Thursday, October 11, 2012

What is Langauge

Some definitions of language (including Sapir, Hall and Chomsky). A few points on nature of language and study of language.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Language Contact and the Formation of Pidgins and Creoles

These slides were our group presentation in Bilingualism, which I am going to share here. Hopefully it'll clarify the concepts like Pidgin, Creole, Pidginization, Creolization, Pidgin to Creole Formation and some related researches on Pidgin and Creole Languages.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Bilingualism is a phenomenon in which a person can speak more than one languages. Sometimes Bilingualism is contrasted with Multilingualism. The former one is used to refer to 2 languages as 'bi-' means two, while the latter is used to refer to more than two languages. Another distinction which is granted to these two terms is that Bilingualism refers to individual phenomenon of speaking more than one languages, while Multilingualism is used for societal Bilingualism i.e. the situation in which whole societies are Bilingual examples are Pakistan, India and Canada etc. More recently, however, the term Multilingualism is being used less frequently as compared to Bilingualism which is now used to cover all situations in which more than one languages are being spoken whether that situation is at individual level or at society level.

The person who can speak more than one languages is referred to as a Bilingual or Multilingual. Bilinguals have different kinds. The most traditional kinds were given by Weinreich (1963). A brief introduction of each kind is provided below:

  • Co-ordinate Bilinguals are those people who have learnt both languages in different environments. The languages would most probably be used for different functions. If a person learns Urdu in Pakistan and English from the Britain, then he will be called a Co-ordinate Bilingual. Such people have separate systems for each language in their minds. So the words and concepts of each language will be kept in the mind separately.
  • Compound Bilinguals are those people who have learnt both languages from the same environment. The languages would not have separate system in the mind, but the they will have one system. The concepts would be kept in one box in their minds, while the words will be different for both languages. We can see Urdu and Punjabi as an example. Both are learnt in the same environment, and thus it can be said that we, the Punjabi speakers of Urdu, are Compound Bilinguals i.e. we have same system of concepts in our minds but the only thing which changes is the words or vocabulary items of two separate languages.
  • Subordinate Bilinguals are those people who have learnt a second language and cannot understand it without the help of their first language. Such people will translate the words of second language in their mother tongue, then they would be able to understand them. Thus we can say that the concepts in mind will remain in one system i.e. the system of mother tongue, but an additional language is attached to that system through mother tongue.

A visual representation of Weinreich's kinds of bilinguals. 

Now a days only first two kinds i.e. Coordinate and Compound are endorsed by the researchers and experts in the field, while the third one is dropped.

Bilingualism is a social, psychological as well as linguistic phenomenon. Whenever there are more than one languages in a society, the issues of language identity, promotion or selection of a language and educating children in a particular language arise. All these issues are related to social aspect of Bilingualism. On the other hand, the researchers try to find out "how the two or more languages are stored in mind", "whether knowing more than one language is beneficial", "Bilinguals are different from monolinguals or not". All these issues are related to the psychological aspect of Bilingualism. And lastly, there are questions regarding code switching and code mixing (how the bilinguals are able to mix two different languages) which come under the heading of linguistic aspect of Bilingualism.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sampling in Applied Linguistics

These slides were created as a part of M Phil presentation. Probability and Non-probability Sampling techniques and issues like sample size are discussed in detail here.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Statistics in Research

A brief presentation on basic statistical techniques used in research methodology.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Langue/Parole Versus Competence/Performance

These slides cover basic Saussurian dichotomies i.e. Syntagmatic Vs. Paradigmatic Axis (Chain Choice Axis), Synchonic Vs. Diachronic and Langue Vs. Parole. The main part is the comparison of Langue Parole and Chomsky's idea of Competence Performance.


These slides provide a very brief overview of Pragmatics and its concepts including Invisible Meaning, Inference, Context and Co-text, Presupposition, Reference, Anaphora, Speech Acts, Face, Politeness etc.

RP Versus Pakistani English

RP is the standard accent of British English which is endorsed all over the world in teaching and learning of British English. English is being used in Pakistan since its birth and the way pronunciation of English significantly differs from RP due to influence of Urdu, Punjabi and other local languages. Following slides briefly cover the aspects pronunciation which make the two accents different. The same can be true for Indian English and RP as most of these points are common between Indian and Pakistani English.

Friday, March 30, 2012

L2 or Second Language Acquisition/ Learning

The teaching and learning of L2, the use of research from L1 acquisition domain to make the process of learning more 'natural' and 'easy' is one of the richest areas of applied linguistics. Specially ELT and other language teaching branches of applied linguistics are one of the most publishing areas in linguistics. How to convert L2 learning to acquisition, what are the acquisition barriers, affective factors, the approaches which prefer learning vs the approaches which try to create natural conditions to convert language learning to language acquisition: all these points are very briefly discussed in these slides which are based on a chapter from The Study of Language by George Yule.

L1 or First Language Acquisition

L1 or First Language Acquisition is one of the most researched areas of psycholinguistics. For last forty or so years, researchers have tried to find out how child learns a language, what are the stages in L1 acquisition,  what factor affect child's learning. These slides cover a chapter from The Study of Language by George Yule on L1 Acquisition.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Language and Social Variation (Sociolinguistics)

These slides cover basic topics regarding sociolinguistics e.g. Speech Community, Sociolinguistics, Age and Occupation, Social Dialect or Sociolect, Social Markers, Style and Style Shifting, Slang, Register, Jargon, Speech Accommodation: Convergence and Divergence, Language and Gender, Language and Ethnicity and African American Vernacular English (AAVE).

