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Essays in Linguistics: Studies in Phonology, Syntax & Sociolinguistics

Shyamal Das (Author)
Synopsis Ever since the emergence of the concept of Universal Grammar (or UG) researches are going on in unraveling the mystery behind the way human mind works through a rule-governed system called LNGUGAE to ensure successful communication with other members of the same speech community. Language is thus both an individual as well as collective phenomenon. Generative linguistics aims at ascertaining the properties of UG in terms of rules or, of late, constraints. It is claimed that the UG rules are fixed and finite; and language variation is the result of variable combination and permutation of these rules or constraints. While for the rule-based approach language typology emerges in consequence of variable selection of principles and parameters, for the non-derivative approach like Optimality Theory (or OT), typological differences are the result of variable ranking of a finite set of UG well-formedness conditions called constraints. The relative advantage and/or disadvantage of the two approaches within generative enterprise is a matter of subtle theoretical dispute. From a utilitarian point of view, both the mechanisms can be utilized for promoting a better understanding among people about the underlying 'sameness' of LANGUAGE as a human phenomenon lying beneath the 'chaos' of surface variations, alternatively known as individual languages.

The present collection of articles is the result of the author's long standing mission of capturing dialectal variations in terms of language variation in general. That the standard and non-standard dialects of the same language differ only in variable ranking of the same set of UG constraints has been strongly for and amply illustrated in these essays.

Standardization of a particular dialect is a socio-cultural necessity. But it is also a double edged weapon. This apparently harmless necessity can be utilized by groups with vested interest to marginalize or even annihilate the existence of the non-standard varieties. A lot of ethno-linguistic unrest world-wide can be traced back to such discriminatory treatment meted out to the non-standard dialects vis-à-vis the standard one/s. Two articles in this context of the language/s of the tribal folks of Tripura.
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About the author

Shyamal Das

Shyamal Das is an Associate Professor in the Department of English of Tripura (Central) University. He has been actively engaged in linguistic research for more than one decade now and has a number of publications, both national and international, to his credit. Also the author of Metrical Phonology and Tripura Bangla, his theory for explaining ternary rhythm received international recongnition.

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Bibliographic information

Title Essays in Linguistics: Studies in Phonology, Syntax & Sociolinguistics
Author Shyamal Das
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.07.2009
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 9788183701846
length xviii+198p., Tables; Figures; 22cm.