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Linguistics Exam focus and study Guide for Exam two.

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Linguistics Exam focus and study Guide for Exam two. LING 100

Marketplace > University of Connecticut > Linguistics and Speech Pathology > LING 100 > Linguistics Exam focus and study Guide for Exam two
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Here, is the linguistics Exam focus and study Guide for Exam 2.
Introduction to Languages and Linguistics
Hendrikus Van Der Hulst
Study Guide
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This 6 page Study Guide was uploaded by Dera Notetaker on Monday March 28, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to LING 100 at University of Connecticut taught by Hendrikus Van Der Hulst in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 17 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Languages and Linguistics in Linguistics and Speech Pathology at University of Connecticut.


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Date Created: 03/28/16
Lecture 11: The Argument from Universals Language Universals: Certain properties that can be found in all languages 1) Unity and diversity a) Diversity: Languages are obviously different in their phonology, morphology, and syntax b) Unity: All languages seem to share certain properties c) Shared properties are called universals 2) Universal a) Something that appears to be true of everything (In ling, things true of all languages) i) Assumption: There are universals of language ii) Question: What causes the existence of universals? iii) Possible answer: If we assume these universals are specified in the innate “Universal Grammar” it follows that all languages must reflect them. Universal Grammar causes existence of language universals. iv) Thus: Universals support the idea of an innate universal grammar to the extent that the idea provides a good explanation for why there are universals b) Flaws in the argument i) If a property is innate, it is universal. BUT, if it is universal, it does not have to be innate. There could be other causes. ii) To avoid this flaw, we have to show that there is no other plausible alternative explanation but just because we cannot find it does not mean it is not there. c) Language universals have to be language unique i) Chomsky claims that recursion is a language-unique universal ii) Language universals that might not be language-unique universals include communication systems based on signs, recursion, and hierarchical structure (including its binarity and headedness) d) Metapatterns: Properties displayed by the human language that occur generally in the natural world 3) Possible explanations of language universals a) Monogenesis: all languages come from a mother language b) Evolution: all evolved things have hierarchical structure c) Natural Architecture: all languages are implemented in the same brain design d) Biological constraints: speech/hearing apparatus, more generally: sensory systems e) Principles of Communication/sign systems: Be clear, be short, be relevant, least effort 4) Baldwin Effect a) Despite alternative explanations for the universal design of language, it is still possible that humans acquired innate abilities to quickly learn this particular system with its universal properties and variations b) Consequences of Baldwin Effect: Humans may have evolved a genetic endowment to rapidly acquire many of the specific design properties that all languages share 5) So what might be a language unique universal? a) Design of grammar, the model of grammar (with a lexicon and 6 checking components), the design of each component (basic units, combination restraints and repair rules) b) Universal toolkit containing for each component: all possible building blocks, all possible constraints, all possible repair rules 6) Specific Examples of Language Unique Universal. All languages have: a) Nouns, verbs, and several other word categories b) Hierarchical structure in sentences and complex words c) Means to express negation d) Means for forming questions e) 1 , 2 , 3 person markers f) Organize phonemes in syllables 7) Absolute vs. Implicational Universals a) Absolute Universal: Properties that are true or untrue of ALL languages b) Implicational Universal: If a language has a property X, it will also have a property Y (Particular Property is only present if another property is present). i) If a language has a vowel phoneme /e/ and /o/, it will also have /i/ and /o/ ii) If a language has a superlative, it also has a comparative (big, bigger, biggest) c) Disjunctive Universal: Each language has either X or Y. Switches in the innate system. Language can either be Verb-Object or Object-Verb; it cannot be both. 8) Hidden vs. Overt Universals a) Hidden Universals regard the mental grammar i) Can be based on study of one language ii) Focus on hidden properties iii) Theory-dependent iv) Often stated as “laws” or “principles” v) Ex) Phonemes that underlie speech sounds, Syllable structure organization of words, Empty node hierarchy, deep structure where words do not appear in positions where they occur on the surface, everything that concerns semantic properties of expression b) Overt Universals regard the utterances i) Focus on shallow, observable, measurable properties of utterances ii) Theory independent iii) Are due to external factors that all relate to “language use”, especially communicative function, ease of production/perception c) Relationship between the two i) Hidden universals are “reflected” in the overt universals ii) Overt Universals may be reflections of other factors that