Friday, March 16, 2012

Language and Regional Variation

These slides are based on a chapter of The Study of Language by George Yule. The topics covered are Dialect, Dialectology, Isogloss and Dialect boundaries, Standard Language, Bilingualism, Diglossia, Language Codification and Standardization, Pidgins and Creoles.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

What is Grammar and Its Kinds

These slides cover some very basic concepts regarding grammar: Misconceptions about Grammar, What is Grammar, Traditional Grammar, Weaknesses of Traditional Grammar, The Structuralists and Structuralism, Strengths and Assumptions of Structuralism and Weaknesses of Structuralism with reference to criticism of  Chomsky and TGG grammarians on structuralism.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Behaviourism and Chomsky's Critique on Behaviourism

These slides give a very brief account of the behaviourist theory of psychology, the application of this theory to linguistics, and the critique/ criticism of Chomsky on Behaviourism as a mentalist. Various online sources are consulted to prepare this lecture.

Historical Linguistics and Philology

This lectures contains introductory material on philology, historical linguistics, proto-languages. The short history of English language is also included. The book used is The Study of Language by George Yule.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Semantics Theoris or Theories of Meaning

There are various theories / schools of thought / points of view to see the phenomenon called 'meaning'. These slides try to cover some of these theories of meaning. Mainly Referential Theory of Meaning, Functional Approach / Theory of Meaning, Componential Analysis Approach, and Semantic Field Theory etc. are discussed. Some traits, assumptions and weak points for each theory are also described. This is a less than perfect attempt to produce a lecture on this topic, as semantics has always been a less interesting area for me. But, even then I am hoping it can benefit a lot of people.

Friday, February 10, 2012


These slides have been prepared mainly using The Study of Language by George Yule. They cover basic of semantics and theories of semantics i.e. componential analysis theory etc. Another lecture on Theories of Semantics and Meaning would be published afterwards.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Urdu to English Dictionary

Translators are not super humans or machines which take input in one language and provide output in another. They are like ordinary people, but a bit clever in using a dictionary. So it is the dictionary which makes a translator 'actual' translator. As there is always a women behind a successful man, there is a good dictionary behind a successful translator, in this case I must say a bunch of dictionaries. :-) As I work as a translator English <-> Urdu and Punjabi. En <> Ur combination is mostly demanded and for this purpose I am in a continuous need of dictionary. I had a dictionary for English to Urdu, as I mentioned here my adventure to integrate dictionary word list to OmegaT. 

This dictionary solved half of my problem i.e. En > Ur. But the revrse was still a headache. I always had to refer to for searching English equivalents of Urdu words. But then, as I always sometimes do, I woke up and decided to do something on my own. So what I've done is changed the English > Urdu wordlist to work for Urdu > English purposes. It is a dirty solution, there are still lots of problem in the word list, and ideally there should have been a word list typed specifically for Urdu > English purposes. But this quick dirty solution works in most cases for me. And I am sharing it here online, so people struggling for Urdu > English equivalents may get some relief. There are lots of good dictionaries out there, but this is yet another dictionary in already available variety. And hopefully it will benefit other translators and users.
Urdu to English Dictionary in C#
There is nothing fancy, no help, no license and no xml type system to store word list. The word list is simply a text file with entries on new line and Urdu words are separated from English counterparts using a tab. The dictionary loads this file and then searches for appropriate word. The search pattern in very simple. By default it will search for exact match (which is dictionary look up method of c#) and additionally it will iterate through all dictionary key value pairs and add the entries which start with search query. The second radio button, if checked, will only give exact match, or if nothing found there won't be any result. This much is sufficient for me in most cases. I am hoping it would be for most people as well. It is compiled on Windows 7 64 bit. So I am not sure whether it would work on every system (including Windows 7 32 bit). But I am attaching source project as well as compiled dictionary. The project can be compiled using Sharp Develop 4. The dictionary assumes that you have installed Jameel Noori Nastaleeq. Please get it if you don't have.
Source Code (Sharp Develop Project) 

Update: Another dictionary was added afterwards, a 27000 words dictionary provided from
Source Code

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Syntax and Generative Grammar

These slides present a very brief introduction of generative grammar and sentence analysis using phrase structure grammar. The basic concepts of Transformation Generative Grammar (TGG) e.g. Deep Structure, Surface Structure, Generation, Unlimited Sentence and Limited Rules etc. are discussed. Additionally an introduction on Transformational Rules is provided in last 2 or 3 slides. These slides may be a good idea for a new comer to linguistics. Study of Language by George Yule is mainly used for the preparation of these slides.

Friday, January 6, 2012

IC Analysis

These slides contain a brief introduction of IC Analysis, basic assumptions of IC Analysis, different techniques to show IC Analysis, and some advantages and disadvantages of this approach.

Grammar and basic Approaches to Grammar

These slides cover topics like Grammar, Traditional Approach towards Grammar or Traditional Grammar, Descriptive Approach towards Grammar or Descriptive Grammar and some of their traits.
The Study of Language by George Yule is used mainly.