A. Language in Use
The language we speak or write is governed by a number of rules, styles and constraints.
We use many different ways to communicate depending on the situation or media. For example: SMS, letters, Chat, email etc.
Pronunciation and intonation are also taken into account.
B. What we want to say
The words we use and what they actually mean inthe context we use them are not the same thing at all. There is no one-to-one correspondence, in other words, between word and meaning. For Example:
Me: You’re in a no-smoking zone. Is the student really thanking her lecturer for
Female Student: Am I? giving her the info she didn’t have before? Or
Me: The whole building’s ano-smoking zone. does her Thanks very much really mean
Female Student: Thank you very much. sorry?
B1. Form and Meaning
There are many ways of saying the same thing. This point is very well exemplified by the different ways we have of expressing the future in English. For example:
I will arrive at eight o’clock. (a simple statement of fact)
I’m arriving at eight o’clock. (= that’sthe arrangement I have made)
I’m going to arrive at eight o’clock (= that’s my plan)
I arrive at eight o’clock (= that’s the itinerary)
The choice of which way to use will depend not only on meaning, but what purpose we wish to achieve.
J L Austin identified some verbs which he call “perfomatives” that is verbs which do what those name word mean. Example:
I Promise : theword promise itself performs the function of promising)
The idea that language performs certain function is not restricted to the “perfomative” verbs.
This is a no-smoking area: Might have the purpose of having somebody put out a cigarette.
The study of functions and how they are realized in language, has had a profound effect upon the design of language teaching materials, makinglanguage purpose a major factor in the choice of syllabus items and teaching techniques.
B3. Appropriacy and register.
A feature of language functions is that they do not just have one linguistic realization; thus, we have to choose which language form to use according to the situation.
Six of the variables which govern our choice are listed below:
Setting: we speak differently depending onthe place. We often use informal language at home, whereas we may use more formal speech in an office.
Participants: the people involved in an exchange clearly affect the language being chosen.
Gender: Men and women usually use language differently.
Channel: there are marked differences between spoken and written language.
Topic: the topic we are addressing affects our lexical andgrammatical choices.
Tone: the tone includes variables as formality and informality, politeness and impoliteness.
C. Language as text and discourse
Grammar and vocabulary are vital components of language, we also need to look at language at the level of text or discourse (that is texts which are longer than phrases or sentences)
C1. Discourse Organization
In order for collections of sentences orutterances to succeed effectively the discourse needs to have cohesion and coherence.
Coherence: text needs to be in the right order or at least make sense.
Cohesion: the elements in the text must cohere or stick to each other to help us navigate our way around the stretch of discourse.
-Lexical Cohesion: Repetition of words.
- Grammatical Cohesion: It’s achieved by anumber of ways.
1. Anaphoric Reference: where we use pronouns, for example, to refer back to things
that have already been mentioned.
2. Substitution: Use a phrase to refer to something we have already written.
A genre is a type of written organization and layout (such as an advertisement, a letter, a poem, a magazine article,...