Language is a unique gift from God to create meaning and conduct communication. This course introduces key concepts and principles in the study of the nature and structure of language. The first part introduces phonetics (the articulation of sounds), phonology (the structure of sounds), morphology (the structure of words), and syntax (the structure of sentences). The second part examines semantics (the structure of meaning) and pragmatics (the structure of communication). Students will design a poster to map a concept or a principle of their choice. They will then present the topic to the class. They will also find a new language unknown to themselves to analyze its basic elements at the sound, word and sentence levels. The focus will be on the understanding on the highly structured, creative and relational nature of language.
The course is an introduction course on the nature of language as a gift from God to create meaning and conduct communication. The purpose is to equip students with the basic skills to effectively learn C2/L2 for meaningful engagement and teach English as a language of empowerment. The adoption of a learner attitude is crucial in both courses to foster an open, humble and flexible attitude absolutely necessary not just for learning and teaching but for relating and witnessing.
The field of linguistics is important because it is a subject that looks straight into the nature of human beings as created by God in His image with hugely creative powers. A good understanding of the nature and structure of language will not only help students better understand God and themselves but also equip them with a love for languages, passion for nations, an intercultural perspective and the global skills to engage with target groups as active participants. Potential impact for our students and for the community is huge and powerful wherever they go. The change we face in the world is dynamic, which requires both awareness and flexibility in thinking, methodology and practice. An open, learning perspective and humble attitude are necessary for effective engagement with culture and language groups. The learning of a target language and teaching of English language give our student immediate opportunities to encounter, experience, engage and explore the target people groups as servants. Being able to equip local ministers and global missionaries with training and knowledge to effectively reach and bless these target people groups is a highly critical need for us today.
In the beginning is the Word. The Word is with Him, and the Word is Him. Language is the way we perceive reality. It is the way we make sense of the world. It is the way we describe our experience, articulate concept, record and retrieve information. Without the Word, there is no language, no learning, no life. The study of the social functions of language is crucial in helping us to know God, understand His purpose, speak His love and live His meaning.
The missio dei informs and moves world mission. This course discovers, defines and develops God’s gift of language for us to create meaning. It helps us to serve our target community with our learning and teaching language to engage, encourage and empower.
The nature of language requires a multi-faceted approach utilizing social and educational research methodologies, biblical and theological truths as well as case studies, observations, field trips, practical skills and long term strategies. Proper analysis of the meaning production function of language and how its meaning is realized in its rich social, personal, national, economic and cultural contexts is essential.
The interactions designed for this course will be both intercultural and cross-cultural in nature. Students will intentionally and actively engage with both the C1/L1 native and C2/L2 target language and cultural groups. This will not only encourage them to take a different look at their own cultural and linguistic process but take them out of their own cultural and linguistic comfort zone.
In the course design, the focus is on the development of practical language analytical skills. All observations, field trips, analysis and reflections are to enlighten the practice of their language learning and teaching.
For linguistic concepts and skills development, learning is actuated by the experience of relationships. Assignments are hands-on life experience, reflective in nature, collaborative as much as possible, and interactive with the both the native and target groups.