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LIN 306, Week One Notes

by: Brandon Notetaker

LIN 306, Week One Notes Linguistics 306

Brandon Notetaker
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About this Document

These notes cover Eric's first two lectures.
Introduction to the Study of Language
Eric Adell
Class Notes




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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Brandon Notetaker on Friday January 22, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Linguistics 306 at University of Texas at Austin taught by Eric Adell in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 96 views. For similar materials see Introduction to the Study of Language in Linguistics and Speech Pathology at University of Texas at Austin.

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Date Created: 01/22/16
19 January 2016 o Language is constantly changing. o Linguistics is a relative new area of study. I.      We don’t know a lot about what happens in our brains when we produce  language. o Phonology – sound systems o Syntax – sentence structure of language  Morse Code for SOS, and the acronym SOS itself, are not language. II.      They are representative forms that correspond to English. III.      They require you to already know a language (in this case, English) in order to  understand them.  Speaking – producing symbols by manipulating the air that we breathe.  Sound waves – changes in air pressure stacked against each other.  We produce pictures of our thoughts by changing the air around us.  I.      Speaking is thus a very abstract system.  Why language works = our experiences are in some way the same; there’s an assignment  of a label to an experience that everyone knows. Language is conventional; we agree about what certain symbols mean. It’s also arbitrary;  sometimes parts of a language are the way they are not because of reason but because of  personal taste (refer to Bishop Robert Lowth’s prescriptive grammar, pgs. 14­15 in the  textbook). For language to be meaningful, it has to follow underlying rules; not just any word order  will do, for example.  Language – system of human communication that relates form (speech itself) and  meaning (concept) II.      Putting words in certain order – type of form III.      Thoughts and experiences – type of concept 21 January 2016 Form – tools we have for expressing meaning (e.g. structure of a sentence). Sounds themselves are a type of form.  Meaning – underlying knowledge we have about the world.  Modality of language – mode of representation of language.  Writing – another layer of representation of language. Morse Code – presupposes knowledge of language. Same with alphabet. Symbols represent sound, which represent language. All languages have grammar, lexicon (languages have more than this, but not less) Grammar – system for relating form and meaning. Phonology – has to do with organization of sound systems; logic of sounds Phono – sound Morphology – how forms combine; logic of forms Morph – shape, form Morphemes – smallest individual units of meaning in a language. Syntax – to order together; has to do with the way that words can be put together; how  particular elements combine, and in what order. Tax – has to do with order Syn – together Semantics – interpretation of meaning Lexicon – vocabulary; also contains information that’s relevant to the grammar; mental  dictionary. Paint ­ ed  = morphological way of showing past tense. It’s possible to show past tense phonologically (e.g. stress on a particular syllable) Lexical tone – change in pitch that tells you it’s a different word. Grammatical tone – change in pitch that tells you something about grammar (e.g. past  tense) Upspeak – raising pitch at end of sentence even when not asking a question. Descriptive grammar – seeks to describe mental grammar. Prescriptive grammar – making value judgments on what’s the right way to speak.  Teaching grammar – meant to help people learn a language. With bees, for example, there is a necessary connection between form and meaning (not  so with humans). Bees show displacement. Displacement – for example, using the conditional, past conditional  (talking about something outside of the present, of reality). Language allows expression of new ideas.


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