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Language can be the best tool to help language users with their communication; however, language users might have some problems with their speaking such as being difficult to express themselves clearly or misleading without purpose. For example, in the conversation if speaker uses wrong word, it will give wrong meaning of that context, hearer will be unable to understand the context or misunderstand the context.
Language might be able to be separated into two parts which are knowledge of language system and performance. Knowledge of language refers to grammatical rules whereas performance refers to the ability to use and understand the language which can be spoken or written language. Language users might have some problems with how to use the language in an appropriate way although they have already had a good knowledge of language.
The essay will first look at knowledge of the language system, communicative competence, speech acts, indirect speech acts and conversation analysis to justify the distinction between knowledge of language and the ability to engage interaction in an effective and appropriate way.
It seems true that the knowledge of language system is one of the important parts of language skills; however, it just the first step to help language users with their conversations. The essay will provide an understanding of knowledge of the language system by looking at morphological processes, syntactic patterns and lexical knowledge.
Morphological process is a means of changing a stem, which is the root of a word, to adjust its meaning to fit its syntactic and communicational context. Morphology is the study of morphemes, which is a minimal unit of meaning or grammatical function of a language and the way in which they are joined together to make words by adding a prefix or a suffix.
Free and bound morphemes, free morphemes can stand by themselves as single words such as tour and open whereas bound morphemes cannot normally stand alone such as re, -ist, -ed, and -s. All affixes which are prefixes and suffixes in English are bound morphemes.
A lexical and functional morpheme, lexical morpheme is the set of ordinary nouns, adjectives and verb which can be added new lexical morphemes to 'open' class of words. Functional morpheme refers to conjunctions, prepositions, articles and pronouns which almost never been added new functional morphemes so they are described as a 'closed' class of words.
Derivational and inflection morphemes, Derivational morphemes are used to make new words or to make words of a different grammatical category from stem such as good > goodness. Inflectional morphemes are used to show aspects of grammatical function of a word such as singular or plural, past tense or not, comparative and possessive form (Yule, 2006 pp.62-63)
Syntactic patterns: Any speaker of any human language can produce and understand an infinite number of sentences. Language users could continue creating sentences by adding another adjective, prepositional phrase, or relative clause. All languages have mechanisms of this sort that make the number of sentences limitless, which can show this quite easily through examples such as the following:
John found a book in the library.
John found a book in the library in the stacks.
John found a book in the library in the stacks on the fourth floor.
The rules of syntax are a process to combine words into phrases and phrases into sentences. The rules specify the correct word order for English is a Subject-Verb-Object (SVO). The examples such as the following:
The President nominated a new Supreme Court justice.
*President the new Supreme justice Court a nominated.
The English sentence in (1) is grammatical because the words occur in the right order whereas the sentence in (2) is ungrammatical because the word order is incorrect in English.
The second important role of the syntax is to describe the relationship between the meaning of a particular group of words and the arrangement of those words. The rules of the syntax also specify the grammatical relation of a sentence, such as subject and direct object. On the other hand, they provide the information that permits the hearer to know who is doing what to whom. If the sentence is reversed, the meaning will be very different. The examples such as the following:
Your dog chased my cat.
My cat chased your dog.
From the pattern of English and the examples above claim to explain that the sentences are not simply strings of words with no further organization. Moreover, the sentence will have a different meaning if language users misplace words in the sentences or reverse the sentences.
Lexical knowledge: Syntactic categories include both phrasal categories such as NP, VP, AdjP, PP and AdvP, as well as lexical categories such as noun, verb, preposition, adjective and adverb. Each lexical category has a corresponding phrasal category. Following is a list of lexical categories with some examples of each type:
Noun: puppy, boy and soup
Verb: find, run and sleep
Preposition: up, down and across
Adjective: red, big and lucky
Adverb: again, carefully and never
Many of these categories may already be familiar to language user but other categories may be less familiar, for example determiner (Det) which includes the article a and the, as well as demonstratives such as this, that, these ,and those, and 'counting word' such as each and every. Another categories is auxiliary (Aux) which includes the verbs have, had, be, was, were, and the models may, might, can, could, must, shall, should, will, would. Aux and Det are functional categories, so called because their members have a grammatical function rather than a descriptive meaning. Lexical categories typically have particular kinds of meanings associated with them. For example, verbs usually refer to actions, events and states; adjectives to qualities or properties; common nouns to general entities. (Fromkin, Rodman and Hyames, 2007 pp. 115-126)
If only language users have knowledge of language system, this can claim to explain that it will be inadequate for communication so language users also have to be able to engage interaction in an effective and appropriate way to be successful in their communications. The communication competence can show how the ability to engage interaction has a significant role in the communication.
Communication Competency is the ability to transfer and exchange information between speaker and hearer effectively. It means speaker's message can allow hearer to have a good understanding of the massage which speaker wants to communicate or express. (Richards&Schmidt, 1996 p 5)
Hyames (A.K.Pugh, V.J.Lee & J.Swann, 1980 pp 89-90) explained that the acquisition of such competency was of course fed by social experience, needs, and motives and issues in action that was itself a renewed source of motives, needs, experience. To participate in the social dimension was thus not restricted to occasions on which social factors seem to interfere with or restrict the grammatical. The engagement of language in social life had a positive and productive aspect. This related to speech acts which can be a mechanism to help language users express themselves clearly.
Speech acts are acts performed in uttering expressions. There are four types of speech acts. (Akmajian, 1995 pp 376-377)
Utterance Acts: shouting, whispering and murmuring
Illocutionary Acts: promising, reporting and asking
Perlocutionary Acts: intimidating, persuading and deceiving
Propositional Acts: referring and predicating
Let's begin with a short list of some of the sentences that could quite standardly be used to make indirect requests and other directives such as orders. (Martinich, 2001 pp 179-180)
Group 1: H's ability to perform A i.e. Can you reach the salt?
