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Chapter 1 Notes

by: Katie Benson

Chapter 1 Notes

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Katie Benson
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This 10 page Class Notes was uploaded by Katie Benson on Tuesday February 3, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to a course at University of Iowa taught by a professor in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 38 views.


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Date Created: 02/03/15
Chapter 1 Notes 02022015 What is language 0 Whatever else people do when they come together whether they play ght make love or make automobiles they talk 0 The ability to use language perhaps more than any attribute distinguishes humans from animals Linguistic knowledge 0 When you know a language you can speak or sign and be understood by others who know that language 0 Language is more than speech sign language 0 Most everyone knows at least one language Five year olds already know their rst languages The ability to use a language requires profound knowledge that most speakers don t know that they know 0 Eg my goddaughter who was born in Sweden and who lives in Iowa is named Disa after a Viking queen o A speaker of English can produce a sentence having two relative clauses without knowing what a relative clause is Knowledge of the sound system 0 phonetics When we know a language we know what sounds or signs are used in the language and which sounds or signs are not sound inventory 0 Eg Nkrumah English sound Not English because we don t know how to produce the sound 0 This also includes knowing how the sounds of the language can be combined 0 We know which sounds are combined and which cannot be 0 Which sounds may start with a word 0 Which sounds may end a word 0 Which sounds may follow each other with a word o phonetics Knowledge of words Morphology Knowing a language also means identifying certain strings of sounds as meaningful words Eg toy boy moy o Moy has no meaning in English so this is not an example of knowledge in words Most words in all languages are arbitrary connections of sound to meaning The conventional arbitrary relationship between form and meaning is also true in sign languages 0 Various types of sign language 0 ASL CSL The arbitrary relationship between words and meanings are also found in other communication systems 0 Eg traffic green light go vs red light quotstopquot Sound symbolism there are some words whose pronunciation seems to re ect the meaning 0 Onomatopoeia English cockadoodledoo and Finnish kukkokiekuu English gobble gobble and Turkish gluglu Dingdong ticktock bang English gl and the concept of sight 0 Glare glint gleam glitter glossy glance and glimpse but there is also gladiator glucose glory glutton globe etc that have nothing to do with sight Creativity of linguistic knowledge Every language has an in nite number of possible sentences Knowing a language enables you to o Create a sentence that has never been uttered before 0 Understand a sentence that has never been uttered before Eg this is the house a This is the house that Jack built a This is the malt that lay in the house thatJack built 0 Can say very long sentences by keep adding an adverb or adjective phrase to a sentence Most sentences we use are new very few sentences are stored in our brains Knowledge of sentences and nonsentences Language is more than a set of words because words must be ordered in certain ways to create sentences Our knowledge of language allows us to separate possible sentences from nonsentences Examples 0 Drink your beer and go home sentence 0 What are drinking and go home nonsentence First part of this sentence is a question and the second half of it is a statement and don t go together Lost linus security blanket his 0 The subject needs to be at the beginning of the sentence We have unconscious rules in our language Linguistic knowledge and performance Theoretically no limit to the length of a sentence But in practice very long sentences are highly probable 0 Difference between having the knowledge and applying this knowledge 0 Knowledge what we know about a language linguistic competence 0 Mostly unconscious knowledge about sounds structures meanings words and rules for combining linguistic elements 0 Permits us to form longer and longer sentences 0 But physiological and psychological reasons that limit number of sentences Eg run out of breath lose track of what they have said tired bored disgusted or confused Performance how we use this knowledge in actual speech production and comprehension 0 We can theoretically create an in nitely long sentence but physical constraints make this impossible o In speech we stammer pause and produce slips of the tongue Eg like saying preach seductions when speech production is meant You say one thing but you mean something else Also possible in sign language to correct you sign it again What is grammar Grammar the knowledge speakers have about the units and rules of their language 0 What speakers should or shouldn t say perscriptive 0 Rules for combining sounds into words word formation making sentences assigning meaning phonology phonetics semantics etc 0 When a sentence is ungrammatical in a linguistic sense It breaks the rules of the shared mental grammar of the language 0 two types of grammar o descriptive grammar o prescriptive grammar 0 Descriptive Grammar o A true model of the mental grammar of language speakers Describes the linguistic rules that people use when they speaktheulanguage Grammars from every language and dialect are equal a All respected none is better than the other a Acknowledge that all grammar is good equal 0 Prescriptive grammar o Attempts to prescribe what rules of language people should use to speak properly Some grammars are better than others 0 During the Renaissance a middle class of English speakers wished to talk like the upper class so they started buying handbooks that told them how to speak properly Bishop Robert Lowth s quota short introduction to English grammar with critical notesquot 1762 Eg I don t have none improper don t have anyproper a two negatives make a positive 0 but everybody was already using double negatives in English and communication was just ne 0 also many languages of the world require the use of double negatives O descriptive grammar what speakers say and when why and how they say it and not whether they should or shouldn t say it prescriptive grammar grammar is what speakers should or shouldn t say 