determine the shape of language d) Exceptions in Hidden Universals i) All hidden universals have exceptions ii) They may be obscured by other factors so disjunctive universals allow for something to be true for some languages and not others Why are language universals used as an argument for the Innateness Hypothesis? The similarities in universals are found in all languages, and this similarity couldn’t have been possible without some type of universal, innate grammar system. Universal grammar causes the existence of language universals. What are Metapatterns? Properties that occur in human nature that generally occur in the natural world. What is an alternative explanation for language universals? Monogenesis (all languages come from a mother language), Evolution (All evolved things have a hierarchical structure), Natural Architecture (all languages are implemented in the same brain design), Biological Constraints (sensory systems), sign systems What is recursion? Why is it problematic to claim that recursion in a language- unique property? Hierarchical structure in a language corresponding to combination rules to build structure. It is problematic to claim that recursion is a language-unique universal because if there are any other cognitive systems, that use recursion, than it is not a language-unique universal. What is the ‘Baldwin Effect’? It is the notion that it is still possible that humans acquire innate abilities to quickly learn the language system with its universal properties and variations. It has consequences because Humans may have evolved a genetic endowment to rapidly acquire many of the specific design properties that all languages share Universals that hold in language: All communication systems are based on signs, Recursion, Hierarchical structure (it is not unique to human language) Language Unique Universal: Design of grammar, the model of grammar (with lexicon and six checking components), the design of each component (basic units, combination restraints and repair rules) Universal Grammar is the Language Toolkit: Universal toolkit contains building blocks, constraints, and repair rules for each component More specific examples: Word categories (Noun, verb, adjective), person markers (1 st nd rd person, 2 person, 3 person), hierarchical structure of complex words and sentences, means for expressing negation, means for forming questions, organize phonemes into syllables Types of Universals: Absolute Universal (True or Untrue for ALL languages), implicational universal (If a language has property X, it will also have property Y), Disjunctive Universal (If a language has property X, it will not have property Y; it can only have one or the other), Hidden Universals (Regard the mental grammar), Overt Universals (Regard the Utterances) Why is it not a problem to have exceptions to hidden universals? All hidden universals have exceptions but it is not a problem because they may be obscured by other factors, so disjunctive universals allow something to be true for one language that might not be true for another) Lecture 12: Principles and Parameters Theory 1) Disjunctive “Half Universals” a) A second way of dealing with exceptions come from situations where languages clearly show diversity: Limited Diversity b) When hidden universals have “exceptions” it is because we have parameters (switches) 2) Marked vs. Unmarked Parameters a) For a given parameter, if one choice is more common in the languages of the world than the other, we call the common choice unmarked. The uncommon choice is marked. 3) Principles vs. Parameters a) The universal grammar contains Principles (Full universals) and Parameters (half universals) b) There are very few principles (full universals) that are language-unique c) This could mean that the universal grammar is a language-unique toolkit that limits the diversity of languages/mental grammars to a subset of what would be logically possible by offering a limited set of choices 4) Realism vs. Nominalism a) Realism i) Universals “exist” and they are reflected in the phenomena that we can observe. ii) Universals explain the observed similarities iii)Where do they exist? Realist: in the world of forms. Rationalist: In the genes/brain. b) Nominalism i) Universals do not exist as realism explains; they are simply names for observed similarities. The reason these similarities exist remains unexplained. 5) Model of Language Acquisition a) Assumption: In order to use language you must have a mental grammar b) Can mental grammar be constructed by learning? i) Rationalist: No, there has to be specific guidance in the form of an innate blue print ii) Empiricist: Yes, just rely on a minimum of general cognitive constraints c) Principles and Parameters Model i) Suggests a “nature-nurture” view on langue acquisition ii) Principles: reflecting hidden full universals, innate iii)Parameters: half universals, are innate (nature), but their ‘setting’ depends on language input (nurture) iv)Languages share core properties (principles), which are innate (nature), but they are different in terms of language-specific properties (parameters), which rely on the input (nature). Lecture 13: The Poverty of the Stimulus Argument 1) The Poverty Stimulus Argument: Input that child receives is imperfect, insufficient and it cannot explain the complex language knowledge that children have at such a young age. Hence, there must be something innate to language. 