Monday, December 22, 2008

Take part in our Wiki

Yes… we now have a wiki: a web site that enables you to post, and edit the contents. Of course our wiki is about linguistics. Please visit

Log in with your username and password. Then start posting. Students of Non Regular Program have already got the usernames and passwords. Remember, your contribution deserves extra marks. I hope, this wiki will be complete before we do the final exam.

Students of the regular programs can also join by clicking the "request access", or come to me directly and I will give you the username and password.

Looking forward to reading your contribution.




Hi all,

Some of you (Non-Regular Program) sent me many SMSs asking for the material for discussion on Sociolinguistics.

Here is the answer. When discussing sociolinguistics, at least we have to cover the following:

  • Definition of Sociolinguistics
  • Language varieties: Standard language, dialects, registers, Pidgins, and Creoles.
  • Speech community
  • Bilingualism and Multilingualism, including Code Choice (Code Switching and Code Mixing).

Well, post your comments in our new discussion forum at QuickTopic. Click here to start the discussion.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

References for Pragmatics

Hi all,

It's good to hear someone is interested in pragmatics.
Yes, when analyzing an utterance, we have to consider the factors outside the language. That will include the SPEAKING (Setting, Participants, Ends, Acts, Key, Instruments, Norms, and Genres) factors of Dell Hymes.
For more details about pragmatics, you may read:
Jenny Thomas: Meaning into Words
Jacob L. Mey: Pragmatics, An Introduction
Vershueren et al: Handbook of Pragmatics

I also learn much about pragmatics from CARLA.

Okay... there are many other books and resources on pragmatics. You can start with the ones I mention here.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Conversion Vs. Homonym

One of the word formation processes is conversion: the creation or formation of a word from another class of word without any change in the segmental components.

For example:

(A) Have a drink.

(B) I need to drink, I am thirsty.

In these two examples, the word 'drink' has transposed from a noun into a verb.

Let's compare to the following.

(C) Ayah mengganti genting yang pecah.

(D) Keuangan perusahaan ayah sangat genting.


In this case, the word 'genting' is used with a totally different meaning. Genting in (C) means a roof tile, while in (D) it means critical.

This is what is called homonym, one word with many totally different meanings. Some other examples of homonym are:

(E) I watch TV almost every night.

(F) I lost my watch.


(G) Bisa ular itu sangat berbahaya.

(H) Wah, maaf. Saya tidak bisa.


(I) Some elephants eat barks of tree.

(J) The dog barks very loudly.


Can you find some more examples?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Semantics & Pragmatics

Hi all,


How's life…?

I'm very proud of you of being active in finding some examples of the morphological process happening to some words around us. Two thumbs up…

Please wait till next week for my review of your examples…


Now, since some of you ask about what to discuss in semantics & pragmatics, I am now giving you some points to consider.


Basically, it talks about meaning. So, please cover the following in our discussion:

  • Definition (what it studies)
  • Meaning:
    • Types of Meaning
    • Relation of Meaning: Synonymy, Antonym, Homonymy, etc.
    • Components of meaning



This discusses the real use of language as a means of communication. For our discussion, please talk about:

  • Definition
  • Focus and Contents of Pragmatics
    • Deixis
    • Presupposition
    • Cooperative Principles
    • Implicature

For reference, you can read: Jenny Thomas's Meaning in Interaction, Levinson's Pragmatics, Mey's Pragmatics: An Introduction. I believe you can find them all in the library.


OK… see you in the discussion.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Syntax: Immediate Constituents -- Revisited

You know, in syntax, we study how words are related to each other to make a bigger construction: a phrase, a clause, a sentence, or a discourse. Let's take an example from Bahasa Indonesia

"Perusahaan itu membutuhkan seorang penjahit baju wanita."

We know that this sentence has seven words as its constituents. Some words in this sentence have more than one morpheme as the constituents. The term "immediate constituents" refer to the constituents that come closer to each other. We can break the sentence above based on its immediate constituents. Remember, based on syntactic rule, a sentence consists of Noun Phrase (NP) and Verb Phrase (VP). With this is the base, then we have binary cutting system, that is dividing a construction two by two until the construction is not dividable anymore. In the example above:

Perusahaan itu = NP,

Membutuhkan seorang penjahit baju wanita = VP.

