Category Archives: Studies in English

Studies in English 1, week 5: May 18th, 2012

Map of structural linguistics
Map of structural linguistics

Today, we

  1. finished reading chapter 2 about “What is Language?”
  2. translated the definition of language from the textbook: “Language is a patterned system of arbitrary sound symbols, whose characteristic features of displacement, cultural transmission, productivity and duality are rare or absent in animal communication.”
  3. Copied the Ayn Rand quote and its Japanese translation:

Homework:

  1. Find out about
    1. Edward Sapir
    2. Aristotle
    3. Plato
    4. Dionysus Thrax
    5. Alexandria
    6. the Tower of Babel story
    7. William Jones
  2. leave a comment here on this blog: how much do you understand of the textbook and the teacher’s talk? And what is your overall impression of this class? In either English or Japanese. By next Thursday. Thank you.

 

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Studies in English 1, week 4: May 11th, 2012

productivity in linguistics means the ability to create new words and concepts
productivity in linguistics means the ability to create new words and concepts

Today, we

  1. read chapter 2, “What is Language?” of “General Linguistics”, and summarised the following sections:
    1. Variety of message, Organization of sounds and Human Language versus Animal Communication.
  2. We answered the following questions:
    1. What does “productivity” mean?
      1. A:  “Most animals have a very limited number of messages that they can give or receive. A human can produce an incalculable number of new combinations from the elements of his language. Language can cope with entirely new situations by adding new items. Only human language is capable of dealing with unforeseen and novel situations.”
    2. What does “duality” mean?
      1. A: “Most animals can use each basic sound only once.  The number of messages an animal can send is restricted to the number of basic sounds. Each human language has a stock of sound units or phonemes which are similar in number to the basic sounds possessed by animals, between thirty and forty. These phonemes are in themselves meaningless, but they are combined into larger meaningful units or morphemes. The number of possible morphemes is enormous- an educated man might use up to 100 000, according to one calculation. This organisation of sounds into two layers, one of phonemes and one of morphemes, is known as duality or double articulation. Duality means that language is a much more powerful tool than animal communication systems, since the mathematical possibilities of combinations of morphemes are incalculable.”

Homework:

  1. Find a famous book by these two famous linguists and their Japanese translation, and write their details down using the MLA format in the handout provided.
    1. Ferdinand de Saussure
    2. Noam Chomsky

      Duality of Patterning, from http://www.uni-due.de/DI/REV_Linguistics.htm
      Duality of Patterning, from http://www.uni-due.de/DI/REV_Linguistics.htm

 

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Studies in English 1, week 3: April 27th, 2012

Ferdinand de Saussure
Ferdinand de Saussure (photo taken sometime before 1913)

Today, we

  1. read again chapter 1 of “General Linguistics” by Jean Aitchison and answered these questions
    1. what is linguistics?
    2. Why is linguistics a science?
    3. What is the difference between prescriptive and descriptive?
    4. Why do linguists think that speech is more important than writing?

Homework:

  1. Who was Ferdinand de Saussure?
  2. What is language?
  3. What is the difference between form and substance in linguistics?
  4. What is the difference between language and communication?

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Studies in English 1, week 2: April 20th, 2012

cherry blossom along the Kamogawa river, Kyoto, April 2012
cherry blossom along the Kamogawa river, Kyoto, April 2012

Homework:

Summarise what we read today – the beginning of chapter 2 of “Linguistics” by Jean Aitchison – in 5-8 English sentences.

 

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Welcome to Sheffner’s 2012 Studies in English I

The scope of linguistics
The scope of linguistics

Today, we read chapter 1 of “General Linguistics” by Jean Aitchison.