0 most of the rules of this mental grammar are never dealt with by prescriptive or teaching grammars So no grammar of English would ever explain this examples they re eating eggs and chips 0 what are they eating putting it into a question 0 Which grammar is right 0 All human languages and dialects are fully expressive complete and logical Spoken language vs writing 0 Writing follows certain prescriptive rules of grammar usage and style that the spoken language does not and is subject to little if any dialect variation 0 Writing must be taught Teaching grammar o A teaching grammar is also different use perspective grammar A teaching grammar explicitly states the rules of a language and is sued to learn another language or dialect Assumptions The student already knows one language 0 Teaching grammar uses the learners knowledge of their naUvelanguage o Eg teaching constructions with double objects in Indonesian to English native speakers Ali mengkirim surat itu kepada Hasan Ali send letter the to Hasan n 39Ali sent the letter to Hasan Ali mengkirimkan Hasan surat itu Ali send Hasan letter the n 39Ali sent Hasan the letter Hansan and letter are objects 0 Indirect Object Hasan 0 Direct Object letter 0 Language 0 Use rules of one grammar to teach another 0 Teaching a sound 0 Assimilating preexisting sound in learners 0 speci c instruction 0 eg producing the French sound u in the word tu quotround your lips while producing the vowel sound in teaquot language universals why do we look at different types of languages to study syntax o Linguistics are interested in discovering what types of construction are possible and impossible in the world s languages 0 Many of the unconsciously known rules of individual languages are actually universal common to all languages 0 UNIVERSAL GRAMMAR UG Applies to all languages UG the universal properties that all languages share 0 Part of a biologically endowed human language faculty 0 The basic blueprint that all languages follow 0 a major goal of linguistic theory 0 to discover the nature of U6 0 even ultimately to discover something about the workings of the human brain the development of grammar 0 all normal children acquire language relatively quickly and easily and without instruction 0 children learn the world s languages in the same way and pass through the same stages of acquisition 0 if children are born with U6 then they can acquire language so quickly and easily because they already know the universal properties of language and only need to learn the speci c rules of the languages they are acquiring o the other part that you don t use you don t remember you forget from languages you learn 0 the older you are the harder it is to retain a new language sign languages evidence for language universals gestures vs sign languages 0 sign language is a language 0 visualgestural systems that use hand body and facial gestures as the forms used to represent words and grammatical rules 0 use facial expressions to say something native signers 0 don t really use expressions when signing not native signers fully developed languages just different modality 0 have their own grammatical rules and a mental lexicon of signs signers are affected by performance factors just as speakers are slip of the hand occurs similar to slips of the tongue deaf children exposed to sign languages go through the same stages of language acquisition as hearing babies 0 deaf children babble with their hand they don t know how to produce a sign like adults do signed languages are organized in the brain just like spoken languages are what is not human language 0 all languages share certain fundamental properties and all children naturally acquire these languages whether they are spoken or ggned How about languages of other species 0 they can learn words but they don t know the meaning behind it or fully understand the language some features of human language 0 discreteness o displacement o creativity 0 human languages not simply a xed set of invariant signs but of discrete units sounds words phases Discreteness the ability to combine discrete units sounds words phrases to make larger units of meaning 0 eg cat is perceived as the phonemes kaet o the cat is perceived as the and cat creativity the ability to create and understand neverbefore uttered sentences displacement the ability to talk about things that are not physically present 0 allows for discussion of past events abstract ideas lying etc birdcalls one or more short notes that convey messages associated with the immediate environment such as danger feeding nesting and ocking bird songs a complex pattern of notes used to mark territory and to attract mates birdcalls and songs are similar to human language 0 they contain regional dialects o are passed down from parents to offspring 0 can only be acquired before a certain age eg the nch is unable to learn the more detailed song elements after ten months of age critical period 0 learn a language within a certain period to do well birdcalls and songs are NOT similar to human languages 0 no evidence of internal structure although they may vary to express varying degrees of intensity 0 no discreteness cannot be segmented into discrete meaningful parts and rearranged honeybees have a communication system that relies on dance to convey information about the location and quality of food sources to the rest of the hive 0 round dance food source is within 20 feet from the hive o sicke dance food source is 2060 feet from the hive o tailwagging dance food source is more than 60 feet from the hive the number of repetitions of the basic pattern in the tail wagging dance indicates the precise distance within a slower repetition rate indicating a longer distance 0 the bee dances are theoretically able to create an in nite number of messages but the messages are con ned to the subject of food sources 0 if there are any special circumstances regarding the food source the bee cannot convey that information nonhuman primates have communication systems in the wild to convey information about the immediate environment and emotional state stimulusresponse talking birds 0 parrots can mimic words but their utterances carry no meaning 0 they cannot dissect words into discrete units polly and molly don t rhyme for a parrot 0 they cannot deduce rules and patterns to create new utterances if the parrot learns polly wants a cracker and polly wants a doughnut and learns the word bagel the parrot will not say polly wants a bagel


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