Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-99c86f546-qdp55 Total loading time: 0.294 Render date: 2021-11-27T04:00:49.661Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

1 - Grammatical form

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2012

Paul R. Kroeger
Affiliation:
Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics, Dallas
Get access

Summary

Form, meaning, and use

Why do people talk? What is language for? One common answer to this question is that language is a complex form of communication, and that people talk in order to share or request information. That is certainly a very important use of language, but clearly it is not the only use.

For example, what is the meaning of the word hello? What information does it convey? It is a very difficult word to define, but every speaker of English knows how to use it: for greeting an acquaintance, answering the telephone, etc. We might say that hello conveys the information that the speaker wishes to acknowledge the presence of, or initiate a conversation with, the hearer. But it would be very strange to answer the phone or greet your best friend by saying “I wish to acknowledge your presence” or “I wish to initiate a conversation with you.” What is important about the word hello is not its information content (if any) but its use in social interaction.

In the Teochew language (a “dialect” of Chinese), there is no word for ‘hello’. The normal way for one friend to greet another is to ask: “Have you already eaten or not?” The expected reply is: “I have eaten,” even if this is not in fact true.

Type
Chapter
Information
Analyzing Grammar
An Introduction
, pp. 1 - 6
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2005

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

  • Grammatical form
  • Paul R. Kroeger, Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics, Dallas
  • Book: Analyzing Grammar
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511801679.002
Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

  • Grammatical form
  • Paul R. Kroeger, Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics, Dallas
  • Book: Analyzing Grammar
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511801679.002
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Grammatical form
  • Paul R. Kroeger, Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics, Dallas
  • Book: Analyzing Grammar
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511801679.002
Available formats
×