The scope of linguistics
The scope of linguistics

Homework

  1. Send me an email
  2. Leave a comment here. The comment is your answer to question 5: “What is language?
The scope of linguistics
The scope of linguistics

Students’ self-intros (see more in the comments):

  1. I’m 19 years old. I live in shiga, so I go to college by train. I have never belonged to any club but I go to ballet lesson everyday. When I was 4 years old, I started ballet. I love ballet very much. I have been to abroad to study ballet in summer school since I was elementary student. I like traveling abroad so I want to study English harder. I’m looking forward to study linguistics this year.
  2. Hello! I attend Studies in English A. I’m going to introduce myself to you.
    I’m nineteen years old. I live alone in Kyoto. My hometown is Shiga. There is Lake Biwa. It is the biggest lake in Japan. Shiga is a country. I am a country-bred youth. We are a family of five. My mother, my father, my old brother and my grandmother. We are as thick as thieves. I’m going to go back Shiga at next Golden Week.
    I have a part-time job. I work at a resort hotel near my house. And I work at restaurant in the hotel. I served our guests a dish. This is harder than I expected. But I work for a living.
    I often go shopping. I love shopping! I spend my holiday in Shijo. Shijo is a busy street in Kyoto. There are a lot of stores.
    I like English. But I’m not good at English so much.
    I’ll do my best!
  3. Hello, please call me Akane. Im from Kyoto, but not Kyoto city. My city’s name is Kameoka, and it takes about 45 minutes to go to college! I like listening to music, watching Japanese movies, and reading books, surfing internet with my lovely PCs! I can do all of them in my room 🙂 My aim is reading 10 books a month, but in fact, I can do 5~6. When next day is a holiday, I watch a movie with drinking alcohol in midnight alone, then dislike watch them with someone. How about you?
    When I was sophomore, I stayed in London for a month. I had to go to language school, but… I went shopping, sightseeing, and chatting with my friends every day! It was for the first time to go abroad by alone, but I had very good time and got valuable experiences. Thank you for reading!
  4. My name is Tanaka. I’m 19 years old. I’m from Osaka. Now I live in Kyoto. Recently I have been healed in the toy poodle in the house of grandma. Dog name is Koron and Ran. Two dog is so cute. I’ve been a fan of KARA Korean idol. My hobby is shopping and eating out with friends and family. Thank you.
  5. My name is Fujimori.I’m 19 years old.There are three in my family. I have a sister. She is 18 years old. I like music. So, I belong to light music club. There are six in my band. My part is bass. I like playing it. My hobby is playing bass. I want to be a teacher in the future. This is my dream.
    I do my best this subject.
  6. Hi! I’m Tada. I took Sheffner’s Writing Strategies last year. I’m 22 and 4th grade. I studied English for 6 months in Canada and I stayed in Mexico for 6 months when I was 3rd grade. I’m going to go to Mexico after graduate. Now I study English and Spanish so I can speak both a little bit, but I’m forgetting them while I’m staying in Japan.
  7. My name is Koyama. I live in Osaka. I have a part time job at movie theater. It’s very busy and so tired, but really fun. I have a dog. She is called Toto. She is very cute! I love her vory much. Nice to meet you.
  8. My name is Tani. I am 21 years old and I’m senior at the moment. However, I took a year absence from school about two years ago, so I’m not graduating next March and still coming to school next year.

    Next, as another infomation, while I have no brothers and sisters, I have two pets which are a dog and a rabbit. Both of them are four years old, but still really lovable for me!

    At the last, I’d like to tell you what I know about linguistics. Actually, in this semester I’m taking some classes related to linguistics, such as phonetics and Second Language Acquisition. However, I think this class is going to be something new and interesting to me because we learn it in English. I’m a little nervous, but excited as much!

