldwide residents. If you meet somebody from another country, you can both communicate only in English.

  10. The English language makes it a lot simpler to travel anyplace. Visiting out to a country where you don’t communicate in your language helps you understand English.

  11. English upgrades your psychological, scientific, cognition capacities, and it can make you more imaginative.

  12. Learning English isn’t just helpful; however, it gives gratification and will allow you to feel extraordinary.

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