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.