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ANTH 100 03/02/2016 Lecture

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by: Viktoryia Zhuleva

ANTH 100 03/02/2016 Lecture ANTH 10000

Marketplace > Purdue University > Liberal Arts > ANTH 10000 > ANTH 100 03 02 2016 Lecture
Viktoryia Zhuleva
GPA 3.0

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About this Document

Language evolution
Dr. Richard Blanton
Class Notes
Anthropology, Purdue
25 ?




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Shannon Sink

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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Viktoryia Zhuleva on Sunday March 6, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ANTH 10000 at Purdue University taught by Dr. Richard Blanton in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 25 views. For similar materials see Anthropology in Liberal Arts at Purdue University.


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Date Created: 03/06/16
Section III 03/02/2016 Lecture Only Human Language combines expression structure (syntax or “grammar”) with lexical structure (the words used) - A primate call system has meaningful signs (a lexical structure), but no expression structure to combine signs into sentences - The songs of song birds have a pattern of sequential sounds (expression structure) but the individual notes have no meaning Open and closed communicative systems are useful: e.g. pictograms and information graphics - Pidgins are special purpose closed codes (not languages) that are useful in specific contexts for inter-cultural communication (E.g. in factory situations in which owners and workers speak different languages) A pidgin can develop into creole (combining more than one language) How did language Evolve?  Recent research suggests that chipped-stone tool-making was a precursor to language communication  Brain-scanning (identifying areas of brain neural activity) shows that tool-making and language excite the same brain regions Languages - Roughly 7, 000 languages have been identified (a language is unintelligible to a person who is not part of that language community) - A dialect is a variant of a language - Only 10% of exciting languages will survive to the end of 21 century - Approximately 1, 000 spoken languages have been studied in detail by linguists - 200 to 300 signed languages are known, but American and French languages are replacing them How similar are human languages? - No human languages are “primitive” (all are capable of infinite production) - Languages differ in the number of words (the size of the lexicon) although the size of the “core vocabularies” (non-specialist words) are not that different from language to language - Many of the phonemes (basic sound elements) are found in all speech forms of language - Sounds such as clicking phonemes are limited to only some languages - Tonality is used as phonemic element in a minority of languages Is there a Universal Grammar? - All languages have noun, verb, subject, and adjective word categories; typically question are phrased by placing a word such as English “where” at the beginning of a sentence - Communication location in space and time is similar in nearly all languages (front/back, forward/backward, future/past – in relation to how the person is acing) Is this a human universal? - Bu there is a variation” Tzetzai and Hopi base directions in a grid structured by the cardinal directions - The Aymara see the future as “behind” - Language variation has developed because languages change over time Culture Contact and Language Change I: Creolization - English is a triple creole of Gaelic, a Celtic language, Latin (which formed French), and Anglo-Saxon o Thing/object o Build/construct o Want/desire o Big/immense o Pretty/beautiful o Beer (more Germanic) o Wine (more French) Language Change II: Gradual Change in the Use, Sound, and Meaning of Words The approximate half-life of a word is, 2, 000 years After 10, 000 years two languages that derived from a shared originating languages would share only a few percent of words Some words – cognates – are roughly similar e.g. pater (Latin); vader (Dutch); padre (Spanish); father (English); pitar (Farsi)


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