  9. My name is Yokono. I’m from Osaka. I go to school take one and a half hours. So I must get up early morning when have a lesson in the first period. But it is hard for me to get up early. I had played volleyball for six years. I like volleyball very much. I enjoy college life. I talk with my friend and take enjoyable lessons everyday. So I live a full life. Now, I’m interested in British culture and history. I want to go to Britain to short study abroad.
  10. I’m Suganuma, a student of the Studies in English (Linguistics) in the third grade of DWC. However, my real grade is the second because I was postponed to start the first year for a year. I’m interested in English, so, after retirement I entered DWC. When you first saw me you might be surprised that I was older than most students.
    I’ve enrolled on the Department of English and English literature, and I’m interested in linguistics. That’s why I took this class. I’m looking forward to learning about linguistics.
  11. My name is Oie. I’m taking your class, Studies in English. Let me introduce myself.
    I’m from Fukuoka, Japan. I have parents and two older sisters. Now, I live alone in Kyoto. I belong to music club in other university. In there, I play the piano. I like English very much, and I’m interested in linguistics. So I’m looking forward to take this class.
  12. Hi! I’m Fujita. I have a class of “Studies in English”. I’m 19 years old. I live alone in Kyoto. My hometown is Kobe. I like comics. My favorite comics are “Gintama”, “NARUTO” and “ONE PIECE”. My hobby is karaoke and shopping. My family is mother, a big sister, two little sisters and a dog. My dog’s name is Dan. It means “dandy”. He is very cute and wise. I love him.
  13. My name is Matsumoto. I am 19 years old, and a second-year student of Doshisha Women’s college. I am from Osaka, and I go to school by train every day. I have a young sister, who is a freshman of Doshisha university. Also, I have a dog. He is very cute!
    My hobbies are playing tennis and watching baseball game. I have played tennis since I was a junior high school student. Now I don’t belong to any tennis club, but I have a part-time job. I work at a tailor’s shop, and it is very interesting!
    I like studying English, so I want to be better. Thank you.
  14. I’m Ogura, take part in Studies in English(Linguistics)class. I live in Osaka, and I’m very interested in linguistics and sociology. Specially I think that cognitive linguistics, linguistic psychology, and social psychology are really interesting subjects for me to learn about them. So, I’m really expect in this class. And I’d like to do my best.
  15. Hello. I’m Ebisutani. I’m nineteen years old. I live in Osaka, so I take about two hours to go to college. Sometimes, I feel it is hard. I like listening to music and playing the instruments. I can play the guitar, the bass and the piano. I belong to music club, and I enjoy club activities so much! I love them. I don’t know about linguistics well, so I’m looking forward to being able to learn them in this class. I’ll study hard! Thank you.
  16. Good evening. My name is Kawamura. I’m from Osaka. Osaka is a good place, because there are many delicious foods. For example, Okonomiyaki, Takoyaki and so on. People live there are very kind and they have senses of humor. If you have a chance, please come to Osaka.
    I was born in 1993, and I have lived there for 18 years. At last, I become 19 years old and this year is the last of my teens. So I want to study English hard. Thank you for reading my self-introduction.
  17. My name is Iwanaga. I take the class of Study in English. I am 19 years old in sophomores of Doshisha Women’s College. Live in Osaka, and take two hours to go to school everyday. My hobby is listening to music, going to shopping and going to various cafes of Osaka.
    And I like eating and like sweets such as cakes very much in particular. So I want to teach me a delicious cafe of Kyoto that you know.
  18. My name is Kitagawa. I’m from Hyogo, and now live in Hyogo. So, it takes about 2 hours to commute to this university.
    When I was 18, I went to Tokyo and spent 2years in Tokyo. After that, I had worked at real estate company in Osaka for 2 years.
    When I was 22, I entered a school to learn interpretation and translation. And then, I thought my English skill was not enough, so I decided to enter Doujo university as a transfer student.
  19. I’m Nakajima, a student of your class “Studies in English”. I live in Osaka. It takes me a long time, but it is comfortable to sleep in the train. My family is father, mother, older brother,and two turtles. I like to exercise. I climbed the mountain a few days ago.
  20. I’m Namiki, a student of the Studies in English. I’m 19 years old. I was born in Wakayama. Now, I live in Osaka city. So, I take 1 hour and 30 minutes to a university.
    I have a cat and a dog. There name are Futa and Hime. They are so cute!!
    I like basketball, shopping, seeing movies, cooking, and so forth.
    I am poor at reading and a writing.I would like to learn as many knowledge as possible through this lesson. From now on, I will need your help well. Thank you for reading.

 

Express your opinion! Let me know what you think of today's class, the written materials, the activities, the teacher's lecture, etc. Have a question about English or about today's class? Click the words "Leave a comment" below, or send me an email. Thank you for visiting.