Group 2: S's wish or want that H will do A i.e. I would like you to go now.
Group 3: H's doing A i.e. Will you kindly get off my foot?
Group 4: H's desire or willingness to do A i.e. Would you mind not making so
Group 5: reason for doing A i.e. You should live immediately.
Group 6: sentences embedding one of i.e. Might I ask you to take off your
these elements inside another; hat?
also, sentences embedding an
explicit directive illocutionary
verb inside one of these contexts.
Searle (Martinich, 2001 pp 176-179) explained that the simplest cases of meaning were those in which the speakers uttered a sentence and meant exactly and literally what they said. In such cases the speakers aimed to produce a certain illocutionary effect in the hearers, and they aimed to produce this effect by getting the hearers to recognize this intention to produce it, and they aimed to get the hearers' knowledge of the rules that governed the utterance of the sentence. Not all cases of meaning were this simple, one important class of such cases was that in which the speakers utter sentences, meant what they said, but also meant something more. For example, a speaker may utter the sentence 'I want you to do it' by way of requesting the hearer to do something. The utterance is incidentally meant as a statement, but it is also mean primarily as a request, a request made by way of making a statement.
The problem caused by indirect speech acts is the problem of how it is possible for the speaker to say one thing and mean that but also to mean something else. The problem is made more complicated by the fact that some sentences seem almost to be conventionally used as indirect requests. For a sentence like "Can you reach the salt" or "I would appreciate it if you would get off my foot," it takes some ingenuity to imagine a situation in which their utterances would not be requests. Meaning consists in part in the intention to produce understanding in the hearer; a large part of that problem is that of how it is possible for the hearer to understand the indirect speech act when the sentence he hears and understands means something else. In speech acts, Searle suggested that many such utterances could be explained by the fact that the sentences in question concern conditions of the felicitous performance of the speech acts. (p 176)
Human beings spend a large part of their lives participate in conversation, everybody often orient to "a conversation" as a kind of event. Hymes (Richards, 1983 p 119) uses the term speech event for activities that are directly governed by norms for the use of speech. As speech events conversations can be contrasted with other types of speech events such as lectures, discussions, sermons, courtroom trials, interviews, debates and meetings.
Conversation can be more than merely the exchange of information. People bring to the conversational process shared assumptions and expectations about what conversation is, how conversation develops, and the sort of contribution they are each expected to make when they take part in conversation. People engage in conversation they share common principle of conversation that leads them to interpret each other's utterances as contributing to conversation. Consider the following examples: (Richards&Schmidt, 1996 p 120)
A: How much did you pay for that blouse?
B: Do you like it? I got it at Metro.
In this case, although B does not answer A's question, the avoidance of the requested answer is interpretable as an answer. It is equivalent to, "I don't want to tell you that." The reply is thus seen as coherent.
A: Let's go to the movies tonight.
B: I have to study for an exam.
The utterance of A constitutes a proposal in virtue of its meaning, in particular because of the meaning of "Let's." In general, literal utterance of sentences of this form will constitute proposal.
The utterance of B in the context just given would normally constitute a rejection of the proposal, but not in virtue of its meaning. However, the reply has the same meaning as "I don't want to go to the movie tonight." (Martinich, 2001 pp 177-178)
From the information about the knowledge of language system and the ability to engage interaction above can claim to explain that language users have to have both ability to be successful in their communications.
The language might be able to be separated into two parts. First part is knowledge of language which refers to grammatical rules of that language. The grammatical rules which relevant to the ability of speakers and hearers' performance are morphological process, which is mean of changing a stem, which is the root of a word, to adjust its meaning to fit its syntactic and communicational context. All languages have mechanisms of this sort that make the number of sentences limitless which is syntactic patterns and the last one is lexical knowledge. There is no doubt that knowledge of language is the first step to help language users with their speaking in term of grammar which is the basic part of language. Language users have to know the rules of their language before making sentences to express themselves. The knowledge works as the mechanism to support language users to produce their sentences in term of how to combine a sentence which consists of subject, verb and object. However, the sentences are not simply strings of words with no further organization. Moreover, the sentence will have a different meaning if language users misplace the words in the sentences or reverse the sentences.
Although it seems strange that speaker could have an excellent knowledge but they are unable to participate in interaction, it can explain as a different skill of language between competence and performance. The ability to engage interaction is a kind of performance which communication competency explain it as an ability to transfer and exchange information between speaker and hearer effectively. The ability to engage interaction works as the mechanism to support language users with their speaking, which sometimes might not relate to the grammatical rule. It almost emphasis the understanding of speakers and hearers which means speakers are able to express themselves clearly in an appropriate way by using the right kind of speech acts whereas hearers are able to understand the speakers' massages in the same way of what they say.
The processes of language knowledge of language system and performance of speaker and hearer make different demand on the language user.
In comprehension, hearers try to understand what they have heard from other speakers. On the other hand, in performance, speakers try to convey particular meanings that they want to communicate to other. Apart from the understanding of the messages that the speakers convey and the hearers hear, both of them have to reply the feedback to their communication as an answer, which can be a request, asking or rejection.
There is no doubt that the knowledge of language will help language users with their grammatical rule in terms of combining a sentence, but the ability to engage interaction works as tool to refine sentences before saying in an effective and appropriate way. Indirect speech can be the significant topic which can help language users realize the different between knowledge of language and the ability to engage interaction as the different skill of language.