"Perusahaan itu" and "membutuhkan seorang penjahit baju wanita" are immediate constituents of the sentence.

"Perusahaan" and "itu" are ultimate constituents of the immediate constituents "Perusahaan itu".

And so on…


Then, why do we bother learning or analyzing the immediate constituents?

One of the reasons is that this will help us handle a syntactic or grammatical ambiguity. Have a look at the example above again. Does the company need a female tailor? Or Does it need a tailor for female clothes?

"membutuhkan seorang penjahit baju wanita" can be further analyzed into smaller constituents.

Membutuhkan || seorang penjahit baju wanita

Seorang || penjahit baju wanita

Penjahit || baju wanita

If we follow the analysis of the immediate constituents like this, it means that what the company needs is a tailor to make clothes for female. It is not important whether the tailor is male or female. The meaning will be different, if the analysis is done like the following.

… (similar to the one above)

Seorang || penjahit baju wanita

Penjahit baju || wanita

With this immediate constituents analysis, the sentence means that the company needs a female tailor. Whether the clothes that she makes will be for male or female is not important.


Have a look at other examples from English.

  • Students don't like annoying professors.
    • What does this question mean? It may be either "Students don't like professors who are annoying" or "Students don't like making the professor annoyed". Again the meaning depends on to which constituent "annoying" is immediate.
  • She hit the man with a stick.
    • What does this sentence mean? It may be either "She used a stick to hit the man" or "She hit the man who brought a stick".

Monday, November 24, 2008

Word Formation

Well, we have discussed morphemes. Now, let's discuss how words are created or formed.

As what we have been learning, AFFIXATION is one way of creating new words. Some other ways includes the following.


    This is done by combining two words into one. Example: fire engine; school bus.


    This is like compounding, but some elements of the original words are missing. Example:

  • motor + hotel = motel
  • smoke + fog = smog

    This is done by cutting some elements of the words to make shorter words. Example

  • Facsimile = Fax
  • Professor = Prof
  • Automobile = auto

    Acronym is a combination of the initial letters or sounds of some words to make a new word. Examples:



    This is done by taking a word from a class of words into another class of words. Example

    1. I need to drink. I am thirsty.
    2. Please have a drink.


    This is done by taking some proper names as words. Example:

  • KODAK for a camera
  • HONDA for a motorcycle
  • SANYO for a water pump

(These are common in Indonesia)


Now, look around. Look at the banners, billboards, back of the buses or trucks. They use many words. Try to identify the morphological process that happens to those words.

Derivational Vs. Inflectional Morpheme

As discussed in class, there are two types of morpheme: FREE morpheme, and BOUND morpheme. FREE morpheme is then further divided into two: LEXICAL and FUNCTIONAL morpheme. BOUND morpheme is also further divided into two categories: DERIVATIONAL and INFLECTIONAL morpheme.

DERIVATIONAL morpheme changes the root's class of words OR its meaning, OR BOTH. The word 'unhappy' derives from the root HAPPY added with a prefix UN. Both 'happy' and 'unhappy' are adjectives. The meaning, however, is totally different. "I am unhappy" is totally different from "I am happy". In this case, the prefix UN is called DERIVATIONAL MORPHEME.

INFLECTIONAL morpheme, on the other hand, does not change either the root's class of words or the meaning. The word 'books', for example, derives from the root BOOK added with a suffix –S. Both 'book' and 'books' are NOUN. The meaning is still the same. The suffix –S only indicates the plural form. In this case, the suffix –S is INFLECTIONAL

Well… For practice, please do the worksheet here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Mid Semester Test

Hi folks,

I change my mind. Since some of you can not do sit-in live test (because of the time-table), I decide to give you a take-away assignment. You have to write an essay. What is the essay about? Find out here.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Hi there,

This week we are discussing morphology. I believe you have do the readings I've recommended. To get some more, please visit the following sites. They are helpful.

