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Saturday, May 18, 2013

General and Particular


General and Particular
           
            Language is a social cultural geographical phenomenon. There is a deep relationship between language and society. Man acquires and uses language in society. A language is an abstraction of abstractions, a system of systems. It has its further abstractions such as, dialects, sociolects, idiolects etc. That is why we have to keep in mind the geographical are in which this language is spoken, the culture and the society in which it is used. Only then our study of a language can be completed and comprehensive. So we should took at a language not only from within but also from without. We should study it from the points of view of form and functions.

            The nature of linguistic abstractions as we discussed above may be of different degrees. Whatever abstractions a linguist makes must be a part of the one living language. Some abstractions are of general nature while other are of particular nature the categories of phonetics, phonology and grammar are general, while the components of the lexicon of language are of particular. For example a dictionary or lexicon of a language explains each and every word separately and makes statements for each of them. They explain different shades of meaning of every word separately. Thus they make particular study of each and every word. While on the other hand, grammar, phonology and phonetics deals with general rules, classes and categories such as rules, details of pronunciation, transcription and orthography. Here word are stated in terms of their relations with other words in the sentences. In a dictionary we find description of classes, categories and structural rules of every word. The examples and illustrations are also given as per rules of grammar. That way a dictionary gives the individual information of each word. The Oxford English Dictionary gives such particular information with explanations of each and every word in particular.

            For example, it explains physical abstract the meaning of different words such as, ‘summit of a mountain’, and ‘summit meeting’, ‘depth of water’ and ‘depth of despair’. It also explains personal and impersonal meaning of different words such as ‘Prince Edward’ and ‘Cox’s Orange is a prince of apples.’ This dictionary also gives historical facts about different words. We also learn hoe certain nouns are sued as verbs and verbs as nouns. It also gives us an idea about homophonoes (words pronounced alike) such as ‘bear’ (an animal) and ‘bear’ (endure)
            Thus general and particular studies of a language are very useful in our study of a language.