Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412939584 | Print ISBN: 9780761930877 | Online ISBN: 9781412939584| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Language Theories and Processes
All linguistic theories describe language as a learned system of sounds having an arbitrary value that meets a social need to communicate. This system is comprised of units, or subsystems, that are embedded into each other. Sounds are combined to produce words, words are combined to produce utterances, and utterances are combined to produce discourse. More precisely, these subsystems can be classified as follows: phonology —the sounds of a language; orthography —the ways in which language is organized in a written text, including systems of punctuation, capitalization, and paragraphing; graphophonics —the relationship between the sound systems of language and the written systems of language; syntax or grammar —the study of the systematic ways in which words are organized and related to one another for meaning to occur; semantics —the study of vocabulary and how words and phrases relate to objects and ideas; pragmatics —the study of the ways in which ...