See you soon in a lively discussion.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Reminder: Make-up Quiz

This is to remind the students of the Tuesday afternoon class: we are having the make-up quiz on Tuesday, 21 Oct, from 2.30 pm. This is your last chance to get better mark, although IT IS NOT A MUST. If you think that you have some other more important things to do, it's fine. I'll take the result of the previous quiz.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Stop Vs Affricative Sound

A stop sound is pronounced with a sudden release of breath. In other words, it is produced by stopping air at some point and suddenly releasing it

Affricative sound is a composite speech sound consisting of a stop and a fricative articulated at the same point (as `ch' in `chair' and `j' in `joy').

The following are the explanations from


Any speech sound made by impounding the airstream for a moment until considerable pressure has been developed and then suddenly releasing it (e.g., b, d, and g). One of two types of stop consonants, the other being affricative (e.g., ch).



A fricative speech sound initiated by a plosive.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

One of you got 100 for Quiz 1


I'm talking about the Tuesday 2.30 class at Room 204 (Bldg 4).

Yes... One of you answered all the questions correctly. I'm really proud of you. This shows me that you've learned hard, and you are really English Department student. Some of you got 90, some 80, some 70.

However, I'm quite surprised to see that only few of you understand the materials. Many of you did not answer even one question.

We have been doing the discussion. So far, no one seems to have a problem.
We have been utilizing this blog as a channel for discussion. Few of you, however, make use of this.

Well, I will let you have the make-up quiz. This is ONLY for THOSE WHO HAVE READ & LEARNED the materials. If you don't feel that you belong to this group, please think again before you come to our class. I mean, if you don't change your way of learning, you don't have to continue taking this course.

The make-up test will be given on Tuesday, Oct 21, starting at 2.30.
Read all the materials I've recommended, NOT ONLY the presentation handouts. You need to read the books.

Those who have got good marks are Mahardika, Sartika Dhian, Mega Asmara, and Dhian Widhi. These students do not need to do the make-up test.

Well, get prepared.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Language is Universal (Vs. Universal Language)

Dodik asks a question about this.
First, all languages in the world share the 12 characteristics.

Second, the universality of language refers to the fact that most language in the world share common rules, patterns, or rules. However, language is also so unique that each language has some features that cannot be found in any other language.

Third, universal language refers to a language that is used by a great number of people in the world. It is believed that Sanskrit used to be a universal language. Arabic can be called as a universal language because all moslems in the world use Arabic in their Koran, or even prayers. Please read wikipedia for more ideas about universal language.

Language is Arbitrary & Conventional

Okay guys...
I will try to answer some questions. Now it's about the features of language: arbitrary.

The term arbitrary here refers to the fact that the symbol that people use is made or chosen without any principle, logic or reason. For example, people in Java do not have a principle or logic to call an animal with long tail, two hands, and two legs and like scratching and playing on trees as kethek. There is no logic either for people in Jakarta to call that animal monyet. This is what arbitrary means.

So, to answer Daniel's question: English people do not have any reason why they call the animal that produces "meauwww" as cat. Again, this is because language is arbitrary: no logical reason is used when choosing a symbol, and no direct relationship between the symbol and the symbolized.

Now that a group of people have chosen a symbol for something, all the members of the group should approve and use the same symbol to refer to the same thing. In the example above, the members of Javanese language society approve the use of symbol kethek to refer to that animal, while the members of Betawinese approve the use of monyet. Again, the symbol should be the result of the convention of all members of the (language) society. That's why language is called conventional.

To answer Wisnukurnia: How is language created?
When a group of people make a new symbol and the all the members approve, then they will make a new language, or at least they add a new word for their language. Remember, language is a system consisting of many elements that support each other.
Well, once the language is used by the people, it will exist. No society exists without language, and no language exists without the society.

Hope, it's clear enough now. For further info, please read Abdul Chaer. He has clear explanation about this.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Topic 1: Language

Sorry for the late post.

I'm happy that some of you have started posting.

Well. After our first discussion, we are now aware that the object of linguistics is human language, not animal language, not gesture, not programming language, etc. Please learn more about some definition of language.

Keep posting.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Hi all,

This is the blog I told you in class. As I mentioned, you are supposed to post your reflective journal in this blog. That covers how much you understand the materials discussed in the classroom. In other words, you are expected to write your own version of the classroom discussion topics. Alternatively, you can also post a question here so that you will get the prompt answer from your friends. If you don't understand the material at all, then simply just share your problem here.

Looking forward to reading your comments.