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12.Define the notion of Science and Scientific Schools

Science - is

1. the systematic observation of natural events and conditions in order to discover facts about them and to formulate laws and principles based on these facts.

2. the organized body of knowledge that is derived from such observations and that can be verified or tested by further investigation.

3. any specific branch of this general body of knowledge, such as biology, physics, geology, or astronomy. (Academic Press Dictionary of Science & Technology)

Science is an intellectual activity carried on by humans that is designed to discover information about the natural world in which humans live and to discover the ways in which this information can be organized into meaningful patterns. A primary aim of science is to collect facts (data). An ultimate purpose of science is to discern the order that exists between and amongst the various facts. (Dr. Sheldon Gottlieb in a lecture series at the University of South Alabama)

Science involves more than the gaining of knowledge. It is the systematic and organized inquiry into the natural world and its phenomena. Science is about gaining a deeper and often useful understanding of the world. Acquiring scientific knowledge about how the world works does not necessarily lead to an understanding of how science itself works, and neither does knowledge of the philosophy and sociology of science alone lead to a scientific understanding of the world. The challenge for educators is to weave these different aspects of science together so that they reinforce one another.

Some key words in science: facts, hypotheses and theories.

Scientific Schools of Linguistics

Linguistics is the study of language, sometimes called the science of language. {1} The subject has become a very technical, splitting into separate fields: sound (phonetics and phonology), sentence structure (syntax, structuralism, deep grammar), meaning (semantics), practical psychology (psycholinguistics) and contexts of language choice (pragmatics). {2} But originally, as practised in the nineteenth century, linguistics was philology: the history of words. {3} Philologists tried to understand how words had changed and by what principle. Why had the proto-European consonants changed in the Germanic branch: Grimm's Law? Voiceless stops went to voiceless fricatives, voiced stops to voiceless stops, and voiced aspirates to voiced stops. What social phenomenon was responsible? None could be found. Worse, such changes were not general. Lines of descent could be constructed, but words did not evolve in any Darwinian sense of simple to elaborate. One could group languages as isolating (words had a single, unchanging root), agglutinizing (root adds affixes but remains clear) and inflecting (word cannot be split into recurring units), but attempts to show how one group developed into another broke down in hopeless disagreement.

Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913)

So linguistics might have ended: documenting random changes in random directions. But that was hardly a science, only a taxonomy. When therefore Ferdinand de Saussure tentatively suggested that language be seen as a game of chess, where the history of past moves is irrelevant to the players, a way though the impasse was quickly recognized. Saussure sketched some possibilities. If the word high-handed falls out of use, then synonyms like arrogant and presumptuous will extend their uses. If we drop the final f or v the results in English are not momentous (we might still recognize belie as belief from the context), but not if the final s is dropped (we should then have to find some new way of indicating plurals).

Saussure's suggestion was very notional: his ideas were put together by students from lecture notes and published posthumously in 1915. But they did prove immensely fruitful, even in such concepts as langue (the whole language which no one speaker entirely masters) and parole (an individual's use of language). Words are signs, and in linguistics we are studying the science of signs: semiology. And signs took on a value depending on words adjacent in use or meaning. English has sheep and mutton but French has only mouton for both uses. Above all (extending the picture of a chess game) we should understand that language was a totality of linguistic possibilities, where the "move" of each word depended on the possible moves of others.

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