2) Stages of Language Acquisition/Development a) Cooing: mostly vowels (8-20 weeks) b) Babbling: meaningless consonant-vowel combinations (repetitive vs. varied babbling) (25-50 weeks) c) Holophrastic stage: one word utterances d) Telegraphic stage: two word utterances e) Grammar explosion: over regularization f) Adult-like production g) Metalinguistic awareness 3) Universality of Stages: All children go though the same stages at approximately the same time, regardless of the amount/quality of input (but certain minimum needs to be present) a) Stages are timed and insensitive to outside influence in the form of parental instruction, parents being talkative or not, cultural differences b) Stages are fairly independent from the timing and development of other cognitive and motor skills 4) Conclusion a) Language is not learned, it grows. b) Universal Grammar is the planted ‘seed’ and with the appropriate nurture, the seed grows into a full-blown mental grammar 5) Birds a) Some have innate songs and some need exposure to learn the songs of their species i) 15-35 days silent period, 25-40 practice period, 35-80 recognizable and other tunes, correct songs are in place as of then. b) If birds are deprived of input during critical period and only get input later, they fail to learn the song Lecture 14: The Critical Period Hypothesis 1) Eric Lenneberg’s argument a) Young people have higher chances of recovery from brain damage 2) The Forbidden Experiment a) Depriving children from language input for different periods of time in order to see whether they can still learn language 3) The Case of Genie a) Genie was deprived of human communication. She could learn words, but she couldn’t develop syntax. i) Input is important (nurture) ii) It must be received by a certain age (nature) iii) When exposure to language comes after puberty, it cannot be learned, but an experiment like this involves psychological and social deprivation that may impact the ability to acquire a cognitive and social instrument like language. iv) By a certain point in your life, innate LAD has shut down b) Second Language Acquisition i) Children learn a new language more easily than adults ii) Weak vs. Strong learning (Genie) iii) If there is time limit for language acquisitions and learning, the differences in early and late learners, in development or lack of development of syntax, follow nicely. c) Critical Period Hypothesis i) CPH accounts for the difference between early and late learners, decline starts as early at age 6-7 ii) Weak form: Late learning is perfectly possible for people who have learned a first language early in life (who has ‘exercise’ in acquisition early in life) iii) Strong form: Exercise is irrelevant, language learning declines with maturation iv) If the innate LAD is not activated within the CP, it disappears. d) Proto-language i) Derek Bickerton said that a more elementary innate grammar device called proto-language preceded universal grammar. ii) Words for concrete concepts, word combinations, simple phonology, no recursion, use of melody, use of gesture iii) Examples of Proto-language: Genie, 2 year olds, telegraphic speech/newspaper headings, parentese, pidgin, other primates Lecture 15: The Creolization Argument 1) What is the Creolization Argument? a) Development of creole languages out of pidgin languages might support Innate Hypotheses 2) Splitting Model vs. Merging Model a) Splitting Model: Tribes split up, languages change, different languages arise but stem from a common source b) Merging Model: New languages can arise if different languages produce a mix. 3) Pidgin vs. Creole Language a) Pidgin Language: A mix of different languages with simple grammar; it is no language’s mother language. b) Creole Language: A full-fledged language that children create by having pidgin as an input. i) They make it their mother language by giving pidgin grammar. 4) Proto-world a) Do all languages spoken today come from one language? b) Proto-X: A reconstructed ancestor of a group of related languages c) Proto-Language: Bickerton’s hypothesized stage or capacity that comes BEFORE human language (preceding “proto-world” in a historical sense, and preceding UG in a developmental sense) 5) The Argument for Innateness a) Children create a complex language and rule-governed system on the basis of imperfect input. b) They “know” what language looks like because the structure of language is built in. 6) New Languages a) We get new languages due to splitting (hunter-gatherer lifestyle) and merging (colonialism, migration) Lecture 16: Sign Languages 1) Analogy between Creolization and Nicaraguan Sign Language a) They taught the sign language too late to the Nicaraguans so they were not able to pick it up. It is just like if someone tried to adapt Creole without a pidgin language, and after the Critical Period. 2) Sign language a) Sign languages are full blown human languages with all relevant properties b) Innateness hypothesis with sign language i) Inquisitional stages for sign language are the same as spoken languages ii) Deaf children do not get exposed to sign language until several years after birth, providing a test for the Critical period hypothesis. iii) Fluency of sign language declines with later exposure. c) Home sign systems i) Families with deaf children growing up without a sign language model develop home sign systems (they have modest syntax). ii) Different form gestures, utterances consist of single word or simple sentences, some grammatical structure, meaning is not consistent, no transmission to later generations 3) Spontaneous Emergence a) If people who have not been exposed to any form of language can create manual sign systems that have grammatical properties we can conclude that these grammatical properties stem from an innate language acquisition device.


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