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LING 301-Introduction to Linguistics-Week 1 Notes

by: DanielleCuller21

LING 301-Introduction to Linguistics-Week 1 Notes LING 301

Marketplace > Liberty University > Modern Languages and Linguistics > LING 301 > LING 301 Introduction to Linguistics Week 1 Notes
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Notes for Week 1 of LING 301 (Introduction to Linguistics)
Introduction to Lingusitics
Jared Barber
Class Notes
Linguistics, LING301, ling, 301, intro, to




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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by DanielleCuller21 on Saturday September 3, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to LING 301 at Liberty University taught by Jared Barber in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 4 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Lingusitics in Modern Languages and Linguistics at Liberty University.


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Date Created: 09/03/16
LING 301­Introduction to Linguistics­Week 1 WHAT IS LANGUAGE?  Language is more than “words” o By language we do not solely mean words, but the grammar or mechanics that we use to put them together to produce utterances that reflect our impressions of our  lives, experiences and environments, as well as enable us to affect people and  events around us.  o One can learn hundreds of words in a foreign language and still be unable to  manage even a simple conversation   Writing Systems o Writing is NOT language, but merely a way of recording language by visible  marks o Writing is an optional feature of human culture, consciously invented and  developed in a few relatively recent societies, whereas every historically  documented human group has always had a spoken language o Spoken or signed language is learned in the cradle by all normal human children  without any apparent organized instruction. Whereas writing is learned later in  life, only by some and through explicit instruction o “If language had only existed for 24 hours, then writing would have been invented around 11:10p.m.   Language: a symbolic means of communication that is shared by several individuals o Symbolic: words symbolize or represent concepts  o Communication: Thoughts made into a public message o Shared: Known by more than one user; a community  The primary function of a language is not to communicate, but is rather to think  creatively or analogically. Language allows humans to map an infinite number of real  world details onto a small finite number of sounds, letters, and words  Language is symbolic: o Linguistic symbols are organized and used systematically  o Linguistic Universal: All languages have grammar  All languages have symbols (sounds or signs); words, sentences, and  meaning. Therefore, all languages have grammar. Different languages and  different varieties of the same languages simply have different grammars  Descriptive vs. Prescriptive Grammar o Prescriptive Grammar: what people should say and do according to some  authority o Descriptive Grammar: what people do say; describes what people actually do with language  Symbols:  o All languages have both arbitrary and iconic symbols  Arbitrary: Actual form of symbol does not reflect the form of the thing or  activity it symbolizes   Arbitrariness: o To signify this concept:  In Spanish: Casa  In English: house  In Russian: dom o The relationship between sound and form is completely  arbitrary  o Casa, house and dom sound nothing like an actual house  sounds like o What matters is that it is consistent  Iconity: an actual symbol represents some aspect of the thing or activity  being explained  Iconity in spoken language: o Onomatopoeia o Phonesthesia  Iconity in ASL: o Signs that look like the word they are describing  What makes Language a language? Why is language different from other  communication? o 3 Major Factors:  discreetness  creativity  displacement o Discreetness:  When you know a language you have the intuitive knowledge about what  is or is not an allowable sentence  Example: Colorless green ideas sleep furiously compared to  furiously sleep ideas green colorless o Creativity:  Small units can be combined in creative ways  Knowledge of a language enables you to combine words to form phrases  and phrases to form sentences  This leads to the creative aspect  Knowing a language means being able to produce new sentences  never spoken before and to understand sentences never heard  before  Human languages permit their speakers to form infinitely long  sentences, “creativity” is a universal part of human language  Russian Doll Effect:   Recursion: or the Russian Doll Effect allows us to create infinitely  long sentence  Impossible to memorize all the sentences in a language, instead we learn words that create our Lexicon (mental dictionary for the  words in a language o Displacement:   The ability to talk about things that are not here  Example: Future, hypotheticals, counter factuals  Language can be used for any domain  Language Universals: o All languages are alike o All languages are equal o All languages change over time o All languages are inaccessible (grammar is unconscious) o All languages have mechanisms for introducing new symbols o All languages allow for more than one meaning to be conveyed by a symbol or  group of symbols  Knowledge of sound system o Knowing a language means knowing what sounds (or signs) are in that language  and what aren’t o Sound combinations  Knowledge of meaning of words o Mental dictionary called lexicon  We know grammar of our language (meaning we are experts!) o This mental knowledge is not always equal to performance of language (our  knowledge of a language is not equal to how we speak it; slips of the tongue)  LINGUISTIC KNOWLEDGE: o Phonetics: Knowledge of speech sounds o Phonology: Knowledge of sound system o Morphology: Knowledge of the structure of words o Syntax: Knowledge of how words form phrases and sentences o Semantics: Knowledge of meaning o Pragmatics: Knowledge of Indirect Speech


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